Canada and US Wine industry representatives rally to send support to Chile

Chile wine region map

A subject a little off course for BC wine readers, but we thought we'd post in support of those struggling in Chile at this moment…

Although Wines of Chile reported late on Wednesday that the impact to the wine industry from the February 27th 8.8 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami was minimal, parts of Chile are greatly impacted and the need for aid is real and immediate. Wine industry representatives in Canada and the US have rallied to encourage donations to the Red Cross and to the Levantando Chile Fund.

The majority of the damage occurred to the Maule, Cachapoal and Colchagua areas. An assessment by Wines of Chile indicates that the damage sustained by wineries affected less than 13% of the country’s cellared wine. This equals approximately US $250M. Supply to countries around the world will not be affected and the 2010 harvest, which has begun in the northern wine regions, is proceeding as planned.

Winery owners instantly concerned themselves with the needs of their workers, many of whom have lost houses. After ensuring their safety and immediate needs were met, they turned their attention to getting back to business, assessing damage, restoring winery operations and preparing for harvest.

“We were initially relieved that our co-workers and friends in Chile were not harmed, but there is a huge need for relief aid with many towns and villages completely wiped out,” notes Julian Scholefield, account manager for Wines of Chile in Western Canada.

“Working with our friends in Canada, we have selected two simple methods to donate and encourage people to do so,” explains Wines of Chile USA Executive Director Lori Tieszen. “Having spent time working in various regions in Chile, we have all established great friendships and have come to know the Chileans as warm, caring people.”

People wishing to help are encouraged to donate to one of the various charities providing aid, and by continuing to buy and enjoy Chilean wines. “Wine quality will not be compromised on any level,” says Scholefield. “People can continue to buy Chilean wine with confidence.”