Mon, March 23, 2009
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New World wines

2009-03-23 02:53:17 GMT2009-03-23 10:53:17 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

With wine lovers' pockets hit by the global economic crisis, Argentina's vineyards are booming as trade becomes more competitive.

Beyond the lush valleys of the Argentine province of Neuquen lays the Bodega Del Fin Del Mundo Winery.

The soil is stony and sandy, ideal conditions for vines which span across acres of land, producing red and white wine.

Despite tumbling global wine prices, Argentine wines are enjoying something of a boom. In 2008, exports rose by thirty-four per cent, so this year the owners of this vineyard are planning to increase production to 6.5 million bottles.

SOUNDBITE: Julio Viola, Winery Director saying (Spanish):

"Argentine wines have an excellent price to quality ratio and with the current global economic situation consumers are very picky about their purchases and they want to make their money go further.

Just a decade ago there were no wine plantations here at all, but in 1999 the first vines were planted and three years later the first experimental crop was a great success both at home and abroad.

It's little wonder this semi-desert region has been transformed into an oasis for good quality wine.

SOUNDBITE: Marcelo Miras, Winemaker saying (Spanish):

"We have a very good intensity in our red shades. This is produced naturally from the effect of the wind, in which the skin of the grapes becomes thicker and rougher."

Only 40 per cent of this vineyard's wine is currently exported - mostly to the U.S., Canada and northern Europe.

But New World wines, which also include wine from Chile, Australia and South Africa are doing well compared to their wine-producing counterparts in France, Italy and Spain.

So winemakers here are confident exports will continue to rise despite the economic downturn.

Liz Kennedy, Reuters

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