Chilean wine industry lost $250 mn in quake

March 4th, 2010 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS  

Santiago, March 4 (IANS/EFE) Chile’s important wine industry has calculated the sector’s losses at $250 million as a result of the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that last weekend devastated several regions in the central and southern part of the country and left nearly 800 people dead.
The figure is equivalent to 125 million litres of wine lost by vineyards affiliated with the Vinas de Chile association, which represents more than 90 percent of the country’s wine industry.

The calculated loss is equivalent to 12.5 percent of 2009’s total production, according to the association’s president Rene Merino.

“The great majority of the vineyards have insurance, and therefore this is not a catastrophe,” said Merino, who added that the full scope of the damage had not yet been quantified, including damage to infrastructure, an area in which it will require more time to obtain complete data.

He said the vineyards are able to continue shipping their products, although there are certain logistical problems given that the electricity supply and highway connections are still not normalised in the wake of the temblor.

He also said that wine producers do not foresee problems for the 2010 harvest, which is soon to begin, “because the damage was caused in the casks that were full, but the wineries don’t have any problems”.

In that context, Merino said that there is no reason for an increase in grape prices for this year’s harvest, since the crop is in good shape, and the damage from the quake occurred predominantly to the wine that had already been bottled.

–IANS/EFE

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