Data coming from the National Institute of Viticulture (INV) regarding the wine exports of the first six months of 2013 reveal a year-to-year decline of 22.3% in terms of volume. Although in June, wine exports with no varietal specification grew by 45% compared with May, this category reported greater reductions in the first half of the year. Besides, varietal wines experienced a significant downturn the last month, but in the total amount of the year, they show a better performance than the wines with no varietal specification, and with considerably slighter reductions.
On the other hand, among the downward trends, varietal wine exports show an interesting behavior, if the main exported varieties are analyzed. As it is known, in the past few years, Malbec for Argentine exports has increased in importance, going from a share of 26% in 2007 to almost 47% in 2013 (during the past 12 months). In addition, other varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah, which were very important some years ago, have been losing space. As regards Merlot, exports in volume have dropped by 65%, compared with 2009. The international preferences for this varietal wine is highly associated with this fall, since it has been losing popularity, especially in United States, as consumers decide to try other varietals out of traditional ones.
Nonetheless, Argentine exports show a clear trend towards a concentration in those varietals that have had success in the main markets of destination. If we consider the growth in the volume exported between 2009 and 2013, of the main varieties, Malbec and Torrontés Riojano are the only ones that grow. In the case of the former, it has already established as the Argentina’s signature variety, whereas the latter is on the same way among the white wines, attaining a 3.5% of the exported volume of varietal wines. The group of blends and other varietals has also experienced a boost in this period, with high preferences for blends, most of which also include these varietals.
In the face of the complex situation of Argentine exporters, varietal wines are another aspect in which an upward trend is observed. By means of a focus on the most successful varieties in the international markets, it is possible to safeguard margins in front of the increasing difficulties the sector is facing.