While some export managers maintain that Malbec is the only wine that gives us identity and makes us different from our competitors of the new world, and that we should thus promote it as the national emblematic variety, others claim to be absolutely against concentrating exclusively on Malbec, and consider that Argentina should not be individualized as a producer of Malbec alone, as this would constitute a serious strategic mistake.
Juan José Canay, Export Manager of Bodega Trapiche, suggests keeping our focus on Malbec since it is the only wine that gives us identity and makes us different. Besides, he added that the sale of other varieties will come as a consequence of Malbec sales, not the other way about. Moreover, Malbec does not even have a 1% share of the market yet, so it still has great possibilities to continue growing. This way, Canay summarized: “the time will come for other varieties, but I think the world is beginning to recognize Malbec and it is crucial to put our efforts into that now.”
Furthermore, Juan Rodríguez, President of the Argentinian Chamber of Must Manufacturers and Exporters and General Manager of Fecovita, sustains that Malbec identifies Argentina, “so we should boost its development because it is our emblematic variety. Besides, it offers excellent quality and has gained us international recognition.” However, Rodríguez believes that Argentina also has sufficient potential and quality to compete by offering other varieties and start gaining new markets and filling fresh niches, without neglecting what has been achieved with Malbec so far.
Alejandro Camus, Export Area Manager of Rutini Wines, highlighted the importance of the diversification of Argentina’s exports to other varieties. “Personally, I’m absolutely against focusing exclusively on Malbec, and I hope I’m not preaching in the wilderness,” remarked Camus. “I think it is a serious strategic mistake to let Argentina be individualized as a producer of Malbec alone. We could have the same problem Australia had with Shiraz some years ago,” he added.
According to Camus, Argentina has great potential, unlike Australia or Chile, to offer other varietals, including whites, in addition to Malbec. “However, it’s very difficult to get importers to buy something other than Malbec. The market itself is absorbing us and forcing us to focus on Malbec, but I think that wineries should make an important effort to defend blends, which represent a competitive advantage, or other varietals which could also sell very well,” underlined Export Area Manager of Rutini Wines.
Finally, Leandro Bastías, Export Manager of Trivento, pointed out that “Malbec is our trump card; we should never neglect it since it is helping us position ourselves in the world market.” Malbec represents almost 40% of Argentinian exports, and, according to Bastías, “Malbec is what gives us identity and makes us different from our new world competitors.” In this sense, Trivento’s Export Manager explained that although it is positive to add diversity, “we shouldn’t leave Malbec aside. It should continue to be Argentina’s flagship wine because it makes us unique.” Moreover, Bastías added that Malbec is a variety that consumers are attracted to and with which Argentina still has great potential for growth.
Translation: Inglés del Vino.