It’s been three and a half weeks since the earthquake in Chile, and I received an update on the situation yesterday from Wines of Chile USA, the trade group representing Chilean wineries here in this country. An assessment by the group found that damage to wineries affected 13 percent of the 2009 harvest, resulting in a loss of about $250 million. It noted, however, that the ‘09 harvest in Chile was unusually large. “We are confident to report,” said Lori Tieszen, the group’s executive director, “that supply to countries around the world will not be affected and that the 2010 harvest, which has begun in the northern wine regions, is proceeding as planned.” The organization is asking for donations to a fund set up specifically to support vineyard and winery workers affected by the quake.
Separately, American importers of Chilean wine have also made substantial contributions, including $150,000 from Banfi Vintners and $50,000 from TGIC Importers, which also released a video appeal for further support from its president, Alex Guarachi.