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Grape expectations from Argentina (3)

By Zhou Siyu  (China Daily)

14:22, September 03, 2012

Sheltered by the Andes Mountains and fed by its melt water, wineries in the Mendoza area - the winemaking area in the center of West Argentina that produces 70 percent of the beverage in the South American country - command a breathtaking view of leafy green vineyards growing against a background of snow-capped mountains. (Photo/China Daily)

To the East

At the same time, brought over by immigrants from the Old World continent, the Malbec grape adapted successfully to Argentina's soil and sunny climate and was widely planted. Combining dark, ripe concentrated flavors with a rich and smooth texture, the Malbec grape soon became one of the fastest growing wine exports, winning world recognition for its second home.

Naturally, winemakers in Argentina expect Malbec to charm the Chinese just as it did in other markets. "Compared with European wines, Argentine wines have softer tannins and cleaner aromas, making it taste less aggressive," said the renowned Mariano Di Paola, head winemaker at Rutini Wines in Mendoza.

Despite not being one of the largest producers in volume among Argentine wineries, Rutini (owned by La Rural Vinedos y Bodegas SA) is currently the largest seller to China, with its sales far ahead of its nearest follower in recent years.

But the company's success in China not only relies on its wine's simple, inviting tastes but also on a number of marketing factors. "Rutini Wines is a well recognized brand among the Chinese circle in Argentina and was mainly sold to East China's Fujian province - where its members came from. The wine thrived based on that connection," said Antonio Mompo from Wines of Argentina.

In addition, the fact that the name "Rutini" is easy to pronounce and remember in the Chinese language helped the winery to establish its presence, enabling it to sell a lot of premium wines to the Chinese market, said Sol Asensio, Rutini Wines export manager for Asia and Latin America.

To consolidate its position in China, Rutini Wines intends to continue promoting its image as a high-end wine producer in Argentina. "We are trying to become the Chateau Lafite for Argentine wines," Asensio said.

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