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A “Natural Choice” To Celebrate the 4th: Chilean Wine

In USA on July 3, 2011 by J. Murphy Tagged: ,

As we take time this long weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence, it is appropriate to highlight a great complement to every fireworks celebration: Chilean wine. I realize it doesn’t sound very American, but given “The Next Napa” moniker assigned to the Colchagua Valley, I would say it is worth the fuss.

While you wouldn’t know it based on a last name like Murphy, I was brought up in a VERY Italian family. My grandparents taught me at a very young age the value of good food and good wine and would often invoke the Italian proverb: “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” For Chileans, who at times are known more for their love of sports than anything else, would say the same about their pairing of fine cuisine and fine wines.

Background

The wine heritage in Chile spans over 460 years. A diverse climate coupled with French influence during the 1800s allowed Chile to develop into a major player in the wine industry.  However, according to the Vinos De Chile website, “two world wars and decades of state protectionism forced the country down a solitary path that isolated it technologically for nearly 50 years.” Therefore, only in the 1980s after some restrictive domestic regulations were relaxed, did Chile get to revive their long history of producing fine wines.

Today, over 20 grape varieties are grown in Chile and it is the fourth largest exporter of wine into the United States behind France, Italy and Australia.

And their social media presence and advertising speak to this high ranking.

Drivers of the “Natural Choice” Brand

While many outside Chile would argue that fútbol, rodeo, trekking and Chile dominate the tourist audience, there has been a strong social media effort to remind people that one of Chile’s strongest assets lies along a small 800 mile stretch of picturesque coast line. And with over 54% of the population on the internet, the niche social media space the wine enthusiasts occupy is valuable. Numerous sites boast several wine tours by car and even bicycle throughout the region and stress that the wineries have rebounded strongly after the earthquake in 2010 that rattled the industry.

One strong social media asset is Vinos De Chile (Wines of Chile), the national association for the wine industry. They are a one stop shop – they blog; they tweet; Facebook; they YouTube; they provide up to the minute news about tours, upcoming events, and the industry as a whole – they do it all, all the while stressing the need to “Discover Chile.”

Another major asset for Chilean wine was the acquisition of Chilean deal site ClanDescuento by Groupon, an expansion into Latin America that is likely to pay strong dividends as the number of internet users continues to grow and Chile continues to impress at the international competitions.

Yet another strong social media platform for Chilean wines is the wine blogosphere. From DrVino.com to Steve Heimoff, Chilean wines get the praise of the bargain wine without the bargain taste. And many are quick to note the serene landscapes that accompany the wines to emphasize the “Natural Choice” for your palette.

Chile, for a country of just over nine million people has done its homework. In a global wine industry dominated by Europe, Australia and the United States, they have taken one of their prized assets, branded humanized it as a quality wine at a bargain price for all palettes, and then advertised it online. In an age of increasingly “aggressive” advertising and marketing practices, especially when there is competition to find the best wine for a celebration, it is refreshing to see that some countries still let their heritage do the talking for them.

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One Response to “A “Natural Choice” To Celebrate the 4th: Chilean Wine”

  1. Good post and examples of all the ways that Chilean Wine (and the government group behind promoting it) are using social media to help spread the word. From the official sites, to bloggers who talk about the wine, it was a well researched overview of all the ways that Chilean wine is being talked about online.

    The one slightly confusing point was related to the title and the idea that you shared of the “Natural Choice” brand. It seems like that might be the campaign for the Wines of Chile group, but it is relatively hard to see where the campaign is being brought to life or where that positioning is coming from. In addition, the “Natural Choice” brand doesn’t seem to have a logical connection to the bloggers that you mentioned.

    If that is the best positioning for them, it seems like there is an opportunity to do more to publicly share it (ie – it is not even mentioned on their Twitter account). Did you find this odd and how might you suggest that this change this? Aside from that one point, some images in your post would have helped to share what the campaign looked like, the site behind it, or some of the conversations. Without those images, the post was not as readable and could end up losing some readers before they make it through some of your points and writing. (4)

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