Argentina’s wine exports to the United States increased 12 percent in the 2009-2010 period, overtaking Chile as the fourth-largest wine supplier to the U.S. market. Italy, France and Australia hold the top three spots. Total exports exceeded $222 million in 2010 compared to $210 million for U.S.-directed Chilean exports. Total foreign sales of Argentine wine topped $860 million in 2010 overcoming poor numbers in 2009 when a low harvest blamed on bad weather forced Argentina to import Chilean wine to meet domestic demand.
The increase in sales has been largely attributed to the economic conditions in the U.S., which have forced consumers to look for alternatives to more expensive European wines. Top among them is Argentina’s Malbec variety according to vintner Jose Zuccardi. Further hurting Chilean wine exporters is the appreciation of the Chilean peso.
Argentina is now the world’s fifth-largest wine producer, ninth-largest exporter and the seventh-largest consumer. In fact, Argentines consume more than three-quarters of their total domestic wine production which contributes US$2.63 billion—an industry that yields $2.63 billion in sales and employs nearly 400,000 people.