The story of Argentine Malbec´s worldwide success
Argentine Malbec wine investors are benefiting from a new set of new consumers from Shanghai to New York that had quickly adopted Malbec as a favorite new wine. Disenchanted merlot drinkers found malbec to be a great substitute, and steak eaters searching for something to drink besides Cabernet Sauvignon, were pleased with how it paired with their favorite food. Thus Malbec gained traction and by early 2007 was growing rapidly from a small base. By 2009 it achieved a 50% growth rate in one year.
Argentine Malbec´s account for the majority of Malbec drunk throughout the world. The number of cases imported to the U.S. alone grew from approximately 650,000 to more than 3 million over the past five years. This shift took place in the depths of the global financial crisis, and is likely due to the excellent value that these wines offer for the money. Since May of 2007 through August 2010, Argentinean wine sales have increased about 88% making Argentina the 5th largest importer of wine into the US in 2009. Even more impressive, according to Nielsen scan data, Argentina wine saw a 38% dollar rise in sales for 52 weeks ending April 2010.
Argentine malbec is particularly popular in the United States. Eric Asimov of The New York Times notes that the trade group Wines of Argentina estimates that shipments of Argentine malbec to the United States have quintupled to nearly 3.15 million cases in 2009 from about 628,000 cases in 2005! (Eric Asimov, Argentina Opens the Tap for Malbec, The New York Times, 27 April 2010)
The story of Malbec begins in Europe, as many Argentinean stories do. Malbec originated in Bordeaux in the southwest of France where this variety was cultivated and whose resulting wines bore the name of the place: Cahors wines. These wines gained recognition during the times of the Roman Empire and their prestige was consolidated in the Middle Ages to gain full recognition in modern times. The conquest of the English market was a crucial step for the success of Cahors wines.
It was on this basis that Argentine Malbec developed some time later. It was brought to Argentina by Michel Aimé Pouget (1821-1875) from France, an agronomist who was hired by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento to run the Quinta Agronómica de Mendoza. This variety found in Argentina the ideal environment to reach unprecedented levels of quality and produce unique wines of international renown. Today Argentina is the largest producer of Malbec in the world. Malbec has become the national star and is grown all over the country’s wine regions.
The unique growing conditions that exist in Argentina produce Malbecs that are softer and less tannic than wines from traditional Malbec regions. The combination of high altitude, long days of bright sunshine and the warm, dry La Zonda winds, which bring warmth to the high altitude vines, produce vivid fruit of intense flavours, good acidity and fine tannins. Another benefit of Argentina’s remote, high-altitude vineyards and low humidity is a reduced need for pesticides, making organic farming relatively easy to practice in this region.
In contrast, French malbec is subject to a shorter growing season, which produces less ripe grapes and more austere (leaner and greener) and structured wines with more minerality. In fact, the Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth argues “there are few cases where so stark a distinction can be drawn between New World and Old World wines made from the same grape.” (James Molesworth, Malbec’s Ancestral Home, The Wine Spectator, 13 January 2004)
Another reason for the recent success of Argentine Malbecs is a push for quality, as winemakers and visiting consultants have upgraded vineyards and winemaking facilities, taking the wines to new heights and away from the quantity-over-quality mindset that existed in the early days of Argentinean winemaking.
Mendoza has been the heart of the Argentine wine industry, producing 60 percent of the country’s wine. But it is a large region, so the next development in this wine story will be the differentiation and marketing of Mendoza’s subregions, such as the Uco Valley, as different expressions of Malbec become clear from particular areas.
Valle de Uco is a unique place in the world, recognized as one of the 8 Great Wine Capitals, with a pristine environment and ideal year-round weather. Here you can enjoy a magnificent carefree lifestyle at an affordable price while your estate appreciates in value. Neighbors include Valle de Uco´s top Winemakers: Michelle Roland/Clos de Siete group and Alberto Antonini, plus Bodegas Monteviejo, Flechas de los Andes, Salentein, J&F Lurton, Mil Piedras, Andelua, Sophenia, Azul, O. Fournier, La Celia, and many more.
Today Argentina has several opportunities that attract investors from all over the world, options available through Gateway to South America – Argentina include managed vineyard estates, private vineyards, wineries, vacation homes, boutique wineries, small resort hotels, and other tourism related facilities.
The Gateway team works with a highly skilled team of professionals to offer you vineyard and rural property evaluation and assessment, property management, as well as a wide range of services. Professional agronomists and enologists can create your custom vineyards from scratch from planting and maintaining your vineyards or orchards, designing your irrigation system, orientating the vineyards for best sun potential, recommending specific grapes for the soil type or types on your property, pruning, harvesting each vine by hand to making your private label and marketing your wine.
This is a unique opportunity to combine a quality investment with a wonderful lifestyle: Enjoy your estate in harmony with nature at the foot of the magnificent Andes Mountains. Imagine owning one of the finest managed vineyard properties anywhere, with your own custom-designed villa surrounded by acres of lush Malbec vines (or the grapes of your choice). Wake up each morning to vibrant views of the pastoral countryside, with air so clear you feel like you can reach out and touch the mountains.
Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours.
The Gateway Team – When You are Serious About Property