Concha y Toro halts production

05 March, 2010

Chile’s biggest winemaker, Concha y Toro, has been forced to stop production and shipping following the earthquake which hit the country’s wine heartland.

Concha y Toro said it had suspended all of its logistics and production for “at least one week”.

Wines of Chile’s UK director Michael Cox said there was significant damage in the southern wine areas closest to the epicentre, “notably Bío Bío, Cauquenes, and other parts of Maule, and Curicó”.

“Even wineries as far north as Colchagua have been affected, with structural damage, road collapses, and power and communication problems,” Cox added.

Wineries further north in Rapel and Maipo also reported problems. In a statement, Concha y Toro said: “We, as well as the rest of the industry, have been heavily impacted by this catastrophe?.

“With the information we have there are fortunately no personal tragedies among our employees and their families.

“We have been able to assess serious damage to some of our main wineries which are located in the worst-affected areas. This includes important loss in wine and production capacity.

“All our efforts are dedicated with regard to assessing the scope of this unprecedented event and resuming normal operations as soon as possible.” Vistamar chief executive Mat?ías Elton said its cellar and production plant in Pelequén in Rapel Valley, was “severely damaged”.

Eduardo Chadwick, president of Viña Errazuriz, said there had been some damage to wineries in the south. He said the opening of the new Don Maximiano Icon Winery, set to happen in a week’s time, would be postponed until November.

VC Family Estates chief executive Jorge Goles said the earthquake hadn’t affected its wineries or vineyards, due to anti-?seismic technology.

“All the shipments should be delivered in the established dates, as long as the local ports are operative,” he said.

The harvest is about to start, but disrupted electrical power, travel difficulties and damaged facilities mean wineries will find it hard to process grapes normally.

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