Wines of Chile's new UK boss pledges education drive

Anita Jackson has pledged to put consumer and trade education at the centre of her strategy after being instilled as UK director at Wines of Chile.

Jackson had been acting UK director after the generic body’s inspirational former leader, the late Michael Cox, became ill and she has now been given the top job full-time.

She said Chile is performing well in the UK off-trade – it is seventh by volume and value, according to Nielsen, with an average price point of £5.28 – but she plans to drive growth through education.

She told OLN: “Education is key in 2015. Chile has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years. Some of the trade are still stuck with only looking to Chile for entry-level wines and are not even aware of this unique country’s potential and the diversity of its regions.

“Boundaries are being pushed. Ventisquero has a Pinot Noir from even further north than Elqui – a region called Huasco. There will be more blends such as VSC Assemblage from Santa Carolina, which is Petit Verdot-dominant, and Clos de Lolol Blanco from Hacienda Araucano, which is Francois Lurton’s Chilean winery in Colchagua.

“Cinsault is the new buzz grape variety – several wineries are showcasing their wines made from this grape, sourced from Itata in the south of Chile.

“Quite a few wineries are making wines from País, the grape brought to Chile by the conquistadores in the 16th century. It seems quite adaptable, making sparkling wines or carbonic macerated wines that challenge good Beaujolais wines, or a more full-bodied style with luscious fruit characters. There are also some funky Rhône-style wines on offer.”

She added: “Over the past two years all key buyers from all of the multiple grocers – and Majestic, the Wine Society and Stone, Vine & Sun – have visited Chile for a buying trip with a view to extending or reviewing their Chilean ranges, which is a huge commitment to the category.”

Wines of Chile added: “We are pleased to announce that Anita Jackson has been appointed UK Director of Wines of Chile. She is very honoured to follow in Michael's footsteps and will continue his legacy as an ambassador for Chile and its wines.”

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