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Fundraising efforts for Chile's wine regions

Fundraising efforts for Chile's wine regions

Donations to the Wines of Chile Earthquake Appeal are being sent to a special fund, the Levantando Chile Fund, which has been set up specifically to help those employed within the Chilean wine industry and their families. This is a separate fund to that set up by the Chilean Embassy to help people across Chile as a whole and will be directed to those living in Chile’s affected wine regions.

Tragically there has been some loss of life and serious injuries reported within the wine community, but mercifully these numbers are small. The welfare of employees and their homesteads remains the primary concern of all wineries and this fund will aid the rebuilding and reconstruction in the worst affected wine areas.

NESsT, a nonprofit organization founded in Chile in 1999, and Wines of Chile (WoC), the Chilean wine industry trade association committed to promoting Chilean wines around the world, have announced an initiative to raise funds to assist families living in Chile’s wine regions.

Through NESsT’s “Levantando Chile Fund,” established in the wake of Chile’s devastating earthquake, WoC and NESsT will channel funds to on the ground Chilean organizations working in the affected communities.

An emphasis will be placed on providing support to vineyard workers to rebuild their lives, homes and livelihoods.

In a global effort spearheaded by Chile’s wine industry, NESsT will work with WoC’s offices and representatives in Santiago, New York and London to raise funds through wineries, importers, distributors, customers and others. The focus will be on online promotions, wine tastings, and other industry events in Chile, the US and the U.K.

The wine industry is a key element in Chile’s economy—wine is one of the country’s top five exports—and therefore well positioned to contribute to vital reconstruction efforts and rebuilding Chile’s economy. Juan Somavia, MD of WoC, says: “Chile’s wine producing areas were hit hard by the devastating earthquake and aftershocks, and Wines of Chile recognizes the immediate needs of Chileans who live and work in these regions. We decided to work through the Levantando Chile Fund since NESsT is one of the most respected and established organizations in Chile. NESsT, though based in Chile, is also a registered nonprofit in the US and the UK, countries where Wines of Chile has an established network of offices, customers and distributors who are eager to support the reconstruction efforts in Chile.”

To learn more about the Levantando Chile Fund and about making donations from Chile, the United Kingdom and the USA, visit:

Chilean wine industry reports on extent of earthquake damage

In addition to emphasizing the overall strength of the Chilean wine industry’s material infrastructure and the fortitude of its people, René Merino, president Vinos de Chile, the association of Chilean wineries, reports that "as far as we know, there has been no loss of life among our workers" and that although the wine industry has been affected, the damage is limited.

He states: “We have been able to quantify the total loss of wine at approximately 125 million liters, including bulk, bottled, and aging wine. This figure is the equivalent of US$ 250 million, which represents a loss of just 12.5% when compared with the 2009 vintage of 1.01 billion liters. We are therefore certain that dispatches and compliance with commercial obligations will return to normal within a very short period of time and without major difficulties.

“The damage to infrastructure varies among the different wineries and has not, as yet, been fully measured. The vineyards have not been affected, and we are waiting for electricity to be restored in order to determine the extent of damage to irrigation systems.

“Routine work has been reestablished—or will be shortly. Bottling lines are in generally good working condition, as are the cellars, which are already being repaired. The 2010 harvest has begun, and volumes should not be affected by the earthquake. Some shipments are already being dispatched, although the speed of transportation will depend upon the general functioning of the country’s overall infrastructure, such as highways and ports. The wineries are also focusing their efforts on attending to the morale and material needs of their employees."

Vina Concha y Toro has issued the following statement: ”The area with the largest impact is the heartland of wine production. Our company, like the rest of the industry, has been heavily impacted by this catastrophe.

“With the information to which we have access at this moment, there are fortunately no personal tragedies amongst our employees and their families. However we have already 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. A more detailed assessment of the exact magnitude of these damages is currently being completed.

Faced with this event of force majeure, Vina Concha y Toro has had to temporarily suspend all of its logistic and production operations for at least one week. All our efforts are dedicated with regard to assessing the scope of this unprecedented event and resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

Jorge Gole, CEO, VC Family Estates also reported that “thankfully everyone of the Córpora Family is in good health and without problems, so we must say we are very lucky to have everyone alive and in good conditions.

“The earthquake didn’t make any damage in the wineries and vineyards. This means that all our systems like the tanks, barrels and in general our warehouses are in good conditions, mainly because they are built with antisismic technology. Since this morning we are re establishing all our processes in the wineries, so we are going to be working normally during the next hours using a back up generator. All the shipments should be delivered in the established dates, as long as the local ports are operative. The government announced that Valparaíso and San Antonio will be totally operative during the next days.”


1 March 2010 - Felicity Murray