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Visit of Southern U.S. Trade Association Mission to Uruguay's wineries

Accompanied by U.S. Embassy officials, the trade mission sought information on Uruguay's wine industry as a potential export market.

May 19, 2004

Photos follow story

James Green and Leslie Murphy, representatives of the Virginia and Kentucky Departments of Agriculture, respectively, visited Uruguay as part of a Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) mission to Uruguay May 10 and 11. Green and Murphy were accompanied by Bob Hoff and Maria Julia Balbi, Agricultural Counselor and Marketing Assistant of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) office in the American Embassy Buenos Aires. The purpose of the SUSTA visit, which was strongly supported by Economics/Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, was to learn about the Uruguayan wine industry and its potential as an export market for U.S. white oak for the aging of Uruguayan wine.

The SUSTA trade mission representatives had meetings with key decision makers from Bodegas Carrau, the Wine Exporters Association, Vinos de La Cruz, the Uruguayan Winemakers Association, and the National Wine Institute. Mission representatives learned that the Uruguayan wine industry had made great strides in the past 17 years to improve wine quality. Uruguayan wine exports gained momentum in the mid 1990s, and although only 3 percent of total Uruguayan wine production is exported, 50 percent of which goes to Brazil (other markets include the European Union, the U.S., Poland, etc.), prospects for expanded exports of fine Uruguay wine are excellent.

Uruguayan wine industry leaders underlined to SUSTA representatives that the signature Uruguayan export wine was derived from the Tannat grape, which, according to the representative of one of Uruguay’s major wineries, aged well in barrels made of U.S. white oak. Various industry representatives expressed interest in conducting tests with U.S. white oak, and SUSTA representatives, as well as representatives of Embassies Montevideo and Buenos Aires committed to facilitating this and future interchanges.

James Green and Leslie Murphy, representatives of the Virginia and Kentucky Departments of Agriculture From left: Christian Wylie, Jose Luis Perrone, James Green, Bob Hoff, Consejero Agrícola, Francisco Zunino
The Tannat grape, a specialty of Uruguay Wine in white oak barrels

 


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