Wine exports from Chile have jumped during the first quarter of the year, according to recent figures.

Speaking yesterday (24 April) the Chilean Agriculture Ministry's Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies (ODEPA) said that wines of denomination of origin have recorded a 37% leap in the three-month period, compared to the same quarter last year, to US$214.2m.

In terms of volume, 68.5m litres of denomination of origin wine were exported during the first three months of the year, a 29% increase from the 53.2m litres shipped in January-March 2006.

The UK and US were the most popular markets, receiving 20% and 15% of total annual exports. Other major destinations included Germany, the Netherlands and Canada according to ODEPA.

According to reports, however, local grape growers and wineries are warning that this year's harvest could be the worst in the last 20 years, due to excess supply and falling prices.