In spite of concerns related to a potential surplus of Chilean wine, it appears that expansion of export sales will absorb increased production this year.

According to statistics released by Chile's Fine Wine Producers and Exporters Association, the value of wine exports was up 8.2% during the first quarter of this year relative to one year earlier.

Nevertheless, Chile's abundant wine supply is starting to undermine prices, with the average price per litre down from $2.21 (Q1, 2000) to $1.93 per litre (Q1, 2001).

Chile's wine exporters set an ambitious target of $700 million in foreign sales this year. Their strategy involves offsetting lower prices with increased export volume.

During the first quarter of this year, export volume reached 65m litres, up 24.2% from the same period a year earlier. Through April of this year, the UK was the leading foreign market for Chilean wines, accounting for 16% of exports. In second place was the US with about 10%.