Chile's wine exports will grow by 12% this year to generate foreign sales of US$750m according to the president of the Chilean Wine Corporation.

Gerardo Arteaga said that Chilean exports had achieved higher prices this year, largely because of a shortfall in production. Chile's last harvest produced 630m litres of wine, 5.6% down on the previous year. At the same time domestic demand surged to 270m litres, while demand from export destinations increased to 450m litres.

The wine association president is expecting the next few harvests to be similarly disappointing and for prices to remain at close to their current levels.

Arteaga noted that free-trade treaties with the EU and US had proved extremely encouraging for the industry, while Chilean exporters were also making major inroads into Asia. On current predictions, he added, Chilean wine exports would break the US$1 bln mark by 2010.