After a slow growth in 2001, the Chilean wine industry's export sales increased 8% in January compared to the same month in 2001. The industry exported a solid US$47.5m in exports during the period, according to a Tuesday announcement by the Vinas de Chile winery association.

The growth was boosted by an increase in sales to Japan, which is one of Chile's largest export markets.  Exports to that country jumped 118%, while those to the UK grew 15%.  The US, on the other hand, purchased 2% less Chilean wine.

Bottled wines led January's exports, totaling US$41.9m in the period and growing 8.8%.  Chilean wineries sold US$3.8m in bulk wines.

Low prices, however, are still affecting Chile's wineries, considering that the 20.7m liters in January's wine exports was a 27.6% increase.  Prices of Chilean wine fell dramatically last year after nearly 17% export growth in 2000 fueled over production among wineries.

Vinas de Chile, which represents Chile's major wineries, expects exports to grow 3 to 5% this year, compared to 2001's US$587.8m total.