Argentina has announced a 50% cut in export taxes on wine to help the industry weather the global financial crisis.

Speaking at last weekend's wine festival in Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina, president Cristina Fernández announced export taxes would drop from 5% to 2.5%.

Fernández also said US$350,000 would be spent promoting Argentinean wines abroad this year, and confirmed $50m-worth of loan funding for small and medium wine producers.

The loan comes from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), while a further $25m in loan credit will be added from local Argentinean sources.

"We are happy the government is giving priority to supporting small winegrowers," Ricardo Vargas del Valle, IDB Argentina director, said.

Last year Argentina exported more than $800m of wine, an 11% increase on 2007.