Exports of bottle and boxed Argentinean wine rose 11% by volume in the first half of 2009, but bulk demand is down sharply, according to provisional figures from the country's National Wine Institute (INV).

Packaged wine export volumes reached 100m litres for the six months to 30 June, from 89m litres in the same period last year, the INV said. value sales rose 9% to US$290m.

"The [positive] price/quality ratio of Argentinean wines is the reason," Guillermo Garcia, INV president, told local media.

Bulk wine exports for the same period fell by 61%, however. Only 35m litres left the country, compared to 92m litres in the first half of 2008.

Argentinean producers blamed the sharp drop on higher bulk prices, and higher transport costs to Russia, its leading bulk buyer, compared to European producers such as Spain.