Dyonisos Wines SpA, situated in the Maipo Valley of Chile, is a state-of-the-art winery owned by French wine maker Pascal Marty. It’s logo? An aromatic fragrance emerging from a glass, which, with its rainbow of colors, evokes the complexity of Dyonisos wines.
The grapes used come straight from growers of the Central Valley and are pre-selected based on the terroirs and micro-climate they are produced in. The icon wines of the company come from Marty’s private Estate in Pirque. Dyonisos Wines SpA is unique in having a flexible business model in which owning a part of the winery allows each partner importer to build a strong sales channel on long term.
I spoke to Christophe Pans, Export Manager for Dyonisos Wines, at Vinexpo and learned a few things about Chile as a wine region. We discussed the intensely varied terroir and how it affects wine production, as well as the agreement between the Chilean government and the wine industry, which allows wineries to enter the market in a very competitive way, resulting in the great success of Chilean wines in the Asian markets. We spoke a bit about the other Chilean wineries at Vinexpo and the relationship among the Chilean wineries present that day. Christophe also walked me through the different wines representing Dyonisos at Vinexpo and explained the difference between them in terms of quality and marketing strategy.
Our interview follows:
This is a company that was started by Pascal Marty. He’s a French winemaker who is more famous for having made the first wine for Opus One and, as well, he was the first winemaker of Almaviva. So now he has started his own winery in 2009 and so far we are exporting to Japan, to Korea, to China and to Belgium as well.
So you’ve been pretty successful in the Asian markets?
Asia is going pretty well. We are now expecting, as well, to open markets in Brazil pretty soon, Mexico, in Russia and Poland so that is another area. But for now, mostly in this fair, we have been trying to get in contract and, successfully, with Southeast Asia, so Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia. So we are working with huge hopes.
And what about the other Chilean wineries that are present at Vinexpo? Do you think that Chile’s wine industry is being well represented by the wineries that are here today?
Well we have here some very big names, in fact. As you can see in front of us we have Lapostolle, the neighbor of us is Montgras and lots of other companies, lots of Chilean wineries we have here as well, huge stand. In fact it is one of the biggest Chilean wine stands that we have all over the world, here at Vinexpo. And yes, in Chile we have all kinds of different wineries, going from the more boutique wineries up to the huge, third biggest winery, Concha y Toro, in the world.
And what do you think about the crazy, huge booth that Concha y Toro has?
Well, it’s Concha y Toro, so it’s according to their size. They’re doing a pretty good job for the Chilean wine market. It puts, definitely, the Chilean wines in the world. And therefore we are definitely, it’s more complementary for us having a company as Concha y Toro and other companies as well. We are working all together as a Chilean wine industry and everybody is trying to fill his own niche in the Asian markets, especially in China. It’s a huge market with all different types of market segments, so there’s a place for everybody.
And why do you think Chilean wines are so popular in Asia, whereas, for example, Argentine or Uruguayan wineries, although increasing their presence in the Asian markets, they’re not as successful as Chile?
Well we might say that there is a very good cooperation between the Chilean government and the Chilean wine sector, in which the government is giving a huge amount of help and it’s creating all these kind of free trade agreements and allowing us to enter in the market on a very competitive way. Besides the good quality of wines that we have, we can definitely always enter in a very interesting price level. So as we compare here, for China, every year the import taxes, they are reducing, we are now up to 4.2% import tax and in the year 2015, that will become 0. So we will be every year even becoming more competitive. So for an importer it’s always very interesting to have Chilean wines. And it’s known for a good value wine, good price, an easy-drinking wine. We are also now trying to position ourselves as a Chilean wine industry for the next five years and to compete, as well, at a higher level. Of course, we also have Pascal Marty who was one of the pioneers in Chile of showing that Chile is able to create top quality wines. So, as he was the creator of Almaviva, which is today one of the top 10 most important labels in the world, according to the Chinese list of the top 10 labels… So that goes together with Lafite, Petrus and then we have at 8th place, is Opus One and on the 9th place is Almaviva.
Yeah they are on Entaste’s list as well.
So that, of course, shows where it all can go. Chile is a country with 4,000 km of length. It has all kinds of climates, from up to the driest, up to the coldest. We are all protected with natural boundaries, going from East to the Andes Mountains, which is the highest mountain range in America, and then to the West we have the Pacific Ocean, biggest ocean in the world and the Antarctic we have. In the North the driest dessert in the world and the South Pole which is the coldest place in the world.
Land of extremes…
Exactly, and very well protected so making some kinds of organic wines is very pretty easy to do so, so we have a company like Emiliana who is really doing a great job in all kinds of organic and carbon neutral wines. So there is a lot of variety in the Chilean wine industry.
And which wines have you brought to show today?
Well, we have all kinds of wines in fact, going from the entry-level wines… So we offer wines from all kinds of levels, so from the entry level wine this fruity wine, we have Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon. In the whites we have a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Then we have interesting blends, which is the Love, which is more orientated towards the final consumer, it always creates a certain kind of emotion. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Merlot. And in the whites we have Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. And then we have this varietal, which is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well we have two white wines. And of course, Ilaia. “Ilaia” is a word that comes from the Yagan people. The Yagan people are the most Austral people on this planet, living in Chile. There are still living around 400 people and in their language “Ilaia” means “most Southern part”, so it’s, let’s say, the end of the world. So that’s where that wine is coming from. Then we have the Pirca range – over there we have white wine, Chardonnay… This is wine that is elaborated in French oak about 6 months and here we have Carmenere, a Syrah and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Then we have our top wine, the Corazon del Indio and this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah and this is coming from the mountain range which you can see over there… You can see the sleeping Indian for this white stone for a heart and “Corazon” means heart, so it’s the heart of the Indian. So that’s where we come from, Pirque, Maipo Alto region of Chile. So that’s an overview of what we offer.
And out of these wines which one has had the best feedback so far? Which ones have the guests of the stand liked the most?
It depends a little bit more on each client. We have clients who are looking more for the marketing aspect of a wine and then they are really definitely looking to this label [Love], which allows them to develop more contact with the final consumer. We are aiming, for example, for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, weddings is a huge business for this kind of label. Then there are people who are looking more for the entrée business and then they’re looking for this kinds of labels [Pirca] and that goes then for more the bars and finer restaurants. And people who are looking more for the supermarket chains, we have these which are more easy-drinking wines. It’s a very good value for the price that you are getting, so all depends what kind of public you’re facing and it’s interesting that we really get entry in all different kinds of market segments. That we also need to develop to find clients.
Cover all the bases?
My last question is, in your personal opinion, which one do you like the ones out of the ones you are showcasing today?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I mean you have to try the Carmenere. It’s the typical variety from Chile. We are the only country in the world who is producing wines only from Carmenere, so definitely it’s a perfect choice. In the Sauvignon Blanc, our entry level Sauvignon Blanc is also… it’s a very fruity wine, doing very well as well. And then you can’t miss the Corazon del Indio. So you definitely always have to know what is the real potential of this winery. So it’s a personal choice there.