Under the current Argentine Presidency, the meeting of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) is being hosted in London over the course of today and tomorrow.
High-level government and wine industry authorities from the nine member countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the United States, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Uruguay) are participating in the event. Additionally, this year marks a first as the event will be attended by observers from Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, among others.
“The meeting is taking place at a significant moment for the WWTG, after celebrating its 20th Anniversary at the last Annual Meeting in Neuquén in 2018. Over the last two decades, the WWTG has proven itself to be a global leader in matters relating to the wine trade, accounting for 30% of global exports, 35% of global production and 27% of global wine consumption”, said the Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Carlos Sersale, in his opening address to an audience including the President of Argentina’s National Wine Institute (Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura) Carlos Tizio Mayer and the Manager of Bodegas de Argentina Juan Carlos Pina.
“As the current host of the Presidency and founding member of the Group, Argentina is committed to ensuring that the WWTG continues to demonstrate its strength in pushing measures to help dismantle trade barriers to wine. Our country, in its capacity as the world’s fifth largest producer of wine, second largest exporter of grape juice, and tenth largest global exporter of wine to around 130 countries, wishes to continue cooperating in order to keep increasing market access for wine products”, the Argentine Ambassador added.
The valuable participation of the observers is worth noting, as this event saw record numbers participating since the WWTG’s inception. This serves to strengthen the Group’s mission to broaden its membership base, who share the common goal of facilitating the wine trade internationally. In particular, the Group decided to hold the meeting in London for the first time, signalling a push towards building ties with strategic markets for the WWTG, such as the United Kingdom.
Testament to this is the growth in exports of Argentine wine to the United Kingdom: in a decade the value of shipments has doubled, reaching a total value of 106.8 million dollars (355,406 hectolitres), making it the second largest global market for our wine products, accounting for 13 per cent of total exports (behind the United States, with 31 per cent).
For Argentina, presiding the Group means not only promoting its aims of facilitating the international wine trade, but also fostering the national wine industry and the contribution it makes to the development of regional economies. Argentine wine constitutes an important part of the Argentine identity, having been declared by law a “national drink”. Malbec is an Ambassador for Argentina on the world stage, renowned for its quality and typicity associated with the national terroir.
Following the successful results of the last Group Meeting in Neuquén in 2018, there are hopes that the meeting in London will be able to continue making progress towards shared solutions amidst current and future challenges facing the international wine trade, including the strategic review of the Group’s goals and discussion around measures to facilitate wine exports.
Argentina will hand the Presidency on to Chile in May, after which the latter will organise the Group’s next meeting in October 2019.