Catalan wineries look to win over Russian importers
Lleida (CNA).- Around 20 wineries from Lleida and Catalonia are these days exploring the possibility of commencing business activity with or increase their exports to Russia in the framework of the 6th International Wine Business Meeting. After the success of previous editions, the Chamber of Commerce of Lleida remains committed to the inverse trade mission formula in order to promote Catalan exports, and this time it has put the focus on the Russian market, due to its potential and despite the devaluation the rouble has suffered in recent years. The meeting, being held until Friday, counts among its participants a dozen of the leading importers of wine and cava in Russia, who have come to the Catalan city looking for quality products, but ones especially affordable for the consumer's pocket.
Ten major wine importers from Russia will have meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with 26 Catalan and Spanish wineries. The goal is to establish business relations to facilitate the export of wine and cava to Russia. According to the Chamber of Commerce of Lleida, the Russian market has been suffering since September 2014 from the turbulence resulting from the fragile economic situation in the country, with a sharp devaluation of the rouble that especially affects the payments to suppliers.
Despite this context, Russia is increasing its import of wine and cava and in the first half of 2016 the imports of wine rose by 6%, said Jordi Quejido, head of the International Chamber of Commerce of Lleida. Moreover, the import of bottled wine increased by 38%.
In light of these data, the Chamber of Commerce of Lleida considers it a "good time" for Catalan wineries to explore the possibilities of opening business in Russia, currently the sixth world market in terms of wine consumption, with an average of 7.5 litres per capita. “In the medium term it is expected to reach or even exceed 10 litres", Quejido stated.
Most of the importing companies participating at the meeting are already working with wineries from La Rioja or Castilla-La Mancha. "But we are interested in the Catalan wines with designation of origin and especially in cava, products that are known worldwide for their quality", said Tatiana Ilino, from the OOO Napitki firm. Next Thursday and Friday the importers will have the opportunity to visit the wine cellars of the companies participating in the event. In this vein, the director of exports of the winery Costers del Sió emphasised "the willingness of importers to taste Catalan wines beyond the Spanish wines from Rioja or Ribera del Duero".
The member of the winery Mas Blanch in Lleida, Sara Jove, stressed that “it is difficult to access (the Russian market) without travelling to the country”, but she is convinced that the inverse mission will help her winery to “start working on possible trade relations in the near future”.
The five previous editions of the International Wine Business Meeting focused on American markets (2013), Canada (2013), China (2014), Japan (2015) and South Korea (February 2016 ).