Wine import and distribution
Rio de Janeiro
After 3 years recession, the Brazil economy is finally rebounding. Rio suffered the most from this economic crisis as the city was suffering from the aftermath of 2016 Olympic Games. The state went bankrupt at the end of 2016 and lost more than 70 000 jobs. Nowadays, 90% of the wine consumption in Brazil happens in the south of the cities of Salvador and Brasilia.
Wine market facts:
- Supermarkets and off trade tend to grow more as economy improves
- Wines mostly sold in on-trade range has an price below US$5/ bottle and in the off-trade around US$2-3
- The largest markets are Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
More than 100 sales persons are working at Casa Flora in Brazil. They are the 3rd biggest importer of Brazil, thanks to their portfolio, built on the needs of the country and population, as well as on the market demand.
For a little more history on the Brazilian wine market, in 1875, Italian immigrants arrived in Brazil and brought with them the culture of wine, as well as began planting vineyards. Nowadays, 80 000 hectares of vineyards are planted, and 1.1k wineries has been created since. The state of Rio Grande do Sul is responsible for 90% of the total Brazilian wine production and 50% of the grape harvest is used to do grape juice, where 54% of red grapes and 46% white grapes are produced.
In Porto Alegre, there are three major white grapes: Chardonnay, Moscato Bianco and Riesling Italico, as well as three major red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling Italico are mostly used in sparkling wine production, one of Brazil’s highlights. In Brazil, there is more than 100 years history of sparkling wine production, and every year, Brazilian wineries sell around 18,7 million liters of sparkling, which represents approximately 25 million bottles.
The Vinicola Salton was established in 1910 by the Salton family, which were Italian immigrants. The winery is mostly known for their sparkling, and received multiple awards for its reds and whites still wines. Since 2004, after receiving a piece of land from the government, they relocated in a new winery, inspired by an Italian architect from the region they are from. They have 300 hectares of their own and buy another 2000 hectares, mostly from vinifera grapes.
At Lidio Carraro, all the family is engaged in the winery. The brothers are winemakers, and the sister takes care of the marketing. With 50 hectares of vineyards and 200 hectares of lands, this boutique winery is exporting 35% of their production in more than 25 countries. To explain their way of producing, they came out with the “purist” philosophy concept: Low yield, hand harvest, vinification by parcel, unoaked, unfiltered, gravity flow winemaking, no sugar added, no fining (substance used to clarify the wine), no corrections. The fact that they produced « purest » wines was not really well received in Brazil at first. But by exporting their products, and as it was well received elsewhere in other countries around the world, it helped them promoting this type of wine process in Brazil. Congrats for this !
Miolo Wine Group is the number 1 reference as wine producer in Brazil, as well as the 5th largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere. The family history goes back to 1897, when Giuseppe Miolo, immigrated from Italy, arrived in Brazil in Bento Gonçalves to cultivate grapes. During these early years, he was a pioneer in cultivating European grape varieties. Nowadays, with 450 hectares of vineyards planted in Vale dos Vinhedos, and located in altitude of 450 to 650 meters in the south of Brazil, Miolo is producing 10 million bottles a year, exporting around 30 countries. They commissioned Michel Rolland as their consultant in order to develop their still and sparkling wines (which represents 40% of their production), and they produce a Bordeaux Blend that is very appreciated in the country. I had a blast during this visit and an amazing lunch at the Miolo Garden, it is definitely a go-to winery while in Brazil!
Chandon Brasil was founded in 1973, and was at that time the 1st Brazilian winery to produce only sparkling wines, taking advantage of the strong growth of the sparkling category. They are located in Rio Grande do Sul, and grow Chardonnay, Riesling Italico, and Pinot Noir. Their success is due to their adaptability to produce wines that fits the Brazilian consumers demand, targeting the most demanding connoisseurs of refines sparkling wines. They have a strong image associated with celebration and chic Brazilian lifestyle. The only thing I thought was a little sad was that they only produce Charmat method sparkling, it would be nice to try a traditional method one day!
Soon on The Wined : Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina…