Our Chilean wine producers have been hit by the earthquake. The damage is not too severe; most wineries are modern and earthquake-proofed. But so much precious wine has been lost.
However the thing producers Viña Tarapaca, Don Cayetano and Adolfo Hurtado are most concerned about is that their trade might drop away with customers hanging back. Indeed, I just cancelled my trip later this month. I mean, I don't want to get in the way of vital work.
And we thought it sensible - at first - to put back our orders.
But then Becca Reeves our Chile buyer, after spending nights trying to get through to her Chilean friends, made us see sense.
We must help and raise their spirits, she said, by putting in our yearly orders NOW - "to be delivered when possible". They all assure her that will be maximum six months.
Right now, for every order of Chilean wines order we'll donate 5% of sales to the Chilean Government's relief fund.
Do order if you can. Chileans are lovely people. They are tough, hard-working and resourceful. They will come through - with a little help from their friends!
Becca has sent an email to all our customers – here’s what she said:
My name is Becca Reeves and I am Laithwaites Chilean wine buyer. I’m writing to you today in reaction to the devastating effects of last Saturday’s earthquake in Chile.
The earthquake struck in the heart of Chile’s winemaking country – an area I know well from many buying trips there.
Like, for example, Luis Felipe Edwards (or Don Cayetano as you may know him better). I managed to speak to him yesterday on a crackly line to find out if he and his family are OK. They are. But their house was destroyed and some of their great wine has disappeared into the ground.
Luis Felipe was remarkably upbeat and at pains to assure me that the harvest (due to start right now in Chile) would still go ahead. He said his vineyards workers and cellar hands were determined to keep working despite the chaos around them.
I was astonished and said so to Luis Felipe. He told me that the best way to rebuild Chile right now is to carry on as normal and keep people in work. Luis Felipe was concerned that people would want to give Chile ‘some space’, hold off ordering and, as a result, the country would lose income it now desperately needs.
So, this month I am asking you to support our winemakers in Chile - their families and the families of their employees. Chilean wines these days are of impeccable quality and the range is staggering – the most varied in the world (OK, I am bit biased!) – there’s plenty to choose from to suit your palate and budget.
In return, Laithwaites will donate 5% of sales of all Chilean wine sold during March to the Chilean Embassy’s Earthquake Appeal Fund.
I hope that when you think about buying your wine this month you will think of our friends in Chile and help raise as much as we can for them – they really need your support right now.
Thanks for reading