The Chilean wine was launched In Ireland in 1989 and the Christchurch evening celebrated the last 27 years of the Santa Rita 120 brand in Ireland with the guest list comprising both individuals and businesses that have contributed to the success of the brand over the years.
Key attendees included the first importers of Chilean wine Jonathan & Vivienne Mitchell, the first importers of Santa Rita Robert & Christine Smith of Mackenway Wines, Fergal Downey & Lynne Coyle MW representing Gilbeys of Ireland, Pat and Sally Anne Cooney representing today’s importers of Santa Rita, Gleeson Wines & Spirits, Martin McAuley of United Wine Merchants (NI) and Tom McCusker of C&C Gleeson (RoI).
Santa Rita is the top-selling wine brand in Ireland with its Santa 120 Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon topping the best-selling wine lists. With a sales growth put at 18% last year the brand now claims 6% of the off-trade wine market in terms of volume.
Santa Rita 120/Gran Hacienda also claims to be the top-selling premium on-trade wine brand in both Ireland and the UK.
In terms of value sales, Santa Rita Estates has become Chile’s second-largest premium wine exporter and it estimates that its retail sales here in Ireland top €50 million in total through sales of 500,000 cases.
Santa Rita Estates also became the top Santa Rita brand distributor in the Irish off-trade for the first time in 2015 with a retail value of over €37 million.
“Santa Rita is exported to over 80 countries worldwide but Ireland remains one of our most important international markets,” commented Santa Rita Estates’ Executive Vice Chairman Baltazar Sánchez Guzman, who flew over from Chile to attend the 120 dinner.
“We have shipped in excess of 35 million bottles to Ireland since 1989, six million of those in 2015 alone,” he stated.
“As a company, Santa Rita Estates, incorporating the Santa Rita, Carmen and Nativa brands from Chile and Doña Paula from Argentina, are delighted to also have become the number One distributor in the Irish off-trade for the first time.”
Dona Paula is the largest brand from Argentina sold in the off-trade with approximately 28% of the Argentine wine market by value here.
Brands under the Santa Rita Label include 120, Secret Reserve, Reserva, Medalla Real, Floresta, Pehuen, Triple C and Bougainville.
The top wine, Casa Real, was awarded the prestigious ‘Decanter Wine Legend’ status in 2014, the only wine from South America to have achieved this recognition, ranking it alongside some of the most historic wines of the world.