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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

In a significant volte-face, the Chilean wine industry is to re-open its generic office in London "shortly". According to a press release circulated at the Wines of Chile tasting last week, the closure of the old Wines of Chile office at the end of 2000 was a "short-term tactical decision" as part of a revision of the industry's "global strategy". The new office will "support the business activities of our importers, agents and retailers". The news came as a complete surprise to leading Chilean wine importers in the UK. "It's great that the Chileans have had second thoughts," Patrick McGrath MW of Hatch Mansfield told Harpers. "But it's a shame they didn't talk to us first." McGrath describes as a "joke" the decision to produce a $20,000 video shown at the tasting. "Two days before the tasting, each winery was asked to pay an additional $500 for the video and the press release." It seems unlikely that Sue Pike of Pike PR, who ran the previous Wines of Chile office, will be involved, given the fact that she now does PR for Valdivieso, Carmen and Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chile. "It would be a conflict of interest," one importer said.