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Order for Campos de Solana from leading UK retailer

CBI coaching has given a Bolivian wine producer the confidence, knowhow and opportunity to start exporting to Europe.

Recipe for success

Campos de Solana produces wines that are typical of the Tarija region of southern Bolivia. They are produced at altitudes at 2,000 metres, which gives them an extraordinary freshness and elegance, explains CBI’s Master of Wine, Cees van Casteren. “Add this to the facts that Campos grows very good fruit and are excellent winemakers and you have a recipe for success.”

First order

Marks & Spencer also thought so, which is why this renowned UK retailer showed commitment and placed an order for the Campos Tannat after its first participation at the 2015 Prowein trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany. Campos were exhibiting at the show in the context of a CBI Export Coaching Programme (ECP), Bolivian Wines, which started three years ago and will run till the end of 2017.

Foreign stage

Participation in trade shows is an important part of the ECP, explains Van Casteren. Most of the 14 ECP participants had never exported wine so the idea of promoting themselves on a foreign stage was completely novel to them. That’s why aspects like export pricing, suitable packaging, efficient logistics and required certifications have been important parts of the CBI export coaching.

Trust

According to Van Casteren Marks & Spencer follows stringent selection criteria, so ordering this Bolivian wine demonstrated a lot of trust in Wines of Bolivia and Campos de Solana. And it would seem that this trust is well placed; the Campos Tannat they selected was recently chosen the best South American red under £15 at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards. “Given that this is the world’s leading wine competition, it’s a great achievement and it shows that Campos completely lived up to expectations.”

Confidence

Van Casteren believes that the ECP has given the participating Bolivian wine producers the confidence to look beyond their national borders. Being relatively isolated and with no coastline, Bolivia is a difficult country to export from. Consequently, the Bolivian wine sector, which has been making wine since 1540, has only ever competed in the domestic market. Producers like Campos never imagined the world would be interested in their wines.

Stronger sector

The implications for the sector as a whole are already visible, insists Van Casteren. These include investments in wine cellars, many new vineyards being planted, certifications being put in place, and true cooperation between the wineries in Wines of Bolivia. The order for Campos has given the whole sector renewed confidence in its capabilities. This will pave the way for more orders in the near future, which will, in turn, lead to better and more wine, more employment, better working conditions and a stronger sector overall.

Strong demand

“The ECP has encouraged these Bolivian producers to be proud of their quality and let the results speak for themselves,” concludes Van Casteren. “And the results certainly do: Campos de Solana is already selling to the UK and elsewhere Europe, which proves there is a strong demand for what they offer. For companies like this it’s been a long road but their journey is starting to pay off.”