Malbec World Day celebrates its fifth anniversary this year as the premier event for promoting wines from Argentina, this time with a cinematic theme. The MWD website has information on celebrations around the world, from Asuncion to Yerevan. And that makes sense - malbec is a grape with global appeal that can fit into almost any market. But will it be able to conquer emerging economies as well?
There aren't too many wines that can offer quality, in high volume, at prices from $5 to $50 a bottle. The key for malbec exporters is to build a ladder of wines that consumers can climb along with their incomes. MWD events will take place in wealthy cities like Houston and Perth, but also in poorer ones like Hanoi and Phnom Penh. To be sure, there are expatriate communities in the latter who can afford wines of all prices. But the rising incomes of emerging economies offer an opportunity for malbec to get in on the ground floor.
The incursion into Southeast Asia is particularly apt, since this is where vehicle makers have used the same approach. In the 1990s, Honda started exporting its basic scooters to Vietnam, after the country finally left its wartorn past behind and began opening to the global economy. Within a few years, the scooters were ubiquitous. And then, as living standards began to climb, Honda was able to export higher-value products: fancier scooters, motorcycles, and eventually cars.
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