Leading Brazilian wine growers have asked their government to raise the tax on imported wines. Most wines consumed in Brazil are imported from Chile, Spain, and France. Domestic growers say they don’t want to stop all importation but their industry will dry up if the protectionist calls are not taken seriously by the government.
However, there is disagreement between winery owners.
Many Brazilians still think of domestic wine as unsophisticated everyday vin de table. But the growers who disagree with the calls for protectionism say falling sales of domestic wine are not due to lack of competitiveness but instead prejudice against home grown wine. They say production has changed entirely over the past 15 years. In the 90s it was mass produced “plonk.” Not anymore. Sophisticated wines are now being produced in the “Valley of Wines” in the south of the country.
If the government approves the move it will create more problems say the anti-protection growers. Some restaurants have already removed domestic wines in protest; if wine prices go any higher, they say, drinkers may revert to beer and spirits.