7th Annual "Experience the Taste of Chile" Wine Tasting & Dinner

There was a glow emanating from the Du Pont Country Club as stars in the international shipping business and political galaxies gathered for the Seventh Annual “Taste of Chile” Wine Tasting & Dinner, presented by the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. Designed to celebrate the exceptional economic and trade partnership between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region, the dinner was an elegant, stellar tribute. Delaware’s United States Senator Tom Carper and Governor Jack Markell, joined Chile’s new Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency, Felipe Bulnes in delivering gleaming reports on Chile’s skyrocketing progress. The Chilean economic story is certainly one of the most positive success stories going on in the world today.

With a tremendous growth trajectory over the last three decades, Chile is now number 17 in the world for food exports. They are rising so swiftly, they’re expected to be among the top ten exporters by 2014. Chilean produce broke the grip of ‘Winter,’ making fruit available to the United States all year-round, while creating thousands of jobs from the Delaware Valley all the way to Santiago. The president of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, Robert Palaima, was the evening’s master of ceremonies and noted the Chamber has been a key factor in bolstering this astounding bilateral trade. In fact since 1989, the total value of Chilean imports coming through the Delaware River ports rose from $192, 020, 000 million to $966,330,000 million dollars.

A stunning success.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell actually lived in Chile and spoke of the extraordinary growth and charm of the country: “Chile is truly one of the greatest countries in the world. I have a particular affection for Chile. I lived there in 1983-84. I was working for an American bank that had an office there. I lived and worked in Santiago but got to travel mainly in the south which is absolutely spectacular. I hear the north is also and look forward to visiting there. Chile is a beautiful country, the people are incredible, the progress that the economy has made over the last 30 years is phenomenal. And to visit as Alan Levin, Delaware’s Economic Development Director, Gene Bailey and Tom Keefer, from the Port and Ben Leavenworth, the Honorary Consul, we went back in August. We went to sign an extension of an agreement between the Port of Wilmington and many of the fruit exporters and growers in Chile.”

In her introduction of Ambassador Bulnes, Anne Bookout, Vice President and General Counsel of Royal Fumigation told the gathering of His Excellency’s time spent in the United States. “He has an LL.M from Harvard Law School, was a Fulbright Scholar, and also served Chile as both Minister of Justice and again, as Minister of Education.”

Ambassador Bulnes only just arrived in the States in the last couple of weeks, but made sure the event was one of his first official stops. He talked about why the bonds between Chile and the US are so strong and complimented the Chilean & American Chamber, “I want to thank the Chamber, it is the largest Chilean-American Chamber we have and is the most active and a key player in promoting the relationship between our two countries. . .The trade balance between the Delaware Valley region is approximately one billion dollars and that’s a huge amount for Chilean standards. We are happy to supply fruits during your winter season and take advantage of the ‘reverse’ growing season and happy to sustain two thousand direct jobs and ten thousand in-direct jobs in your region. And thanks to your efficiency, capabilities and commitment to Chilean exports, you are sustaining one hundred thousand jobs in Chile.”

Fresh off the train from the nation’s capital, Delaware’s United States Senator Tom Carper said, “Our relationship with Chile has born great fruit, for Chile and not just for those of us in Delaware Valley Region. We’re happy that Chile is our valued customer and we’re happy to be your servant. And so glad to see all of you here tonight. As a recovering governor, I love economic development and job creation. It’s one of my most favorite things in the world.”

The Chamber’s 2012 Visionary Award went to Rene Merino, the managing director and owner of the Casa Tamaya Winery. Together, ‘The Wines of Chile’ and Casa Tamaya decanted an impressive array of Chile’s finest wines throughout the evening. While accepting the award, Merino noted, “We have people thinking ‘premium’ now, when they think of Chilean wines. We believe we have the best geography, the best climate, conditions, the best of everything to produce the finest wines in the world. We have also proven it many times in blind taste-tests and competitions. We’ve been able to beat some of the most expensive wines in the world many, many times. And we always over-deliver. That’s what Chile’s all about. Governor Markell and I were talking about Tamaya Winery and I’ve asked him to visit us in the north. We are right at the entrance of the desert and the first time my wife and I went – there was nothing there. It was just barren land. She said, ‘you’re absolutely crazy, nothing’s going to grow here.’ And today we have an amazing winery making wines that rival the world’s finest in competitions all over the world.”

The outstanding imported wines were part of an exquisite dinner made of foods imported from Chile. In addition to the remarkable Tamaya Cabernet Sauvignon and others, there was also delicious AquaChile Verlasso salmon, farm raised in Chile. It was absolutely delightful and is the result of a joint research and development effort between the Du Pont Company of the United States and the Republic of Chile.

Ricardo Maldonado, the Executive Director of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce said, “It is fitting that the evening’s award is called ‘Visionary’ because in fact, everyone at the dinner has that characteristic in common. All of the national and international companies represented, the workers and staff of the Ports of the Delaware River, the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce and the government officials of Chile and the United States are all participating in a real-life dream-come-true.” A remarkable story of vision, dedication, partnership and amazing progress.


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