“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives” was a quote television catchphrase from a long‐running soap opera, which is appropriate for this global market update. With harvest in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, buyers are truing up inventories and ensuring all programs will have good quality supply. The question at hand is: what varietals will be short, what varietals will be long, and from where? Meanwhile, all is now known about the 2015 Southern Hemisphere harvest, and suppliers are readying their wines for wine contract shipments and for the sampling of wines not yet sold. Overall, due to both supply and economic factors, we see a break in the log jam of over supply, with buyers looking ahead to 2016 purchases. For avid readers of this global report, please pay special attention to the South Africa page, where there is another African country profiled, and to the Buyer’s Page on Alcohol products from our contributing partner, Andy Bivona. Another busy trade show season starts with the Bulk Wine Exhibition in Amsterdam November 24th and 25th. See you there!
This Coffee Shop article is an excerpt from the Ciatti Global Wine Grape Brokers’ September, 2015 Global Market Update (Volume 6 Issue No. 9). Here, we focus on the California and USA section of the report. See the full report for global wine market update for countries including Argentina, Australia &New Zealand, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and Spain.
All wineries around the state are in full force. The 2015 harvest will be remembered as one of the earliest and fastest on record. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this harvest will not be as bountiful as the previous three vintages. This will help to balance some varieties that have been in long supply. On the other side, the shortness of 2015 will exacerbate supply issues on specified appellated wine varieties that may already be in tight supply, especially Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Sonoma.
Overall, Coastal regions have been coming in lightest, with reports of 20‐30% less tonnage verses last year. Reports from the Central Valley have been better, trending average to slightly below average overall. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah seem to be varieties that are under the most pressure this season. Again, these varieties, with the exception of Zinfandel, are the varieties that have grown in demand.
Current Market Pricing
California Bits and Pieces
With six‐month figures just released from Gomberg‐Fredrikson, United States wine sales grew at a modest rate of 1%. We continue to see major decreases of value wines, offset by solid increases of premium priced wine. This sales trend continues with select small and medium brands growing nicely. Larger wineries are continuing to offer both newly‐created brands to the market, along with the purchasing of high‐end wine properties to add to their portfolios.
Imported wine shows a similar picture. Bottled imported case goods, many which hit a premium price‐point, have continued to grow (+5%). These sales figures reflect the effects of the strong US Dollar, particularly against the Euro. Bulk import volumes have continued to decline, off‐setting the overall import growth. California exports of both case goods and bulk wine continue to decline at ‐3% and ‐8%, respectively. On the bright side, sparkling wine continues to grow for imports (+23%) led by Italy (+35%) and France (+9%). Domestic sparkling wine is also trending positively, growing (+7%) year‐to‐date.