The harvests have all come to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, and it looks as though France has regained its position as the largest producer in the world. French growers looked to have rebounded from disappointing volume results in 2013 with a much better looking crop in 2014. While all regions did not participate in the gain, as Languedoc notably did not have large output, the French growers overall are feeling good about the size of the harvest. The second factor allowing France to regain its status as top producer is the size of the harvest in Spain. The Spanish harvest is down measurably from 2013, and this decrease in volume seems to have helped balance the previous over‐supply situation. Quality and volume both seem to be an issue in Italy, as adverse weather conditions have caused for a very difficult harvest in 2014. California growers agree that the crop this year is a good one, but not nearly the size of the record crop from the previous year.
This Coffee Shop article is an excerpt from the Ciatti Global Wine Grape Brokers’ November, 2014 Global Market Update (Volume 5 Issue No. 11). 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.
Many producers in the Southern Hemisphere are now nearing the end of the frost season, and despite some reports of frost, no major damage is expected from the larger production regions. While it is still very early for harvest estimates, most areas are reporting normal growing seasons thus far.
The bulk market continues to move forward, and many players will meet in Amsterdam in the coming days.
California Market Update
With crush finally finished, the assessment and sourcing period of our brokers begins. Early indications have the 2014 vintage showing superior quality continuing for a third straight year. Weather conditions held throughout the fall, allowing wineries to harvest fruit at optimal maturity. Volumes were plentiful in most regions, but below the massive 2013 harvest.
Pinot Grigio will remain tight given strong demand, along with no apparent increase in new tonnages. Both Zinfandel and White Zinfandel supplies have balanced due to decreased yields in most California vineyards. Reports on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon all show average grape deliveries and excellent quality in all growing districts. Cabernet Sauvignon from the coastal regions will remain tight and in demand. Buyer activity has begun, and suppliers are looking to finish wines for the upcoming buying season.
Current Market Pricing (USD per liter)
Bits and Pieces
Sales trends continue to be mixed. Reported sales through the summer months have domestic wines growing, while imported wines have fallen. Overall, wines total wine sale within the US are basically flat year to date. Hopefully, the fourth quarter (OND) sales will rally with promising results. Domestically, the midpriced category of wines ($10‐20 per bottle) have grown considerably over the past year. This trend is tempered by volume decreases in wines in lower price points. Consumers continue to have many options and choices for their alcoholic beverage needs.
California vineyards continue to see change. Generic varieties, mainly Thompson Seedless, are being removed in the central valley, due to lack of demand and the unsustainable pricing offered this season. In the northern interior and coastal regions of California, there are several new plantings of key varieties, including a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon, throughout the summer. More deliveries are set for next spring. These planting and the ones from the past few years will start to bear fruit next season, 2016 and beyond.