If we are absolutely honest, the wine industry has seen better times and has a couple of nuts to crack if it wants to get back on the happy track it has been only recently. Yet, every crisis could also be an opportunity though I appreciate it is not easy to spot in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic and the impact of global warming. We will explain how though in the latest JollyCellarMaster Weekly, together with plenty of other stuff. Here we go:
Planting Vines in Higher Altitudes, Bordelaise Pricing, and Responding to a Crisis
The Only Way Is Up? Wake Up, Stupid!
Last year, I had a conversation about the effects of global warming, in particular on the future of Pinot Noir in the alpine climate of South Tyrol. The region that I nowadays call home has the potential to plant at higher altitude and in fact, it does. Currently, the vineyards have reached a height of 1200 meters above sea level. However, the question that came up during that particular conversation is whether that would still solve the issue for Blauburgunder, as it is called here. While higher vineyards may benefit from cooler temperatures – the difference of every hundred meters depending on pressure is somewhere between 0,6 and 0,9 degrees Celsius – it also results with a shorter ripening period. Something Pinot Noir heavily depends on if it is to achieve its typical elegance we cherish so much.
Yet, in research recently published the verdict is that areas most suitable for viticulture are likely to shift into higher altitudes due to climate change. As published on The DrinksBusiness, the conclusion is that sites where viticulture is characterised by short growing seasons or low summer temperatures are expected to get progressively warmer under future climate conditions, allowing for a wider selection of cultivars to be reliably grown.
At the same time, current premium grape producing regions may suffer major reductions in quality due to a projected increase in temperature and lower water availability, the scientists showed.
It is a very interesting read, which basically just confirms many of the outcomes we already knew. Still, the mist important message to take away from it is the emphasis that if we don’t act now, it will be too late. Not that we haven’t heard that before and barely seem to have changed our behaviour, but as the saying goes: constant dripping wears away the stone, so eventually we might get it.
Bordeaux Futures – The Race is on!
It’s that wonderful time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about the pre-Christmas season. I am talking about the release of Bordeaux future prices. The Wine Spectator has dedicated a page on the subject, which is apparently continuously updated with new releases from wineries about their future allocations published.
The whole thing started when Château Pavie, Cheval-Blanc and Léoville Las Cases released their first tranche of 2021 futures during the third week of May. Ever since it has been a game of keeping tabs on which winery has raised prices compare to the past and which has drop them by a notch or two. 2021 what is a challenging year has the vintage was not easy with heavy frost drastically reducing yields. Fungal diseases in the summer added to the woes and now we I’m looking at an uncertain economic outlook following the war in Ukraine and the ongoing Covid pandemic.
The article compiles the data of the most important châteaux and though it is still early days, a comparison with past information and the one we already have, makes for some interesting reading. For the full picture, however, we will need a little more patience.
A Blessing in Disguise?
Well, that might be a little bit of an overstatement. But every crisis also is an opportunity, they say. That is the gist of an article published on the wine searcher last week. As we keep talking about the pandemic the war in Ukraine and rising inflation, the wine sector like most economies of the world are under considerable stress. The article describes the past year as a rollercoaster ride: on the positive side of things, global wine consumption increased by 4 percent in volume, and by 16 percent in value to $36.15 billion last year, according to the OIV stats. On the downside, the factors mentioned above pose a serious threat to this trend.
Yet, we try to stay positive and as I said, attempt to see this as an opportunity. That is also what the article proposes and gives a number of examples of wineries and their response to the crisis. These range from shortening the supply chain to get a better grip on it, to investing in technology to become more sustainable and as a result lower the cost of production.
As always, only time will tell whether these measures pay off, but I’m always in favour of being active rather than sticking your head in the sand hoping the storm will blow over. And I like the positivity, of course, so keep it up and best of luck!
Alright! That’s all for the week in general terms. However, if you have an interesting story to tell or simply want to chat about wine as a guest on the Podcast, connect on Twitter or drop me a line. And if you want to stay in the loop about things happening at the JollyCellarMaster and the world of wine, make sure you sign up to our newsletter.
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