Numbers, numbers, numbers – data is the currency of the 21st century and wine is no exception. So it seems, as more updates on the results of the harvest in the southern hemisphere popped up everywhere last week. Data is also vital for the digital transformation the wine sector has to undergo whether we like it or not. But it will help solve key problems of the industry and we will, of course, talk about this and more as part of this latest edition of the JollyCellarMaster Weekly:
Provenance is Key, Bringing in the Crop, Plus The JollyCellarMaster Elsewhere
Around the Southern Hemisphere in 80 Seconds
Being surrounded by vineyards where the dormant vines only recently have awoken from their well-deserved rest, one forgets that people elsewhere are buy bringing in the work of the growing season. On the other side of the globe, vintners have been busy with the harvest for the past weeks. Now, is the time to tally up and present the first results on whether it’s been another good year or not.
Going from west to east, here is a little summary, starting with Chile where producers have experienced “a challenging year in terms of climate“. The historically severe drought of the previous season continued and there is no end in sight as further water scarcity in the future looms large, Decanter writes. Nonetheless, winemakers are pleased with the quality of the grapes they have obtained, which is also backed up by the early fermentations. Particularly, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere have seen an incredible year and the white varietals are very promising as well despite low yields.
Hoping across the Andes, the general verdict in Argentina is that it is a vintage of “wines with excellent ageing potential“. Beyond that there appears to be little unity in terms of common results as each region happens to tell a different story Mendoza started with water shortages due to little snow in winter, followed by several severe frost events. The result were damages to yields of as much as 25% in some areas and 10% across the province on average. San Juan had its own weather issues with frost and hailstorms, while the Calchaquí Valleys, home to Argentina’s white signature varietal Torrontes, had a good year all around. Further south in Patagonia it was mixed bag with some frosts again, but by now you get the picture.
Uruguay saw “a changeable year” with different outcomes depending on region and variety, but the general conditions can be condensed to a dry season followed by concentrated summer rain. One specific statement from a producer though, namely that 2022 was a year when climate change made itself felt, seems to be applicable around the world in one way or another. For the wines, this means that we should see fragrant, vibrant whites and fresh reds with a more easygoing concentration than usual if first predictions pan out.
On the other side of the world, New Zealand continues its roller coaster ride as production has been up and down in recent years. With total volume of grapes harvested in 2020 at 457,000 tonnes, it saw an 11% rise from 2019. In 2021 then was production volumes down 19% to 370,000 tonnes. That in turn created a shortage in the sought-after wines by a minimum of 63 million litres. 2022 looks to bring a return to previously levels with the positive current outlook for the current vintage. Final numbers for the harvest are set to be released in mid-June, but initial outlooks are promising.
Yet, it is important to remember that it is still early days and it will take plenty of time until we have reliable numbers from some regions as discussed last week. Still, a good overview of initial results, wouldn’t you agree?
Enabling an Extended Consumer Experience through the Tokenization of Wine
Last week, the JollyCellarMaster or rather his alter ego got mentioned elsewhere. Writing about nothing less than extending the consumer experience, I was a co-author for an article at Meininger’s Wine Business International, describing that while tokenization of assets such as wine is still in an early stage of its development, it is already of increasing economic importance. A topic that is very dear to me together with the market of fine wine, there is more to come shortly. This, however, looks to me, in my very humble opinion, to be an excellent start if you want to know more about Blockchain in the Wine Sector and how Tokenization of digital and physical assets can solve some of the challenges in the wine industry. Together with a colleague we have been following closely some of the cases that are emerging at an increasing rate and will continue to do so. Stay tuned!
Authenticity and Provenance as Key Factors for Success
And talking about solving the issues of the wine sector through digitalisation and the use of innovative technologies, it was good to read about how resolving provenance and transformation challenges will ultimately deliver sustainability for South African wine.
Naturally, I myself wouldn’t limit this statement to the wines from the Cape and beyond, but it makes for a very interesting use case and underlines what we just said in the previous section. Authenticity and provenance are key factors for a successful strategy of a wine industry as competition becomes even fiercer; differentiation is the only way forward if you do not want to drown in a growing number of exchangeable products that are hardly identifiable.
The article on Wine SA describes the dilemma of its industry in the way that there is often a provenance challenge when it comes to South African wine. Products from certain regions wereregarded as more authentic and would therefore be more revered and able to command better pricesas a consequence. The text is a promotion for a course at Cape Town University, which I’m not affiliated to (as always, the disclaimer below applies), but it provides for a good example of an existing challenge that can be solved through tokenization. Want to know more? Well, check out the article mentioned above and make sure to check this space as there is plenty more to come soon on this exciting topic.
Well, that’s all for the week in general terms. In the meantime, 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.
Disclaimer: As always, I’d like to be completely transparent about affiliations, conflicts of interest, my expressed views and liability: Like anywhere else on this website, the views and opinions expressed are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. The material information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. I endeavour to keep this information correct and up-to-date, I do not accept any liability for any falls in accurate or incomplete information or damages arising from technical issues as well as damages arising from clicking on or relying on third-party links. I am not responsible for outside links and information is contained in this article nor does it contain any referrals or affiliations with any of the producers or companies mentioned. As I said, the opinions my own, no liability, just thought it would be important to make this clear. Thanks!