What was previously hinted at in the forecasts has now been confirmed: Argentina has experienced one of its smallest wine harvests in recent decades. The National Wine Institute (Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura) reported a total harvest of approximately 1.448m tons, of which about 1.427m tons were processed into wine. In comparison, last year's harvest volume was around 2m tons, according to data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).
The principal reason for this diminished harvest is a late frost, which struck between late October and early November 2022, resulting in harvest losses of up to 70% in certain regions.
Alejandro Virgil, President of Wines of Argentina, expressed an optimistic view on the quality of the small 2023 vintage during an interview with Decanter. He stated, “We had an early harvest with low yields but with unprecedented balance between the malic acidity, pH and ripeness. We’re very optimistic about the wines we’ll be making this year." An unusually hot summer concluded the harvest about three weeks earlier than normal. However, temperatures dropped significantly in February, making the climate during harvest rather cool.
At the end of May, the Ministry of Social Development rolled out a support package of $500m for smaller vineyards (less than 10 hectares) that were impacted by the harvest losses.
Argentina is currently grappling with an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation rates. To safeguard its exports, including wine, from the adverse effects of the falling Peso, the country introduced a so-called "Soy Dollar" in the spring of 2023. This currency is pegged at a fixed rate to the US dollar.
Despite these measures, no international market prices for Argentinean bulk wine have been established in the past six months. These prices are expected to be determined in July 2023, and given the smaller harvest, it's expected that the quotes will be higher. VM