Adding to the quietness this year is the slowness of wine sales at retail through 2023 amid inflationary pressure on consumers.
White wine weakness
Experiencing good international demand are Chile’s 2023 varietal white wines (Pinot Grigio is already running low) and Australia’s (Chardonnay is quickly becoming allocated). But while we have become used to the bulk white wine market outperforming the red market, there are signs of weakness. Good volumes of 2023 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay remain available in South Africa; a 2023 crop just 6% smaller than 2022’s record vintage has softened pricing on New Zealand’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc; Spain still has 2022 varietal whites to sell. The white wine-producing southwestern areas of France are potentially on track for their first good-sized crop in three years, just as new plantings bear fruit and demand from the Cognac industry has reduced.
Except for the central and southern growing areas of Italy (suffering from mildew amid frequent rain and humidity) there are currently no market-moving alarms emanating from the Northern Hemisphere vineyards. But with bulk wine supply long from a global perspective, many buyers focused on other matters anyway. The Italy page of July’s Ciatti Global Market Report summarises it well: “Lower consumer sales of wine, elevated input costs and interest rates, reduced cashflow, and less credit, are likely to hurt those companies eking by on little to no profit – and such companies make up a large proportion of the wine industry around the world.”
“Get greedy when others are fearful.” (Warren Buffet)
However, for those with the financial ability to – in the words of Warren Buffet – “get greedy when others are fearful”, now is potentially a moment of opportunity. The slow market pace has led to some downward-trending prices, opening up excellent price and quality opportunities. Some of these are multi-year, on items that become available only rarely. Some might assist with the pressing need to innovate and communicate with younger consumers, at a time when demographic change is seeing wine’s share of alcohol consumption decline. The cut-through of new wine brands – or re-energised old ones – could be greater at a time when competitors have lowered their voices.
For the very latest bulk wine and grape opportunities, get in touch with Ciatti direct. The broker team can combine its many decades of experience with the most up-to-the-minute intel to identify growth.