Ciatti Report: Better Bulk Wine Demand

The global bulk wine market has experienced its second consecutive month of more normal activity levels following the acute slowness of 2023. What has been the driver and does it mean a corner has been turned?

Reading time: 1m 45s

Shortness of white wine drives the bulk wine market (Image created by Anja Zimmer using OpenAI's DALL-E)
Shortness of white wine drives the bulk wine market (Image created by Anja Zimmer using OpenAI's DALL-E)

Generic whites in better balance

Much of the activity has been driven by generic white wine because of its apparent shortness in Spain, Italy, Chile and South Africa. Italy’s short 2023 harvest severely limited supply, driving up demand and prices there and in Spain. This in turn increased European demand for Chile’s generic whites just as 2024 crop expectations in northern Chile – a significant generic white-producing region – are pessimistic due to severe drought. South Africa, meanwhile, is on course for its shortest harvest in over 20 years, constraining its generic white supply just at a time when domestic demand is positive.

Chinese boost to reds

The global red wine market remains slower than the white wine market. The big news for red wines came at the end of March, when China finally ended the 200%+ import tariffs on Australian wines it first imposed in 2021. China-based and domestic enquiries into Australia’s generic reds and other reds immediately increased. If Australia’s red wine export pricing subsequently rises, prices in other countries may, in turn, appear more attractive to buyers. 

Short Southern Hemisphere crops

All of the major Southern Hemisphere producer countries – Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – are heading for harvests shorter than the average, owing to a combination of climatic issues, vine removals, and uncontracted vineyards not being maintained. Whether because of Mother Nature or human hand, the global bulk wine market is getting the Southern Hemisphere crops it needs to restore some supply-demand equilibrium – at least on the white wine market.

A corner turned?

Shorter 2024 Southern Hemisphere harvests, combined with the return of China – still a significant consumer market – as a buyer of Australian wine, helps create the appearance of better bulk wine demand versus 2023. But it remains questionable how sustainable this appearance will be if the 2024 Northern Hemisphere crops perform average or better, all the while North American and European consumption remains subdued. With the US and Eurozone economies staggering on, and the UK technically in recession, it still appears unlikely that 2024 will bring the concerted momentum in retail sales required to boost wine industry cashflow and confidence.


Identifying sourcing and selling opportunities that provide margin and cashflow in these challenging times: this is where Ciatti can bring its decades of knowledge and experience to bear. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for the very latest wine and grape market intelligence and pricing.


The impact of low harvest volumes is beginning to be felt in the Spanish bulk wine market.

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