Ciatti Report: Hope and Hurdles in the Bulk Wine Market

The global bulk wine market heads into the second quarter of 2024 seemingly more fluid than it has been for months, with some good activity levels on particular wines, some price rises, some price falls, and some supply shortages.

Reading time: 2m

Mixed outlook: some price rises, some price falls (Photo: DALL-E)
Mixed outlook: some price rises, some price falls (Photo: DALL-E)

Areas of activity

Chile has received an uptick in international demand for its white varietal wines and Chinese demand for its red generic wines. California has experienced a small uptick in small-volume demand on a range of bulk wines. Demand for southern French non-vintage Vin De France wines is high due to lack of supply – and higher prices – in Italy and Spain. South Africa is struggling to meet demand for at least some wines as the 2024 harvest is coming in short. Some markets – such as Argentina, Italy and Spain – are mainly slow because of buyer perceptions that prices are elevated. There is buyer interest, but it is price and volume-sensitive amid what remains a fragile global economy. 

Chinese tariff removal close

There have recently been strong indications that, in the coming days or weeks, China will repeal its import tariffs of up to 218% on Australian wine, levied since March 2021. Consequently, there is a hope in other producer countries that the draining of some ultra competitively-priced Australian red wine into the Chinese market will help stabilise red wine demand and buyers’ pricing expectations globally. However, Chinese demand for all international wines has been on a rapid decline in recent years and the country’s economy is currently struggling.

White wines back on track

White wines continue to be in a better supply-demand balance than reds, globally, but demand pressure was starting to weaken in the second half of 2023. Availability was higher than normal at the turn of the year: even high-quality varietal whites such as New Zealand’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc were struggling to find a home. However, demand has picked up on Chile’s white varietals in recent months so that 2023 whites are finally becoming sold out. In South Africa, where carryover stock is negligible, signs of a second-consecutive short harvest have paused the market while wineries wait to see if they will have enough white wines to fulfill new orders.

Short crops in the south

All of the major Southern Hemisphere producer nations expect harvests below average in size this year – potentially no bad thing for the health of the wine business as a whole given the current global supply-demand imbalance. It is a mixed outcome for growers battling squeezed margins: fewer grapes potentially mean a reduced income but also perhaps the ability to seek higher grape prices in turn. But for that, there needs to be a firm stabilisation in global wine demand which will only come once there is concerted macroeconomic strengthening across Europe and North America. 


Identifying sourcing and selling opportunities that provide margin and cashflow in these challenging times, and building positive buyer-seller relationships for long-term business sustainability: 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.


Demand is picking up in some areas, but the majority of prices have not (yet) changed since the last survey.

Reading time: 45s



Latest Articles