Coopers suffering from trend for unoaked wines

10th July, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

The global trend for unoaked wines is hitting coopers hard; with one barrel maker admitting to 20% sales loses over the last four years.

Barrel sales at Vicard are down 20% on five years ago

Barrel sales at Vicard are down 20% on four years ago

Sales at Cognac-based barrel maker Vicard Tonnelleries have fallen from 50,000 barrels in 2008 to 40,000 barrels last year.

“In 2008, 3% of the world’s global wine production was aged in barrel, now it’s just 2%, so we’ve lost 33% of the market,” Pierre Marchais, marketing director of Vicard told the drinks business.

“The trend at the moment is for fruit forward wines that are designed to be drunk young, which isn’t working in our favour,” he added.

To combat the problem, Vicard has developed a sophisticated toasting system where clients can order barrels made to their desired level of toasting.

“Our lightly toasted barrels are doing really well as the presence of oak is very subtle in the final wine. It’s great to be able to offer this service to clients and is proving the most popular barrel style,” Marchais told db.

“With fewer wines being aged in oak, in order to survive as a cooper you have to be flexible and able to offer alternatives,” he added.

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