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NZ predicts Sauvignon Blanc shortage

News of an upcoming Sauvignon Blanc shortage has been confirmed by New Zealand Winegrowers as the 2015 vintage is almost one third smaller than last year.

23,000 hectares of Marlborough’s total land area of 28,000ha are planted to vines, leaving little room for the region to respond to a rising global demand for its distinctive wines made from Sauvignon Blanc

Due to a cool spring, which affected fruit set in vineyards, particularly the country’s flagship Marlborough region, this year’s vintage totalled 326,000 tonnes – down 27% on the record 2014 vintage.

Commenting on the result, Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers said, “Given the smaller vintage and the rising demand of New Zealand wine overseas there will be a shortage of vintage 2015 wines, notably Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.”

News of a forecasted shortage in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc had already emerged earlier this year, when Mark Holness, drinks buyer at British hospitality purchasing firm Beacon, said that a smaller harvest in 2015 would place supplies “under strain” and lead to price increases later this year.

His warning came just days after Roberto Cremonese, export manager of Bisol, warned that there was a very real possibility of a global Prosecco shortage this summer.

“The double whammy of a possible Prosecco and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc drinks drought will mean fans of both wines having to spend more this summer to access their favourite bottles”, said Holness.

Meanwhile, Ian Morden, estate director at famous NZ wine brand Cloudy Bay had also warned db of possible price increases, pointing out that reduced supply and increasing demand were pushing up grape prices of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which in turn will effect the brand’s future pricing.

“With an average [UK] retail price of £22, we are one of the highest value wines in the UK market, but I do see prices going up as the natural scarcity starts to kick in – our last vintage was low yielding,” he said.

He also said that the situation was unlikely to ease in the future due to the lack of available land in Marlborough for vineyard expansion.

“It has become very clear that Marlborough is not infinite – of the region’s 28,000 hectares, 23,000ha are planted, and the remaining land is not of interest to us in terms of the style of wine it would produce,” he said.

As previously reported by db, around 72% of all New Zealand’s harvest is accounted for by Sauvignon Blanc, while almost 77% of the country’s tonnage comes from Marlborough.

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