Wine prices ‘could rise by up to 30%’

The price of supermarket staples like Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and entry-level Spanish reds could rise by up to 30% due to the frost-ravaged 2017 harvest.

Last drop: some European producers may run out of wine to sell this year due to the small harvest

According to The Guardian, shoppers may have to pay up to 30% more for popular wines like Pinot Grigio and Prosecco, but this all depends on how much of the increased cost of wine this year supermarkets will pass on to the consumer.

“We’ll start to see the 2017 wines coming to the market now and I think for higher volume, lower price wine you will see cost increases,” Berry Bros & Rudd’s chief executive, Dan Jago, told The Guardian.

“Prices for things like Pinot Grigio or generic Spanish reds will rise by between 10% and 30% and it’s a question of how much of that retailers will pass on. Prosecco was very hard hit by frost, so there will be less of it and the price will go up,” Jago added.

Last year global wine production slumped to a 56-year low following the perfect storm of late-spring frosts coupled with summer heat waves in key wine producing regions like France, Italy and Spain.

Richard Cochrane believes Spanish regions like Toro have a chance to shine this year as they weren’t badly hit by the frosts

According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, global wine production dropped by 8% to 247m hectolitres last year. Production across Bordeaux was down by 40%, with St-Emilion worst hit by the frosts last year.

The situation isn’t much better in Spain, and Richard Cochrane, managing director of Félix Solís UK, is candid about the fact that wine is going to run out.

“The harvest in Spain is down 30% on average and some producers might run out of wine. There is an enormous amount of bulk wine coming out of Spain and it remains the go to place during a wine shortage.

“South Africa is having a tough time with the drought, so the bulk wine from the southern hemisphere isn’t going to fill the void from Europe in the short term,” Cochrane told db.

“Ribera del Duero lost 70% of its crop from the frost, so people are starting to wonder what the last quarter of the year is going to look like. It’s fine now, as people have wine to sell, but producers will have to manage their volumes. It would be a disaster if we ran out of wine at Christmas.

“I’ve had a lot of phone calls and we’re having to choose who we work with, so we’re prioritising our long-term relationships. It will be a testing year for wine businesses that don’t have control over their supply,” he added.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Cochrane believes that the shortage will give lesser-known regions in Spain like Toro a chance to get noticed in the UK.

“2018 will be a defining year for the industry and a time when regions like Toro in Spain find their niche in the UK, as it wasn’t as badly hit as other Spanish regions.

“The name ‘Toro’ is inherently Spanish and I think it will enter the limelight this year. We’re seeing great growth from our Toro wines,” he told db.

“The shortage will mean consumers will have to seek alternatives of wines they usually buy, which is not necessarily a bad thing as it means they will be open-minded about exploring wines from lesser-known regions,” he added.

It’s not only a small European harvest that is pushing wine prices up in the UK. The devaluation of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote has also impacted on supermarket wine prices, which are up by an average of 4% year-on-year.

The WSTA reports that the average amount spent on a bottle of wine from October to December last year was £5.74.

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