Weather continues to be a highly influential factor affecting the bulk wine and grape markets in several countries, as has been the case during the past eight to nine months. Throughout April, multiple regions suffered dry spells, high winds and even hailstorms, creating a more unpredictable market.
Grape crops also seem to be coming in lighter than last year in South America, Spain, Australia, and other regions, according to Ciatti Global Wine and Grape Brokers’ April 2019 Global Market Report. Meanwhile, Brexit was among the buzz at the second London installment of the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in mid-March but the United Kingdom wine trade seems to be “staying calm and carrying on” despite the uncertainty.
The Southern Hemisphere
One of the grape source regions that is finally experiencing ideal harvest weather is Argentina. After a cool March delayed the bulk of the harvest for about two weeks, the grape quality is good, although the quantity this year is appearing to be less than last year. As a result, international interest in Argentina’s 2018 wines is increasing, and the market features highly aggressive pricing open to negotiation. However, the high inflation rate estimated for 2019 and recent gas and gasoline price hikes are putting economic pressure on growers and wineries.
In nearby Chile, the harvest is coming in slower and smaller than expected. Harvests for both white and red varietals appear to be down significantly compared to last year. For instance, high quality Cabernet is down by as much as 40 percent. A few weeks remain in the harvest, though, and demand for both white and red wines from Chile is increasing.
The European Outlook
Southern France experienced a moderate rainfall last month, leading to hailstorms, the damage of which is still being assessed. The markets for 2018 whites and rosés are active, though, with buyers snatching up batches that are available because of canceled reservations or non-exercised options. Vin de France or IGP rosé is in particular demand, and now is the time to buy.
Spain also experienced welcome rainfall after an unusually warm, dry winter. Even still, the 2019 harvest is likely to be smaller than in 2018. The prices for good quality wines are more likely to increase than decrease, so domestic and international buyers should be reviewing their sales, assessing their needs and preparing to move onto the market quickly.
The main April event in Italy was preparing for and hosting Vinitaly in Verona from April 7 to 10. The international wine competition featured an eclectic mix of wine professionals – including importers, distributors, and international buyers – along with the general public. Because of this event, the Italian wine market didn’t experience major changes throughout April.
South African Markets
In South Africa‘s Western Cape, bunches and berries are coming in lighter than normal because of adverse weather events – including the three-year drought that ended in mid-2018. Wine pricing for 2019 continues to be steady and robust, with little expectation of prices softening. The region is lacking carryover stock from 2018, deterring interest from international buyers, and there are indications wine sales on the domestic retail market have fallen back.
Australia and New Zealand
As the 2019 harvest draws to a close in New Zealand and Australia, tough weather conditions, such as extreme heat and hailstorms, have led to reduced yields. As a result, buyers are seeking excess stock from the past two years to compensate for the shortfall. Despite smaller yields, though, the grape quality is still good. Market prices have increased, but many overseas buyers remain committed to their Australian programs. In particular, China and the United Kingdom remain loyal and significant markets for Australian wines. Others are switching their supply source to Chile or Spain.
Now is a prime time for international buyers interested in a California wine program to move onto the market, although interest in California grapes and wines has been tentative over the past month. Buyers are trying to get a better understanding of the market. Wine prices, although comparatively high from a global perspective, are at their lowest in the past five years. Meanwhile, the market boasts a number of high quality wines of several varieties, not only from 2018 but also 2016 and 2017, meaning suppliers may be eager to move their inventory ahead of the 2019 harvest.
Spring has been the backdrop for several international wine events – including Vinitaly, ProWein, and the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show. Meanwhile, harvests are underway or even concluding in several countries. For a more comprehensive look at the wine grapes and bulk wine markets across the globe, download the full April 2019 report or sign up to receive free monthly reports by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.