As I sat down to write this weeks blog it occurred to me that over the last few weeks I have been bombarded with all sorts of changes about the wine business, some of these are good and some are not so good for those involved. Nevertheless this could be really good for the consumer and provide some great variety.
The worst news is for the poor old French and the weather, worse than ours! The French Ministry of Agriculture have announced a loss of crops due to the weather conditions. This is at a time when French wine production was due to hit a record 44.1 million hectolitres (around 60 million bottles) per annum. Despite this some regions have been severely affected. This has been caused by frost in Champagne which has been followed by mildew (down 32%). The same for the Loire Valley with a further 32% loss. This has affected our Pouilly Fume and Coteaux du Giennois. Burgundy and Beaujolais have been hit by frost but avoided the mildew, down 23%. Bordeaux and the Languadoc-Roussillion fared much better with a 1% reduction in their crops. A bad year for the French, I feel that this may see a price hike for specific wines but I think there will be enough in the rest of the world!
Great news for English Sparkling Wine as it hits £1 billion in sales and is due to overtake Champagne in volume and with the quality right up there this is great news for the English and more bad news for the French. There are also around 5,000 hectares available for planting more vines, which bodes well for the future. We know from our own sales that the Winbirri Vintage Reserve Brut far outsells the Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne, both are really excellent and Gosset has a really good following in France but of course is much more expensive.
Some good news for the Austrians as the spotlight is on these vineyards as judging for the European awards in underway. The first issue for the consumer, is getting our tongues around new grape varieties like Zweigelt, Rotgifler and Gumpoldskirchner. The second is that the new Austrian Winemakers have some great new ideas. We have a stunning Merlot Eiswein and other wines coming to our website soon from Johanneshof Reinisch Vineyard in the Thermenregion of Austria so keep an eye on the web site!
The elephant in the room in any wine company or at any event is Brexit. It is just a big unknown at the moment and is likely to have a major impact on the cost. The pound is down against most currencies by around 10%, and whilst some suppliers have passed the additional costs onto the consumer most have not done so yet and are hoping to keep prices at their current level until after Christmas. It is far to early to speculate on what trading will look like in the future but one thing is certain, there are so many great wine producers in the world that Warlingham Wines will be featuring great wines in the future and at great prices, remember ‘We do not sell cheap wine, we sell great wine cheaply”.