Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Harvest

As it is Beaujolais Nouveau season, it seems appropriate to quickly mention the effect the 2012 harvest will have on prices.  France had one of the smallest production years in a half century with some appellations harvesting thirty and even forty percent less than in 2011.  The quality appears good, so no panic needs to begin.
Beaujolais and Champagne were particularly hard hit and you should expect some potentially significant price increases during 2013.  I'm guessing most Champagne houses will try to hold pricing through the holiday season and then make adjustments in January.  You may want to lay in a few extra bottles or consider some great sparkling options from elsewhere: Gruet from New Mexico, Roederer Estate from California and Graham Beck from South Africa to name a few.  There are also some great buys in France outside of Champagne, like Cremant d'Alsace.
After a few short harvests in a row in California, growers finally saw an increase in tonnage, about 12% according to Shanken News Daily.  While that is happy news, don't expect any price decreases since many vintners have not reflected the higher price for grapes due to the continued lackluster economy.

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