Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Price Increases Coming

I hope this does not contribute to the general doom and gloom so pervasive these days, but I feel this warning needs to be shared.
As reported earlier in these pages (2012 Harvest) you should be prepared for potentially significant price hikes based on a significant drop in production across the board in the European Union.  Shanken News Daily says the "price hikes on exports to the U.S. are likely in 2013, especially at the lowest and highest ends of the market."
Notably, Italian pinot grigio bulk prices are up over 20% so look for that segment to become even more expensive that it can already justify.
Burgundy saw harvest amounts "down by as much as 40%" and Champagne had "as much as 30%...destroyed by heavy rains and mildew." Most are not complaining about quality though, so if you can accept the new prices on the shelf for these areas, you will be happy with what's inside the bottle.  The Languedoc's prolific 2011 vintage "will help blunt the effect's of 2012's short crop." [All above quotes from Shanken News Daily]
To temper the confidence of those with wine to sell at potentially higher prices, be aware that Chateau d'Yquem, the storied Sauternes producer, has decided not to produce a vintage.  According to their blog, "Mother Nature was simply too contrary in 2012 to enable us to produce the sort of quality associated with the Yquem name."  Bad October weather is blamed.
That prices will increase for many European wines remains a given.  Whether the confidence of some producers about the quality of the vintage is realistic remains to be seen.

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