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ProWein Trade Fair Overview
By Marc Cuneo

ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany continues to grow and become the preeminent gathering of wine producers and industry trade for the world market.  A couple of changes that were recognizable this year compared to last year were the greater attendance among all producers all various regions. Even more impressive, was the growth of the California wine producers that were in attendance.

We were able to have key meetings with our partner brokers from Europe, South America, Australian and producers that we have worked with in the past.  Here are some of the highlights from those meetings:

  • Chile – Larger bulk wine volumes going into the 2014 harvest put downward pressure on price for Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines. Also, some sellers were motivated to move wines for space prior to harvest.  Due to frost the 2014 Harvest has been a challenge for yields for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay being 20-25% down over past years.  Cabernet Sauvignon yields have also been down 15% to 20% vs typical yields.  The lower yields have stimulated some market activity and as a result prices have climbed from the pre-harvest pricing set a few months ago.
  • Argentina – Currently going through a challenging harvest with both rain and hail affecting the crops.  There are some concerns about reaching ideal ripening.  Producers have larger volumes of dry red and generic varietals which they are more motivated to sell.
  • Australia:  The 2014 crop was ok on volume and our broker partners felt the balance of demand to supply meant that the market would be steady for the 2014 wines.
  • Spain – Large volumes of 2013 dry red and dry white are available.  This is primarily due to the fact that the 2013 harvest was larger than the lighter than average 2011 and 2012 harvests.  Base quality Spanish bulk wine has been able to compete on price, however some of the wine has been quality challenged.
  • France and Italy – Both have fairly balanced inventories of bulk and are focusing on growth in higher price-points and quality levels for bottle goods for export.
  • New trends – There was a lot of discussion on the growth in the low alcohol table wine category.  This includes wines that would be under 10% alcohol.  Another talking point was the value price point for wines that can claim to be organically grown.

In general, there was a feeling of confidence from most sellers throughout the world.  Producers feel they will be able to sell bulk and bottled products for sustainable prices going into the 2014 calendar year.  Questions and concerns were raised about the expected size of the 2014 California harvest as well as the opportunity for continued growth amongst U.S. wine consumers.

Overall, it was a great experience to attend the ProWein conference. If you have any further questions regarding our travels abroad, please give us a call.

Marc Cuneo

Marc Cuneo