October 7, 2014
Below is an overview of the Bulk Wine Market outlined by region. Call us early to get an update on how the 2014 harvest will affect the market for the wines of interest to you. There are some great opportunities of wines available for sale. Also, the earlier we understand your position the greater our ability to offer more solutions.
North Coast Bulk Wine Market Overview
Written by Marc Cuneo & Steve Robertson
Napa: There continues to be strong demand for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, however we observed some slowing as harvest approached. More 2013 bulk wine could arrive on market post-harvest. Highest quality or best value lots are receiving the most interest from potential buyers. We still have active buyers looking for wine; recent sales have been in the $28 to $30 per gallon range.
Sonoma/North Coast: This area has the strongest demand in the state for quality and value. There are low quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon available and we are not predicting large gallons to become available after harvest. The 2014 crop will most likely not bring many extra gallons to the bulk wine market either. Excess in the rest of the state for Cabernet Sauvignon is the only factor that could soften price or demand. Even though there aren’t many gallons for sale, new buyers continue to enter the market looking to fill Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon programs. Recent sales have been in the $15 to $17 per gallon range for Lake and Mendocino and $20 to $22 for Sonoma County.
Pinot Noir- Sonoma/Napa: We have seen a softening of price, while demand remains moderate. The clients who are going to purchase are the “Just-In-Time” buyers that are entering back into the market for more wine. Recent sales have held at the $17 to $18 per gallon range for high quality 2013 Sonoma County lots.
Merlot – There are not an excessive amount of gallons of Merlot actively for sale; however the supply is in excess of demand. Buyers sourcing for Napa Valley Merlot for varietal programs are ready to make purchases now. Strong demand for North Coast and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon has hepled move some Sonoma County and North Coast Merlot. Large winery buyers have 2014 Merlot from grapes and some of those wineries will be sellers. Price will likely soften.
Chardonnay – The large 2014 crop will most likely put downward pressure on prices of bulk wine from all regions of the North Coast. Most of the gallons actively for sale are winery owned. Based upon the deals our Bulk Wine team is working on with growers, we don’t predict there will be many grower owned gallons of 2014 wine offered for sale in bulk. Wineries will try to sell 2013 case goods and adjust inventory by listing 2014 wine in bulk for sale. Lake and Mendocino County Chardonnay could see the largest softening in price due to large inventories of Sonoma County, Monterey County and Northern Interior wines.
Sauvignon Blanc – Demand for Sonoma County and Napa Valley 2014 bulk wines may be soft because of vintage 2012 & 2013 wines that are still in the casedgoods market. We have some early interest in Lake County lots.
Zinfandel – A lighter crop might position bulk wine inventory actively for sale into balance. Our Bulk Wine team has had some new buyers for Zinfandel at the right price, but demand is still soft.
Interior Bulk Wine Market Overview
Written by Michael Robichaud
Most of the large California wineries went into harvest with larger inventories than normal. Due to new acres and reasonable yields on existing acres they also have a good supply of 2014 wine in tanks. Demand for bulk wine is softer which may result in downward pressure on bulk price.
Most likely prices will continue to soften for Cabernet Sauvignon and premium blenders. Due to the increase in supply of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and generic blenders will continue to be a challenge to sell in the bulk market.
Due to lighter yields on 2014 Zinfandel, we may see fewer gallons offered for sale in bulk next year, but still predict supply will be in excess of demand.
The bulk market for Chardonnay and most whites will continue to be slow.
2014 Pinot Grigio bulk wine will be active but also price-sensitive. If you have bulk 2014 Pinot Grigio for sale, let Turrentine know right away!
The continued supply of quality wine at attractive prices typically spurs innovation, new brands and labels that could improve the market.
Central Coast Bulk Wine Market Overview
Written by William Goebel
Recent activity in the Central Coast has been slow for all varieties on the bulk market and that trend has sustained through harvest. The 2014 crop is similar in size to 2013, adding more challenges to selling 2013 bulk Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
Chardonnay: We have 50 lots or approximately 750,000 gallons of 2013 Central Coast Chardonnay actively for sale, about 270,000 gallons are from Santa Barbara County and 180,000 gallons from Monterey County.
Pinot Noir: We have over 50 lots listed or approximately 340,000 gallons of 2013 Central Coast Pinot Noir that need a home. Most of the bulk wine Pinot Noir available is Monterey County, but still about 100,000 gallons is from Santa Barbara County.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Demand for 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon has been hot and cold this year, with buyers coming into the market early with different price expectations than sellers, creating a disconnect that could not be bridged. Buyers then focused inland and north on sourcing Cabernet, while waiting out the Central Coast market. A few months later buyers entered the market again, secured the few truckloads they needed and left before the end of summer. Currently, there are about 40 lots listed for sale, or approximately 580,000 gallons of Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. Most of the demand from bulk buyers for Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is specifically for Paso Robles.
Merlot: In the Central Coast, Merlot saw an early uphill struggle during the 2013 harvest when wineries and custom crush facilities were not interested in discussing available Merlot grapes. We have a saying here around the office, “If you are having a hard time selling your grapes, we will most likely have a hard time selling the bulk wine.” In 2014, there were only a few completed spot market deals for Central Coast Merlot. 37 lots are available totaling 478,000 gallons are currently offered for sale.
Turrentine Brokerage is looking for a stellar performer to join our high-performance Bulk Wine Team. If you or someone you know may be the right person for this exciting position send an email to: Joy@turrentinebrokerate.com.
Download (PDF, 334KB)
September 30, 2014
Turrentine Harvest Update: September 30th, 2014
Sonoma County – Mike Needham & Alicia Kump
- Majority of Pinot Noir has been picked. Overall, the Pinot Noir yields came in slightly lighter than expected
- Chardonnay is about 60-70% picked; the Chardonnay left is mainly in the cooler areas (Russian River, Coast, etc.). Sonoma County should be finished with picking most of Chardonnay end of this week. Crop is picking out similar to 2013 so far. No ill effects of the rain as of yet.
- Red varieties have started harvest. Merlot yields have come in as expected.
- In the hotter areas (Dry Creek, Alexander Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon has started and picking out as expected or slightly under. Most Cabernet Sauvignon still ripening in the cooler areas of Sonoma.
- Overall, 2014 has been an EARLY harvest. Chardonnay harvest usually wraps up mid-October so we are still trending a week to 10 days earlier than normal.
Napa Valley – Mike Needham & Alicia Kump
- Crop still appears to be above average for most varieties.
- White varieties are expected to be finished picking this week.
- Currently in the middle of picking reds. Depending on the grower, they’ve had larger than expected yields for certain varieties.
- In hotter areas, Cabernet Sauvignon has started to pick and yields have been at expectations.
- Similar to the last 2 years, wineries will continue to take excess Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mendocino County – – Mike Needham & Alicia Kump
- Crop yields are still below expectations.
- Reds have started to be picked (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot), majority will be picked in the next couple weeks.
Lake County – Mike Needham & Alicia Kump
- Earlier season than normal, some areas are up to 3 weeks earlier.
- Started with Sauvignon Blanc beginning of August and began picking reds first week of September.
- Crop appears to be slightly lighter than expected.
For all North Coast areas, we have had a long growing season. Spring was warm, summer hot, thus a lot of degree days that have encouraged the vines to keep growing. Growers with water have been proactive on their irrigation schedules to help mitigate the effects of heat.
South Valley – Erica Moyer
- Madera Grape Grower: “in all my life, I have never finished picking grapes in September, let alone the third week in September.”
- Harvest is about a month ahead of 2013, with only a few grapes left to pick. Crop is less than 2013.
Lodi/Delta – Erica Moyer
- Red harvest is in full swing. Brix are high and so is quality.
- With the rain last week harvest hit the pause button only for a day or two.
- Yields in older vineyards are “average” at best, while younger vineyards are yielding slightly above expectations.
- Harvest is expected to wrap up in 3 weeks.
Monterey County – Erica Moyer
- Chardonnay harvest is just beginning and looks to be slightly above estimates.
- Pinot Noir yields are coming in as projected, which is strong.
Santa Barbara County – Audra Cooper
- Harvest is nearing completion in Santa Barbara County.
- Many Chardonnay blocks came in at or below expectations. Overall, Chardonnay appears to have been an average year in Santa Barbara County.
- Pinot Noir was once again a large crop, but by many reports smaller than 2013.
San Luis Obispo County – Audra Cooper
- Paso Robles is roughly 50% complete with harvest; the next 10 days will likely bring the area closer to 75% complete if tank space permits.
- The Paso Robles crop continues to be variable. Some blocks have come in as light as 40% below an average crop yet others have come in at average or above average yields.
- The lightest yielding varietal thus far has been Merlot.
- Cabernet Sauvignon crop is very difficult to gauge due to a lack of uniformity throughout the region; however average at best has been a common description. That being said, there are a few blocks here and there that have reported excess fruit.
September 16, 2014
Turrentine Harvest Update: September 16th, 2014
North Coast: Mike Needham & Alicia Kump
- Sparkling: Started in Napa Valley at the end of July, which is earlier than last year by 10 to 14 days. Yields vary depending on region from light to average.
- Overall crop yields appear to be similar to 2013 or above estimates.
- Sauvignon Blanc is almost done, yields above estimates.
- Napa Valley Chardonnay, yields picking out above estimates.
- Cabernet Sauvignon clusters appear to be sizing nicely. Most brix are in the low 20’s currently.
- Overall, yields have been inconsistent for varieties already picked. Some growers who had large 2012 and 2013 are under estimate if they didn’t water enough or fertilize. Those who irrigated regularly and fertilized have similar yields to 2013 or just below.
- Pinot Noir crop appears to have more clusters than last year but smaller cluster and berry size. Pinot Noir is about 15-20% picked.
- Chardonnay vineyards located in cooler areas such as Russian River and Sonoma Coast are about 5% picked.
- Wineries have started picking Chardonnay in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley; yields have been inconsistent.
- Wineries have scheduled Merlot and other red blenders to be picked, which is about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than 2013.
- Mildew pressure has been high in Sonoma County during the summer months. Mildew has been an issue for certain varieties (Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Merlot) if growers weren’t regular on their spray programs.
- Cabernet Sauvignon clusters look good, Brix are around 21-22 degrees in Sonoma County.
- Overall, Mendocino County is picking out 10-25% lighter than 2013 on all varieties so far.
- Chardonnay has been picking out lighter than expectations.
- Cabernet Sauvignon harvest is underway and crop size is slightly below expectations.
- Sauvignon Blanc yields looked lighter than expectations.
- Cabernet Sauvignon yields are same as 2013 for the amount that has been picked so far.
Monterey/San Benito County: Erica Moyer
- Monterey Pinot Noir harvest has begun, 2 weeks ahead of 2013. Quality and Yields look great!
- Chardonnay harvest should begin in a week in Monterey; yields expected to be average to average plus.
- Chardonnay and Pinot Noir yields are below 2013 in San Benito County.
Lodi/Delta: Erica Moyer
- Chardonnay and Pinot Noir harvest is wrapping up. Yields were up for the Delta and down in Lodi, for the most part.
- Zinfandel is half the crop as last year.
- Merlot, same yields as 2013.
- Cabernet Sauvignon harvest has started. Expected yields are down from projection, mostly older vineyards, where some young vineyards are picking out at to above estimates.
Central Valley: Erica Moyer
- Rubired, normally harvested in October is being harvested in September.
- Overall, yields are down 20-50% on all varieties from 2013 due to water and heat stress in parts of the Central-Southern Interior.
- Stanislaus-Merced County yields are average, with some above average yields for Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir.
- Young blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon yields are expected to be at estimate or above.
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County: Audra Cooper
- Chardonnay yields in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County are close to estimates.
- Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County has once again produced a larger than average crop and once again could be hovering around a historical high, harvest is likely to be done in 10-14 days.
- Merlot yields in Paso Robles vary from below average to average. Merlot continues to be harvested in Paso Robles and will likely be closing in on 50% completion by next week.
- Overall, the numbers of clusters are there for a large crop but the cluster weights are not.
September 2, 2014
Turrentine Brokerage is looking for a stellar performer to join our high-performance Bulk Wine Team. This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys building profitable, long-term relationships with key players in the supply side of the wine business. The right candidate will have great people skills, lots of wine business knowledge, attention to detail and a willingness to always put the client’s interest first. If you or someone you know may be the right person for this exciting position at the heart of wine business trends, send an email to: Steve@turrentinebrokerage.com. All inquiries are held in the strictest confidence.
Download (PDF, 292KB)
August 22, 2014
Brian Clements, Vice President here at Turrentine Brokerage has posted his latest article, titled “Purchases of North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon active as harvest begins” for the North Bay Business Journal. To read the entire article, please click on the link below.
(Article originally published Monday, August 18, 2014)
August 18, 2014
Written by Steve Fredricks, President
On August 14th, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released their 2014 crop estimate for wine grapes of 3.9 million tons, down 8% from 2013. However, intelligent supply decisions cannot be made using the projection because the crush will not be 8% down on every variety in every region. An excess of French Colombard from Merced cannot substitute for a shortage of Cabernet Sauvignon in Lake County, so why should the industry pay attention to the total tons crushed projection? The NASS is diligent in researching these numbers, but the number needs to be put in perspective. Overall statewide total tons are the combination of roughly 120 different varieties planted across 17 districts with differing vine spacing, trellis systems, viticultural practices, weather patterns, and most importantly this year, access to water. Varietal based projections and market information for the regions (including competing regions) that are vital to your business are exceptionally more valuable.
Turrentine Brokerage has been advising clients on specific market dynamics for over 40 years. Our reputable market analyses in publications and public speaking focuses on both the short and long-term market dynamics of specific varieties in various regions throughout California.
Potentially increasing the overall crop size for 2014; newly bearing acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat varieties continue to produce more fruit in the San Joaquin Valley as they mature as well as fruit from newly bearing acres of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir in Sonoma and Monterey Counties. In Sonoma County, the Pinot Noir crop has also benefited by converting from cordon to cane pruning, which has stabilized and improved yields and formed a line of defense against various diseases, such as Eutypa. In Napa Valley the early results on Chardonnay picked for sparkling wine are above estimates. Projections for Chardonnay yields in Sonoma County and Monterey County remain optimistic. The weather is also currently mild, which may aid in cluster weights.
Potentially decreasing the overall crop size for 2014, a warmer earlier growing season has impacted the yields on early season varieties. The impact of drought has placed downward pressure on yields in many parts of California, most specifically the Southern San Joaquin Valley and the Paso Robles regions. Other regions have escaped major impacts from lack of water, so far. Even in the most drought impacted regions water management has been varied: for example, some growers chose to water their highest value varieties while others left land fallow in order to irrigate established vines and trees. Reports from some early harvesting in the south San Joaquin Valley were of a 50% reduction in yields on fields not irrigated and a 15% to 20% reduction in yields on the fields irrigated normally. The outcome of varied water management choices makes it even more challenging to assess what the overall wine grape supply will be. The disease pressure has been more severe in parts of the San Joaquin Valley and some regions of the North Coast resulting in a few rejections at wineries in the San Joaquin Valley.
Individual specifics for the crush this year are too numerous and varied to write in a single update and are going to be changing weekly as harvest progresses. Turrentine brokers are talking to clients and walking vineyards every day, discussing the progress of harvest and analyzing the effects of supply on the market for grapes and bulk wine. Call your Turrentine Broker to discuss the specific market conditions and how the upcoming harvest will affect the varieties and regions vital to your company.
For more information on the current bulk wine and grape market, click here.
Steve Fredricks, President
August 4, 2014
Wine Industry Network recently endorsed Turrentine Brokerage in their Supplier Spotlight. To read the entire feature, please click on the link below.
July 10, 2014
UC Davis Extension and the Department of Viticulture and Enology is hosting their annual OIV Wine Marketing Program. Michael Robichaud, Bulk Broker here at Turrentine Brokerage, will be presenting at the Grape Supply & Economics of Production seminar. This two-week program focuses on the economics of production and marketing grapes and wine in the United States.
For program details, click HERE.
June 18, 2014
Older Posts »
Steve Fredricks, President here at Turrentine Brokerage was recently interviewed by Paul Franson of Wines & Vines. Steve discusses the latest publication of the Turrentine Outlook in an article entitled, “Turrentine Forecasts Shortage of Sonoma Cab”. (Article originally posted June 16, 2014). To read the article please click here.
Steve Fredricks, President