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Warm spring temperatures and spring showers are a making for happy vines but canopy growth does not equal more clusters. The cluster counts are a reflection of last spring where cooler, grey weather dominated the spring for an extended period of time. These factors are not optimal conditions for fruitful bud differentiation. The result, mostly single clusters, blank shoots and very few doubles. As Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were going through bloom, there was a week of strong winds. Hopefully, 2016 will have a better set than 2015.
Vines are happy everywhere! Sunshine, warm temperatures, followed by a few showers and maybe a hail storm, or two. No hail or frost damage has been reported as of yet but the impact of the showers during bloom for crop set is yet to be determined. Crop size and bunch counts depend on the age of the vineyard. Newer plantings are feeling their youth, lots of clusters moving through bloom. Where older vineyards are struggling with an average crop, mostly singles and a few doubles. We are seeing some elongated clusters with wings, mostly on the younger blocks.
San Joaquin Valley
A few spring showers, along with warm temperatures make for good growing conditions and also the increased potential for powdery mildew. There are no big surprises in crop size, large or small. However, the spotty regional downpours may affect the set in some vineyards. The younger vineyards have the horse power for a good crop and the older vineyards (if still in the ground) are trying to maintain an average size crop.
Written by Audra Cooper
Although we are not overly excited in Paso Robles, we are pleased to see a potential for an average to maybe slightly above average crop if it sets and sizes for Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Merlot, and some of the other reds. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, however, do not look as solid. That being said it is still very early and although we would like to forget just how light the 2015 crop was, it is still very fresh in our memories and this time last year we did not know it would be as light as it was. Fingers crossed we get an average crop in Paso Robles; however, we still have bloom, set, and sizing to go.
Southern San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
Despite starting off with some very early crop estimates at above average, we’ve had many growers, but not all of them, throttle back their estimates a touch on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On Chardonnay specifically, there is a decent amount of singles. As with any crop this time of year, it is still anyone’s guess. At the moment there is concern regarding the weather patterns we are having and the effect it will have on bloom. The Central Coast is no stranger to damaging winds this time of year. This week was certainly calmer than the previous two weeks, but May is often a windy month for our area.
Written by Mike Needham
The 2016 vintage has started early again. Bud break in all areas of the North Coast is near the same date as last year. And for most growers 2015 was the earliest harvest they have ever experienced. The earlier varieties are anywhere from 15% to 50% bloom currently. The current weather is not exactly what growers would hope for at bloom. The North Coast has experienced unsettled weather patterns with showers and overcast days during the beginning of bloom.
The potential crop at this point seems to be very hit and miss, depending on where the vineyard is located and what variety you are growing. Some vineyards have 2 clusters per shoot and some have single clusters or blanks. Age of vine and cane vs. spur pruned vineyards, are showing differences in potential crop for 2016. The short term outlook for weather is projecting warming up without wind, which will be a welcomed change. Time will tell how the area fairs with set, as both wineries and growers are hoping for a more fruitful year.]]>
The beginning of the year has brought a lot of change to the market for broad California appellation or interior wines. Last year at this time the majority of bulk wine sellers in the world were feeling that inventory was a liability. Now due to the challenges of harvest, as outlined in the International market update, sellers are generally feeling inventory may be an asset again.
Bulk demand has remained consistent and growing for quality wines, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and high color red blenders such as Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. Clients are buying for growing varietal wine programs targeted at higher retail price points. Recent sales of Cabernet Sauvignon have been in the $6.50 to $8 per gallon range. California appellation bulk wine gallons for actively sale for all vintages and varieties have dropped from 11 Million gallons one year ago to 7 Million gallons today. Inventory has been decreasing as a result of bulk market sales and gallons going back in house for existing bottle programs. There is still very little bulk demand for dry red or dry white programs at the super value bottle price point.
Pinot Noir from the Interior remains in strong demand especially for the highest quality lots. As a result, buyers are agreeing to production contracts for 2016 and beyond. Recent sales of 2015 Interior Pinot Noir lots have been in the $7 to $8.50 per gallon range.
Interior Chardonnay demand is moderate, which is an improvement from last year. Buyers are in the market because of continued slow growth in cased goods sales, but also because the Coastal crop was so short in 2015. It is important to remember Chardonnay is still the largest single varietal and accounts for approximately 20% of all cased goods sales and consumer sales continue to grow.
The market is still challenged for older vintage Merlot, Zinfandel, or older style blenders. Merlot, Zinfandel and traditional older style blenders, Carignane, Alicante, Rubired are directly competing with newer available gallons of Petite Sirah and Peitit Verdot, which are preferred for adding color and intensity to a blend.
North Coast: Written by Steve Robertson
Although there is a strong bulk market for Cabernet Sauvignon from all North Coast regions, Napa Valley wines remain king. In Napa Valley, gallons actively for sale are decreasing but supply of 2014 and 2015 continue to become available, so make sure you are on our list to see new lots. Asking prices have continued to escalate and just may have peaked. As asking prices have increased, more buyers are slowing down their purchases or backing out of the market. Recent sales of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon wines have been in the $40per gallon range and reserve quality or sub appellation have been in the $55 to $65 per gallon range. There are very few gallons of Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon available and demand continues to exceed supply. Recent sales have been in the $25 to $30 per gallon range. This strong market activity means wines are only on the market for a few days. Lake County and Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon volume actively for sale is down and recent sales are consistently in the $18 to $20 per gallon range. We have plenty of buyers interested in the remaining gallons, but $20 per gallon asking prices seems a bit too Buyers high at this point. Some buyers are hoping the market will soften and others are looking at options from other regions to maintain price points.
Demand for dark red blenders in the North Coast has increased and recent sales have been in the low to mid-teens per gallon.
Pinot Noir in Napa Valley and Sonoma County continues to sell quickly when available and priced right. Asking prices have increased and buyers remain more conservative in chasing
Pinot Noir at a high price vs. Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Supply remains limited.
The selection of Chardonnay available from all North Coast regions including Sonoma County is not very extensive. We continue to advise buyers to not assume it will be available. Sonoma County recent sales have been in the $18 to $20 range.
Central Coast: Written by William Goebel
Activity remains steady in the Central Coast for 2014 and 2015 bulk red wines, but continues to be slower for the whites as we move into the second quarter. Cabernet Sauvignon continues to be a focus for most buyers, but availability and asking prices above $20 per gallon are holding the market back. Recent sales of Paso Robles lots have been in the range of $18 to $20 per gallon and other Central Coast appellations have been in the $14 to $17 per gallon range. Buyers are also actively sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon in other regions to make up for volume they did not get in 2015 or because they are priced out of the current bulk market in their desired area. Merlot has seen a very slight bump in interest due to the limited supply of cost-effective Cabernet Sauvignon for price sensitive programs, but demand continues to be directed at darker red varieties such as Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Recent sales of Merlot have been in the $8 to $10 per gallon range and some good opportunities are available.
After coming off large harvests in 2013 and 2014, most wineries are feeling more balanced in their supply of Central Coast Chardonnay even after the below average crop of 2015. Gallons actively for sale are down and there are not as many buyers in the market. Recent sales of Central Coast Chardonnay have been in the $13 to $16 per gallon range.
In summary, the markets are dynamic and every client has a different need, so please call and talk to your Turrentine Broker to get an update on the dynamics that are most important to you. With our broad base of understanding and experience in the market, Turrentine Brokerage will come up with creative ways to help you, even in challenging markets.]]>
Last year, my conversations with our strategic partners around the world centered on when the market was going to turn around and when buyers would need to buy bulk wine again. Today those conversations are about how we are going to find the volume that bulk wine buyers most likely will need. What a difference a year makes!
It is true that consumer sales of value priced wine are still soft, but global supply actively for sale is decreasing and bulk prices are increasing. What happened? The wine business is agriculture, and Mother Nature continues to hold the high cards. In 2015, tons crushed from California’s coastal regions were down, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent from 2014 depending on variety and region due to an elongated bloom during inclement weather which resulted in lighter cluster weights.
Internationally, supply has reduced as well and new acres being planted have virtually stopped. In Argentina and Chile, the 2016 harvest is almost complete, but has been plagued by rains and yields per acre are reported to be down 20 to 50 percent. Quality of 2016 wines is a concern, and the large U.S. based brands have already secured any 2015 wines that were for sale. Some wineries have also withdrawn wines from the market. Asking prices have increased for the 2016 wines, and some wineries are reluctant to quote prices until they are finished with harvest to assess inventories.
In Australia, due to perpetual low prices for excess grapes and bulk, growers and wineries have removed around 34,000 hectares since their peak in 2008. Meanwhile, exports of Australian wines have rebounded from a combination of new free trade agreements, increased marketing efforts globally, and weak currency resulting in increased demand for bulk wine. As a result, bulk actively for sale is down and bulk prices are on the rise. The 2016 harvest in Australia is complete and yields per hectare appear to be average and of good quality.
European inventories of bulk wine are also down due to smaller harvests and continued sales growth.
In summary, bulk inventories around the world are much more aligned to global demand than last year at this time. There are still great import opportunities and choices, but the market is changing. Be proactive and call us for more specific information.]]>
Bryan brings more than 30 years of experience within the wine industry with a number of high profile wine companies, including Sales Management roles with The Wine Group, Seagram Chateau & Estates, Kendall Jackson, and Constellation.
He is a Chico State Alumni and resides in Sonoma County with his wife and three children. With Bryan’s established communication skills, he is already a proven and recognized asset to our team.
Bryan is based in Sonoma County and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and 707-849-9948]]>
Prowein in Dusseldorf, Germany continues to grow. In order to accommodate about 1,500 more wineries and countless more visitors, the show moved to a whole new set of buildings in the expansive Messe Center. Prowein is now being housed in 9 separate buildings each seems to be the size of the Sacramento Convention center, and all 9 are filled with wine producers from every region of the world. The scope is still overwhelming even after attending for a number of years now. For me to survive Prowein 2017 I will need some new shoes! The event affords me the opportunity to meet with most of our international clients and to get a face to face update on the bulk market from our strategic alliance partners from Europe, South America and Australia.
My take away from Prowein this year is the optimism of sellers; similar to the optimism of California wineries. Globally, wineries are excited about consumer trends above $10 per bottle in the United States and are working hard to try to sell more wine there. Wineries also continue to see positive market demand in the Scandinavian countries and parts of Asia. The optimism is not just buoyed by the consumer trends, but aided by lower bulk inventory levels and support of weaker currencies in Europe, Australia, and Chile vs. the US Dollar.
Europe’s bulk inventories are more in balance. Inventories of low priced generic and valued priced wine, which were a drag on the market the last few years, are down. It continues to be easier to find more commercially appealing and modern styles of wines from Bordeaux, Languedoc, central and southern Italy, and all of Spain can compete with new world style wines.
As the 2016 harvest finishes up in Australia, the end result is a crush with close to average yields per acre despite varying weather conditions and excessive heat at the end of harvest. According to our strategic partner Jim Moularadellis of Austwine, a crush with average yields per acre two years ago would have meant a surplus of wine compared to sales, but the removal of acres has brought bearing acres down to the same level as ten years ago. Export sales have also grown with the benefit of weak currency and the combination has resulted in stronger bulk prices and fewer liters actively for sale.
Jaime Lagos of San Nicolas Wine Services described a very challenging harvest in Argentina caused by very wet conditions. Bulk supplies are likely to be shorter for generic red and white and quality may be tougher to find. In talking with Eduardo Bentjerodt of San Nicolas Wine Services, the 2016 crop in Chile is just getting started for Sauvignon Blanc and projections for the crop are to be 10% to 15% below normal. The main red wine for color blending, Tintorerra, is in short supply and bulk prices have increased. The projections for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay are expected to be average in yields per acre and overall volume. There are still 2015 wines available and prices have firmed for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, but are still fairly attractive.
Give Turrentine a call if you are interested in any specific market information for bulk wines or strategic brand bottled wines. We have established relationships which can help source great quality wines from suppliers who can back it up with great customer service. I have already begun the search for my new shoes for Prowein next year.]]>
Please click the link below to see our full analysis of the 2015 Crush Report:
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