Inventories tided Rhone Valley over after small 2017 crop

Thursday July 12 2018 by Vitisphere

Philippe Pellaton, on the microphone, was re-elected in December 2017 for an additional 3 years.Philippe Pellaton, on the microphone, was re-elected in December 2017 for an additional 3 years. - Photo credit : Juliette Cassagnes

The 2017-2018 Côtes-du-Rhône regional appellation sales campaign was marked by a short crop last year, dropping from 1.47 million to 1.17 million hl, a 20% fall. “We were nearly 300,000 hl short from the 2017 vintage”, explained Sébastien Lacroix from InterRhône's economic department.

The harvest shortfall prompted companies to tap into their inventories of “old” vintages from 2016 and even 2015, a "rather unusual" occurrence. Ex-cellar shipments, particularly of bulk wines, were dynamic - they were 6% higher from August-April 2018 than in the previous year. Projections to the end of July show that final inventory levels could weigh in at around 780,000 hl, equivalent to 7 months’ sales which is relatively low. To compensate for the low yields, individual supplementary volumes were also used by the winegrowers who had it at their disposal: 41,000 hl of wine were thus "re-injected" back into the Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Rhône Villages appellations this year.

A campaign marked by dynamic bulk cellar releases

The small harvest also had the effect of pushing up average bulk prices quite significantly. The price of red Côtes-du-Rhône for instance rose from €138/hl last year to €165/hl at the end of May, i.e. +20%. The same was true for Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Another indicator is the price brackets into which contracted volumes are divided: the two brackets that emerged in 2016-2017, €125-130 and €135-140, have disappeared. In 2017-2018, volumes revolve much more around a single, higher price range of €160-170.



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