Here is a reason to continue to support those boutique California wineries
|Although the supply side started to increase its prices in April, the challenge at the end of the year is to position prices so that they allow the shortfall to be managed whilst also future-proofing markets.
– Photo credit : BIVB
Rationing is an attempt to overcome the insoluble equation between strong demand and limited supply. “It’s challenging. Since the beginning of the year, overall sales of Burgundy in general and Chablis in particular have picked up, in France and non-EU export markets (Canada and the United States)”, comments Louis Moreau, vice-chairman of the Chablis committee at the Burgundy wine marketing board (BIVB). The board registered an increase of 20% in volume shipments of Burgundy white wines over the first 8 months of the year compared to January-August 2019 (before the Covid pandemic). “Conversely, we are experiencing an historically low harvest. Since June, we have been applying the brakes so that we can manage volumes until the end of 2022, or even the beginning of 2023”, says Moreau.
As an inevitable consequence of the pressure on volumes, initial prices soared in Chablis – the first transactions doubled in price overall, though admittedly bulk volumes are low. Must traded at €1,200 /hl (compared to €550-600 /hl last year) and the 132-hl ‘feuillette’ has reportedly risen to €1,400, compared with €700 to 750 in 2020. “These are impressive figures, but we are comparing two exceptional years: market uncertainties sparked by the pandemic in 2020; and the combined effects of a small harvest and strong demand in 2021”, explains broker Fabien Remondet. With initial sales difficult to assess effectively due to the lack of significant volumes, Remondet stresses that “the market is under pressure, but people are waiting to see what happens. Until official harvest figures are released – on 10 December – there are no real trends”.