Could be, could be

Bordeaux wine production plummeted 40 per cent in 2017 due to frost – but will prices rise?

Depends upon substitution.

If people demand Bourdeaux and only Bourdeaux then yes, a reduction in supply will lead to a rise in price. If people are willing to substitute across a wider variety of drinks then, well, difficult to tell. Depends how much they’re willing to substitute.

At that point, with substitution, the question is wide open. If the same problems which led to the fall in supply also mean that what remains tastes like rat piss then substitution could be greater than the fall in supply, leading to falling prices.

17 comments on “Could be, could be

  1. Assuming that there is a fixed supply of the substitutes, because it’s too late to plant some more vines, won’t the price of those rise?

    I suspect the answer is that in the grand scheme of the things the Bordeaux shortfall will amount to a rounding error of a rounding error in the world’s wine market.

  2. There’s plenty of gluggable stuff coming out of S America and Oz nowadays, and once we’re out of the EUSSR it’ll be cheaper, too. I must confess to liking my bottle of St Emillion of a Sunday lunch though.

  3. Chinese buyers like claret. So not much substitution for them. Sensible peeps stopped buying it a while ago.

  4. “Assuming that there is a fixed supply of the substitutes, because it’s too late to plant some more vines, won’t the price of those rise?”

    The vines didn’t die due to frost- late frost just killed opening buds, meaning yields were lower. Quality not affected, might even be better. Next year Bordeaux should be back to full production assuming no repeated problem with cold weather.

  5. Well it really depends which bit of Bordeaux you are talking about. If we talking about the rarified world of the Classed Growths then price will mostly depend on the quality of the vintage. Low yields will effect the price in that if it is a good vintage they will increase the prices more than they would have done with larger yields – and if it is a poor vintage then they won’t decrease them as much as they might have.
    But this is a different world to the vast majority of wine grown in Bordeaux. The number of rich people in the world who want the best wines has grown rapidly over recent years and supply is necessarily restricted. However the lakes of generic Bordeaux that are produced have to compete with the modern globalised wine world.
    So whilst the grape growers may try to increase prices, these raises are likely to be swallowed by the middlemen – the negociants and agents – and the bottle on the table is unlikely to rise in price. The battle for market share is tough enough at this price level (think £8-15 per bt) for even slight price rises to make a big difference and vintage quality at this level barely matters to consumers

  6. ” I must confess to liking my bottle of St Emillion of a Sunday lunch though.”
    Must say, my wine snobbery has been somewhat curbed by discovering one of the more renown labels actually grows back of a Total service area in the diesel fumes from the autoroute.

  7. We had a decent Barossa Shiraz at the weekend. We have an NZ Merlot waiting to be tried. We are short of Argie Malbecs at the mo’: any tips? Also, any tips for Coonawarra Cab Sauvs?

    Insofar as I reasonably can I’m planning to boycott EU wines. Except Madeiras, of course.

  8. Dearieme

    Bad move. Don’t boycott Spain. It is right now the most interesting wine country in the world. (At least, that’s what Parker apparently says). We have an amazing variety of wines and the quality has risen enormously. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of wineries producing really good and different wines at prices that the French can only dream of.

    Ok the top end is going up, but in the range €8 to €30 per bottle, one life is not long enough to try them all.

    But hey, more for me if you carry out your boycott 🙂

  9. Try Viña Alberdi (Rioja Alta). You can find in the local supermarket between €9 and €11.50. Stunning value for money.

  10. Thanks, bb, and thanks to CM too. We don’t drink a lot so we’ll go about a tenner a bottle (but prefer it with money off). A couple of £6 bottles should give us carte blanche to try a (say) £15 one, though it’s rare that we do. But there is a wonderful NZ chardonnay that we had a couple of years ago ….

  11. @bb There was always great quality in Spanish wine, there’s probably less rotgut than there used to be. Top end Riojas have always been easily able to hold their own against top Bordeaux bottles priced with one (or even two) extra noughts.
    I used to take bottles of Castillo Ygay to French friends – blew their socks off. And Albariño with no label (and no duty paid) in reused sherry bottles. on sale in every little shop in Galicia (that was 25 years ago, don’t know if it still goes on :)).

  12. @dearieme If you like your Argie Malbecs, give Hey Malbec by Mattias Riccitelli a try – very exciting wine maker and a great intro to his wines – £10.99 in Majestic.
    Dona Paula make a great value Malbec for about £11
    Coonawarra Cab Sauv – Berton make a good ‘reserve’ but its about £15 but difficult to fine anything here at the £10 mark

    @bilbaoboy is absolutely right about Spain. Some of the most exciting and best value wines in the world. Well worth exploring

  13. @ Chris Miller
    Malbec is not really comparable to a *good* Claret any more than Muscadet is to Sauternes. When I was introduced to Cahors, before it got commercialised I really enjoyed it but I didn’t offer it to dinner guests.

  14. @ Chris Miller II
    Yeah, good Riojas are better value for money – something I learned from my mother-in-law! She has Spanish friends who provided her with good-quality Rioja.

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