Jérôme Despey: “unfortunately, again, these weather events and nature are going to regulate our supplies!” - 2012-09-24 14:55:07

On Tuesday 4th September, Jérôme Despey, president of the council specialised in wine from France AgriMer, confirmed that the estimated harvest will be low in France for 2012. With 42.5 million hectolitres (against 51 in 2011), we need to go back to 1991 to reach a level as low, due to variations of the weather (frost, hail), millerandage and cryptogamic diseases that affected all the pools.

At the same time, while Spain (40 million hectolitres like in 2011), Italy (36 Mhl against an average of 50!) and the new World as a whole (42 Mhl instead of 50) have also low crops, and while the world consumption continues to grow, as for the prices, “there is no objective reason to have tensions on the market, the situation should rather improve”. For instance, in his opinion, in PGI, the Chardonnay white wines should go up from prices included between 85 and 90€ / hl to to prices ranging from 95 to 100€ / hl, and for the red and rosé, no transactions should be made under 75€ / hl.

These forecastings, which should be made clear in the next days to come with the different French inter-branch organisations in form of price trends, are in sharp contrast with the situation as it was beginning of July, at a time when the trade was encouraging rather the decrease of prices in the light of the stocks from last year, looking at the low retiraisons for instance. These difficulties have been gradually reduced, and the marketers are approaching the production at the moment, which might be in anticipation of low stocks.

Jérôme Despey regrets this situation: “unfortunately, again, these weather events and nature are going to regulate our supplies!” It should be recalled that “in the whole of the segmentation, this industry needs contracting strategies with the main operators, going up to the land affectation, because we need to be able to supervise all the segments. We need to go further than the wine industry management only focusing on the drop of surplus of PDO and PGI to feed the wines without Protected Designation of Origin”. The target is the multi-year contract of Anivin, and only the future will tell whether it is adopted on a massive scale or not adopted.

If the prices increase, they will not go up enough to compensate the reduced crops, “which will lead to tensions in the viticulturists’ finances”, on account of the incompressibility of charges, or even their relative increase, like the huge amount of treatments this year.

Jérôme Despey addressed this issue during his last meeting with the minister Stéphane Le Foll, when he asked for the implementation of tax relief measures on land taxes, social contributions, stock funding assistance (e.g. the relocation through the renting of vathouses), whether public or provided by the banks. Further down the industry, Jérôme Despey does not forecast an increase of prices for the end consumer, “after an increase of 10 to 15% last year”, and according to him, if the traders have very low stocks today, it is not the case of leading retailers. This prompts him again to ask more strategic dialogue in the industry, including also the retailers.