After two small harvests, grape prices in Provence have more than doubled over the past two years and one producer has hinted at a possible Provence rosé shortage this summer.
Speaking to the drinks business during Vinexpo Bordeaux earlier this month, Philippe Marion, sales and marketing director of Barton & Guestier, said:
“The hardest aspect of making rosé in Provence at the moment is getting hold of the right grapes – availability is a big issue this year.
“There is high demand for grapes and over the last two years we’ve had a couple of low crops in Provence, so grape supply is an issue and grape prices have increased off the back of it.
“Grape prices in Provence have more than doubled over the space of two years – Grenache, Syrah and Cinsualt from Provence all sell for around the same price. Everyone is putting their wine prices up in Provence after two short harvests.
“Those price increases are being passed on to the consumer and rosés that used to be priced at around US$12.99 are now selling on the shelves for $18, but we’re finding that some people don’t trust the quality of rosés under $US20.”
Barton & Guestier’s winemaker, Laurent Prada, told db that he welcomed the grape shortage, as it meant there was no danger of being left with too much stock from the previous vintage to sell.
“We actually welcome the current grape shortage in Provence as it means that we’re releasing our Provence rosé stock slowly and carefully.
“It’s important to manage your rosé inventories as it’s a young wine that needs to be sold quickly – you don’t want to flood the market and leave people with stock that they can’t sell – that would be game over,” he said.
“The fragility of rosé could limit its long-term success. It’s a wine that needs to be drunk within a year, so we don’t want to make more than we can sell. In America they want the wine from that year on the shelves in time for Christmas,” he added.
Provence is now facing increasing competition on the rosé front from other French regions such as the Languedoc and Rousssillon, along with the likes of Italy and Spain, all of which are keen to emulate its delicate pale pink style.
“Rosé currently accounts for 10% of our total production, but that figure is growing. It could get to 20% but it’s dangerous to put too much of a focus on one thing,” Prada warned.
“Rosé is enjoying incredible growth in France – in three to four years it will be a bigger category in terms of volume sales in France than white wine,” he added. An in-depth focus on the global success of rosé will appear in the June issue of the drinks business, published in early June.