Bloomberg News

French Red Wine Prices Climb to Highest Since at Least 1995 (1)

December 06, 2013

French prices for bulk red wine advanced for a fifth week to the highest since at least 1995 as two years of below-average production squeezed supply.

The price of bulk red and rose wine without a geographic indication rose to 68.52 euros ($93.56) per 100 liters (26.4 gallons) last week from 67.98 euros in the prior period, data published online by crop office FranceAgriMer show. Prices rose 21 percent from 56.50 euros a hectoliter at the start of August and are up 5.5 percent from the same week a year earlier.

France last month cut its estimate for the volume of the 2013 vintage for a fourth time after grape rot at harvest added to losses from hail and poor flowering. Wine volume is seen expanding 2.4 percent from 2012, when production was the lowest in 40 years, still 6.8 percent below the five-year average.

“These price levels are due to the small volumes available at the start of the season compared to demand, particularly for rose wines,” Laurence Gibert-Mesnil, a spokeswoman for FranceAgriMer, wrote in an e-mailed reply to questions before the report dated yesterday.

The crop office doesn’t have prices before 1995. It’s “implausible” that prices were higher before then, the spokeswoman said.

Wine Production

The Agriculture Ministry forecasts wine production in the country to rise to 42.3 million hectoliters (1.12 billion gallons), down from an initial July outlook for the volume of the 2013 vintage to jump 13 percent to 46.6 million hectoliters.

Bulk wine prices had dropped toward the end of the 2012-13 season from a February peak amid expectations for a bigger harvest in France, the world’s biggest wine exporter by value.

“Stocks of wine without geographical indication have declined significantly,” Gibert-Mesnil said. “The 2013 harvest looks to be low in terms of quantity and was late in many regions. Because some operators seek to secure volumes at the start of the season, that pushes up prices.”

The cost of bulk whites without geographic indication jumped to 80.16 euros a hectoliter from 76.99 euros the previous week, up 18 percent from the start of August and 16 percent from a year ago, according to FranceAgriMer data.

Prices of red and rose wine with a protected geographic indication and mention of the grape variety fell to 76.11 euros a hectoliter from 76.93 euros a week earlier, up from 75.31 euros at the start of the season. Costs for white wine with the same criteria rose to 90.17 euros from 88.88 euros last week.

Trade in red and rose wine amounted to 241,316 hectoliters last week, while 333,065 hectoliters of white traded, according to FranceAgriMer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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