Sherry closed the 2014 season with sales of a little over 36.6 million litres which represents a drop of 4.7% with respect to 2013. Disappointing though this is, the drop is a good bit less than that of 2013 which was 7.5%. Prices have increased, and though this is not a statistic collated by the Consejo (why?), it compensates somewhat for the reduced sales volumes, and the bodegas are moderately optimistic about the future.
The City of Wine celebrations did not manage to stop the decline but they did succeed in spreading the word Sherry. The wines are recovering their prestige and the bodegas, who a few days ago agreed to double their contributions to the Consejo for generic promotion, are witnessing a re- awakening in world markets. Buyers and the media are helping a new type of consumer discover what Sherry has to offer in the form of the dry styles and how well it goes with food throughout the entire meal, something few wines can match.
Sales have dropped by about a half in the last decade, but mainly sales to older consumers in the traditional markets who buy the sweeter styles, which leads people to think that all Sherry is sweet. This is changing, however slowly, and new consumers are beginning to reverse the trend but not enough – yet – to see sales of the better wines grow.
Exports saw the biggest fall in volume last year with a drop of 6.3% to 25.1 million litres, about a million and a half fewer than 2013. The domestic market saw a slight drop of 1% to around 11.5 million litres making Spain the largest market. Despite the vogue for Sherry bars in Britain, sales there were down 7% to about 10 million litres. In Holland and Germany, the second and third biggest export markets, the story is the same, while in the rest of Europe sales plummeted by 14%.
Sherry’s great hope, the USA, is down 2.7% and the Asian market hasn’t grown as much as was hoped, taking only about 250,000 litres (down 20%)of which Japan takes the lion’s share at some 137,000 litres but down 37%.
In terms of style, sales were like this:
Fino: 8.2 million litres, Medium: 8.1, Cream: 7.5, Manzanilla: 7.2, Pale Cream: 2.7, PX: 1.0. The poor old Amontillados and Olorosos together amounted to only just over 1 million, yet Palo Cortado took an upward leap of 22% albeit to only 75,000 litres, perhaps because of the film.