Monday, 22 July 2013

22.7.13 Sherry Stock Situation; Lustau Win More Medals

Production in Jerez has swung from an alarming excess to an alarming shortage, aggravated by grubbing up and abandonment of vineyard and a very small 2012 harvest – one of the smallest in history. This could lead to supply shortages in the short to medium term.  The harvest for 2013, which is predicted to be 25% bigger or around 60 million kilos will only provide a short term relief.

This harvest should provide about 60,000 butts, but 80,000 are needed for estimated sales, leaving a deficit of 20,000, meaning that there could be shortages in about 3 years as stock works through the system. It is a major worry, and an analysis of the situation will shortly get underway to find ways to combat the situation.
It had been thought that that the supply and demand balance had been restored, but now it looks as though the grubbing-up was excessive. 10,000 hectares were reduced to 7,000 – almost one third of the vineyard was lost. This was not helped by the poor state of some vineyards caused by the poor economic situation of growers. Action is needed soon.

The vineyards need an integral plan and producers need to discuss the future. Even with the 500 hectares which are now back in the Denominacion de Origen after being used for trials of complementary products, it is estimated that if the next harvest is normal, there will be 75,000 butts, leaving a deficit against sales of 5,000. The cumulative effect over 2012,13 and 14 will therefore be 55,000 butts, or 27 and a half million litres. Meanwhile, bodega stocks have been reduced by 20% over the last three years, from over 400,000 at the end of 2011 to the 315,000 with which it is hoped to end this season.

All available information needs to be put on the table, particularly the state of the vineyards which are theoretically in production but which give low yields for lack of husbandry over recent years. They need to be recuperated, work which takes time and no small financial investment. The bodegas need to clarify their future requirements, in fact everyone in the trade needs to work together.

Lustau’s capataz, Manuel Lozano has won the International Wine Challenge “Best Winemaker” for a record fifth time. Lustau won 35 medals: 12 gold, 14 silver and 9 bronze. Manuel has been the Lustau enologist since 1999 and he looks after the vineyards as well as the 22,000 butts in his care, which he regards as his children. A modest man, he “wasn’t expecting this, as the standard improves every year”, and thanked his team at Grupo Caballero.

Manuel with judge Charles Metcalfe

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