The World’s Most Expensive Champagnes


1. Boërl & Kroff Brut Barging to the top of the list with an average price tag of $2809 per bottle, this wine comes from a collaboration between a cork maker, a web marketer and Michel Drappier of the eponymous Champagne house. Made with grapes from three small vineyards comprising less than a hectare of land, it’s the kind of Champagne you expect to be expensive and it doesn’t disappoint. The average price is the bottle equivalent, as it is only available in large formats.
2. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay A reliably expensive wine from a legendary house, this was top of the list last year. This blanc de noirs comes from a tiny (.67ha) Pinot Noir vineyard and so far only four vintages have been released. The critics love it, obviously, and the average price ($2383) has actually fallen in the past five years. Bargain!
3. Boërl & Kroff Rosé A blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir and made in the saignée style, this also is available only in large-format bottles, so be prepared to pay roughly twice the average bottle price of $2067. That said, if you want to try the range without breaking the bank, there’s a Boërl & Kroff B de Boërl & Kroff Brut available for a tasty $296.
4. Dom Pérignon Plénitude 3 Brut This is down from #2 last year, but it still heads up a quintet of Dom wines on this list. The Plénitude series involves releasing a vintage in tranches and the Plénitude 3 is released some 20-30 years after vintage, so you can understand the $1632 price tag.
5. Dom Pérignon Plénitude 3 Rosé It’s nip and tuck on the list between this wine and its Brut stablemate, even though the Rosé didn’t feature on last year’s list, due to insufficient available vintages. This year it has rectified the omission and lands squarely in the middle of the list with an average price of $1550.
6. Dom Pérignon Œnothèque Rosé This was Dom’s aged vintage release before the Plénitudes turned up and there’s still quite a bit of it available. The critics love it and the $1097 average price tag reflects that. That price is unlikely to go down, either, as they aren’t making this label anymore.
7. Krug Clos du Mesnil This blanc de blancs style wine is made from Chardonnay grown in a single, walled vineyard that has been planted since 1698, so you’d expect this to carry a hefty price tag. It’s down two places on the list from year, but the price has crept up to four figures, resting at $1052.
8. Dom Pérignon Reserve de L’Abbaye Another mark on the board for Dom, with a rare wine that has become somewhat more visible in recent years. It has fallen from fourth place in last year’s list, but has also – surprisingly – fallen in price, from an average of $989 to $981. Not much, we know, but every little helps.
9. Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 Rosé Younger than it’s P3 stablemate, but this still gets a decade longer on lees than the standard vintage Dom, so price is always going to be a factor. However, at $799 per bottle on average, this wine has only jumped by $40 or so in the past year.
10. Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Française Blanc de Noirs It would hardly be a Champagne article without the family-owned house of Bollinger and this, the top offering, is made from two blocks of pre-phylloxera vines. With a production run of around 3500 bottles, the $775 average price tag is actually pretty reasonable.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh


Vintage Champagne: a Dying Breed?


As Champagne houses concentrate on prestige cuvées, what is the future for the vintage stuff?
In December 2014, sparkling wine expert Tom Stevenson pronounced prestige cuvées “dirt cheap when compared to the crème de la crème of Bordeaux and Burgundy”.
Indeed, while $350-plus dollars for a bottle of 2002 Krug may hardly seem “cheap”, a similar search for the 2002 vintage of Petrus (a difficult year in Bordeaux, unlike Champagne) puts things nicely into perspective.
But if prestige Champagne continues to represent good value when compared to top-end Bordeaux, then Pol Roger’s 2008 vintage must surely be the bargain of the century. For less than $85 you’re getting a hell of a lot wine for your money. “It offers an intoxicating combination of purity, richness and complexity,” gushed one excited critic.
Moreover, unlike some cru classé Bordeaux, Pol’s latest vintage offers both immediate pleasure and the capacity to improve with age, so depending on your patience and inclination, it’s the epitome of a win-win situation.
The inimitable writer Hugh Johnson has been making this point for decades. “Vintage Champagne offers some of the best value in the region,” noted Johnson in his Pocket Wine Book. “The quality is often only slightly below the deluxe cuvées, but the price is nowhere near.”
This was confirmed by a recent visit to Reims, where the best of LVMH’s enviable portfolio was laid bare for a prolonged session of sipping, sluicing, slurping and spitting. Naturally, our group loved the 1990 Krug – who wouldn’t? – while 1985 Dom Pérignon was utterly exquisite; toasty, rich and decadently concentrated.
However, what continues to resonate in my mind is the incredible pleasure-to-price ratio of the Moët vintages. Often disregarded and maligned by hipster sommeliers in equal measure, the four vintages we sampled were uniformly excellent, and represented excellent value for money.
Yet according to the UK wine trade consumers are increasingly turning their backs on the vintage category, while sales of prestige cuvées are booming. “Sales of vintage Champagne at Hakkasan could hardly be described as great,” says London-based wine buyer Christine Parkinson.
“I don’t think vintage Champagne even sits in the middle any more: most consumers are happy with NV, and many could make the leap from NV to prestige if they had a really special occasion. If someone wants to spend a little more, it’s much easier to offer them a blanc de blancs, or something similar.”
Meanwhile, leading retailers are no less pessimistic. “At The Vineyard Cellars, we have not ordered vintage Champagne in the past 12 months,” says owner James Hocking.
“We have ordered plenty of rosé, non-vintage and prestige Champagnes, but the market is really flat for vintage; we used to carry Ruinart and sold masses of blanc de blancs NV for example, but hardly any vintage.”
Which, in turn, raises the pertinent question: why are consumers so indifferent to the vintage category and what can be done to lure them back?
Wine buyer Alex Hunt MW suggests that despite the clear value vintages represent, price is still the main issue. “A lot of care goes into vintage Champagnes, they age well, and they arguably offer the best value in the category – but a bottle still represents a big outlay, and among this consumer group they will be competing with still fine wines,” argues Hunt MW.
“How many will spend £60 [$78] on Champagne rather than Burgundy, say? That’s the nub of it, I suspect.”
Lack of consumer understanding is another reason frequently touted.
“The market for vintage is mainly consumers who know something about Champagne, and understand what a vintage Champagne is – that’s why it’s easier to sell the well-known prestige Champagnes than to sell vintage,” says Parkinson.
Cedric Nicaise, wine director at Eleven Madison Park in New York, advances the discussion.
“Vintage Champagne is sort of a middle ground that I think a lot of people don’t fully understand. Dom Pérignon is clearly a hugely marketed prestige brand, but the regular Moët vintage is something that is not as well marketed and could be misunderstood,” says Nicaise.
“Further, as houses introduce more varied wines, it becomes harder to market those. Also, defining what is a prestige, and what is not, can be tricky. The definition of prestige and ‘vintage’ is more blurry than it is clear.”
Nicaise also underlines the point that many Champagne houses treat vintages as their difficult “middle child” – instead of trying to find a marketing solution, they hope buyers/sommeliers will do all the work for them.
“Houses could do massively better with the marketing of vintages,” agrees Parkinson.
“It’s a pity, because there was a time when ‘vintage’ Champagne was a glamorous concept, yet I can’t remember the last time I heard vintage portrayed as special. The problem, of course, is that it’s tricky to make vintage sound good, without making NV seem less appealing. In the past, vintage Champagne was effectively the prestige offering for many houses, but that’s no longer true.”
So are we about to witness the slow demise of vintage Champagnes in favor of bling?
“I doubt the vintage category will completely disappear, but I wonder whether more houses might reposition vintage closer to prestige, and possibly even move up the price point of their current prestige offering,” suggests Parkinson.
At least one house, Perrier-Jouët, has already made that commercially lucrative decision.
“The last Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Millésime was created in 1998. The decision to rationalize the portfolio and to produce only Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque vintages was taken from a quality perspective, ensuring that Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, the heir to the house style, has access to the best quality fruit,” says chef de caves Herve Deschamps.
“The three vintage cuvées – Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé and Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs – are rare and exceptional Champagnes, created only when the harvest conditions are near perfect. So even if we had enough fruit of the right quality in a specific year to produce a new limited edition vintage expression, I would prefer to reserve this fruit for the classic collection to ensure outstanding quality and consistency.”
However, several key houses, including Veuve Clicquot, Moët et Chandon and Louis Roederer have stated their intention to continue releasing their excellent vintages alongside the prestige cuvée, which raises the question of what brands can do to reinvigorate consumer interest.
“For me it is all about teaching what the difference is. There is an obvious attraction to prestige cuvées. But, the difference between vintage and non-vintage should not necessarily be price. Teaching people about lees aging and the idea of reserve wine is more important than the price difference,” says Nicaise.
“I think brand dilution is the problem and the solution is to eliminate some bottlings. In the last 10 years, large houses have expanded their offerings in an attempt to capture more of the market. You see traditional non-oak fermentation houses creating oak fermentation cuvées, and the opposite. Producers are trying to capture as much of the market as possible, and that is what businesses do.”
But regardless of what approach the marketeers adopt, the silver lining (for Champagne buffs at least) remains access to superlative Champagnes at prices often marginally higher than NV level.
Of course, these wines come with less bragging rights than say Armand de Brignac, but then Champagne connoisseurs have never been interested in making a scene in a nightclub.

An article from Wine Searcher by James Lawrence

The Busy Wine Lover’s Guide to Philipponnat


The family-run Champagne house often runs below the radar, but offers some excellent wines.

A family-run company
Philipponnat, a distinguished Champagne house located in the small town of Mareuil-sur-Ay, in the Vallée de la Marne, was founded in 1522, and is one of the few family-run houses remaining in Champagne (it is owned by the Lanson-BBC partnership). Charles Philipponnat, who belongs to the founding family, manages the firm on an everyday basis and takes great pride in his stewardship. “Being the head of a family-run Champagne house simply increases my sense of responsibility and makes me want to produce even better wines. It also makes me conscious of the long-scale time frame in which Champagne-making is framed, and of the fact that today’s decisions will have effect not only on the current releases, but also the winery’s success for many years and decades, especially regarding the planting of vines.”

A singular vineyard
Of the 17 hectares (42 acres) of vines owned by the winery, the most important are the 5.5 (13.5 acres) that comprise Clos des Goisses, a vineyard situated only a few meters from the winery offices and cellars. Acquired by the winery in 1935, Philipponnat labels this cru as “a unique vineyard in Champagne”.
Walking through the cru, it’s easy to see why, as the slope ranges from 35° to 45° facing due south – it’s one of the most beautiful vineyards in all of Champagne, reflected in the Marne shipping canal across the road. Philipponnat notes that it is one of the hottest vineyards in the region, resulting in “very ripe and expressive wines, with a very fresh, clean structure”.

One feature about the wines from Clos des Goisses is their great aging potential. The vineyard, like many in the area, has a pure chalky subsoil, which provides a distinct minerality in the finished products; according to Philipponnat: “Because of this mineral character, and also because of the absence of malolactic fermentation, they [the wines] are also extremely long lived.” While there are dozens of famous Champagnes throughout the region that drink well for two or even three decades, few examples from classic vintages such as 1964 and 1952 are still tasting beautifully.
A typical Clos des Goisses blend these days is 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Chardonnay; Philipponnat notes the differences among the various vintages. “In the lighter vintages, such as 2004, you don’t really get the full Clos des Goisses character. But in the sunny years, the big years [such as 2005 or 2000], Clos des Goisses is a very powerful wine.”
For the newly-released 2006, a year Philipponnat describes as “relatively light, but a healthy and pure vintage”, he recommends early drinking in 2017 or 2018, but suggests that “true Clos des Goisses afficionados will be well advised to exercise patience until 2026 at the least”.

A winemaker’s thoughts
Thierry Garnier has been the chef de caves at Philipponnat since 2005; he has strong opinions on why the wines of Clos de Goisses are so distinctive. For him, two of the most noticeable characteristics are the “unbelievable aromatic complexity” and the “exceptional cellaring potential – 20 years plus. These are true whatever the vintage.” He also notes that Clos des Goisses is produced every year, which is more or less, unique in Champagne. Quoting, he remarks: “As Burgundians say: ‘You have to taste great terroirs in poor vintages – that is the difference.'”

Other jewels from Clos des Goisses
Recently, the winery has released two new cuvées from the Clos des Goisses vineyard, a rosé labeled “Juste Rosé”, along with “Les Cintres”, made from a small section at the heart of this vineyard. The 2005 rosé is a blend of 64 percent Pinot Noir and 34 percent Chardonnay, with a dosage of 4.5 grams per liter (almost identical to the classic Clos des Goisses), putting this in the extra brut category. This is a seductive rosé, with expressive aromatics of mandarin orange, currant and Anjou pear. Philipponnat detects a note of papaya and says that “it’s tropical, but in a light way”. As the wine has a delicate color, the name Juste Rosé was chosen.
The 2006 Les Cintres is a blend of 70 percent Pinot Noir and 30 percent Chardonnay from one of the oldest sections of Clos des Goisses. Les Cintres means “the arches”; there is a small stone arch that marks this part of the vineyard. Aged for nine years at the cellars, this is a limited-production wine, with a total of 2065 bottles; compare that to 16,000 bottles of Clos des Goisses in a typical year. Philipponnat points out that Les Cintres existed before, but always as a part of the Clos des Goisses blend; his objective in releasing this wine “was to showcase what the best wines at the core of the Clos des Goisses offering tasted like unblended”. He notes that ,while Chardonnay was incorporated into the initial 2006 cuvée, future releases will be entirely Pinot Noir.
Garnier considers Les Cintres a “one cuvée: one lot, one variety, one vintage and one Champagne house. It is very much the antithesis of Champagne, the kingdom of blending.”

But wait! There’s more
Philipponnat has also introduced other new cuvées over the past two years, most notably the Mareuil-sur-Ay bottling, and the Lé Léon offering, both vintage-dated wines, with the initial releases from the 2006 vintage. Both are 100 percent Pinot Noir, with the former produced from fruit sourced entirely from the Premier Cru village that is home to the firm, while the latter is from the eponymous single plot in the Grand Cru village of Ay, located only a few kilometers to the northwest. Aged for more than seven years on the lees, the Lé Léon displays pear and fig flavors with a light smokiness (45 percent of the wine was barrel fermented); quite rich on the palate with excellent persistence and superb complexity, it should drink well for 7-10 years.

Excellent value
While the Clos des Goisses and the new cuvées represent the apex of what Philipponat is achieving today, the 1522 series wines are of remarkable quality, are more widely available, and are priced more humbly. The 1522 Brut from the 2006 vintage is a Pinot Noir-Chardonnay blend with the Pinot Noir sourced from the Lé Léon vineyard. Highlighted by a creamy mid-palate and a lengthy, harmonious finish, this is excellent value and a cuvée that flies under the radar at Philipponnat. It is a testament to the direction taken by Charles Philipponnat and wine that should, in the words of chef de caves Garnier, “remind Champagne lovers of the great potential we have”.

An article from Wine Searcher by Tom Hyland

The World’s Most Expensive Fortified Wines


1. Seppeltsfield Para Tawny, Barossa Valley Australia’s most expensive wine and just shading it as the world’s most expensive fortified wine, this is a genuinely extraordinary creation. Made from a blend of Shiraz and Grenache and fortified in the Port style, the available vintages stretch back to 1879, and many get top marks from influential critics. The average price of $6419 is based on the bottle size, but this is only available in 100ml servings.

2. Graham’s Ne Oublie Port “Ne Oublie” means “never forget” and few people will forget forking out an average of $6106 for a non-vintage Port. However, there are only three barrels of this wine and the grapes were picked in 1892, so perhaps the price is a little more understandable. One barrel was bottled, with the other two to be assessed in 2025.

3. Taylor Fladgate Scion Vintage Port There are only four vintages of this Port available, stretching from 2000 back to 1850. That rarity partly explains the $2920 average price, but the real rarity value comes from grapes growing on ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines. For such a relatively rare wine, its availability and price have remained remarkably stable over the past five years.

4. Quinta do Vallado Adelaide Tributa Port This wine was made from two 550-liter casks of 1866 Port, which were bottled straight from the barrel in 2012. It has actually come down in price since release, falling from an average of $3494 in December 2012 to $2907 today.

5. Real Companhia Velha Quinta das Carvalhas Memories Port Very well liked by the critics (Wine Advocate gave it a 96, Wine Spectator a 99), this only hit the market this year. Still, it carries an average critic score of 95 and an average price of $2500. Probably a good investment, as it’s drinking window doesn’t close for another 50 years or so.

6. Ferreira Garrafeira Port Wine-Searcher lists six vintages of this wine on offer, all of them from the 19th Century – it’s odd to think that the youngest of these wines was made in the same year that Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and Henry Ford was born. It’s been stable in price for five years and currently has an average price of $1642.

7. Diez Hermanos Diez Ultra Port We’re not sure how much longer this wine will feature on the list, given that there are only six vintages remaining, and the youngest is the 1951. That probably explains why its average price is at an all-time high of $1632.

8. Niepoort VV Old Tawny Port This is a non-vintage wine from a well-known and respected Port house, that took a huge jump in price in early 2013, when the average price leapt from $400 to $2000. It has been pretty constant since then, settling at $1573.

9. Wine & Soul 5G Port This wine was laid down by winemaker Jorge Serôdio Borges’s great-great-grandfather, which explains the 5G – five generations. Made at the Quinta da Manoella estate, this rare wine (only 1200 bottles were released) will set you back an average of $1428.

10. Burmester Rio Torto Reserva Port The Burmester house dates back to 1730 and is now owned by the Sogevinus group (owners of Cálem, among others). This wine is made from grapes grown beside a tributary of the Douro (the Rio Torto of the title) and is a relative newcomer to the scene, first appearing in October last year. For all its youth, it will sting your wallet for an average of $1418.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh

The World’s Most Expensive Cognacs


1. Hennessy Beauté du Siécle Grand Champagne Cognac If you thought Hennessy’s Richard Hennessy was pushing the boat out at an average of $3543, then wait till you find the Beauty of the Century on a wine list – its average retail price is $111,046. It does come in a melted-aluminum chest, though, and the bottle is Baccarat crystal. The spirit is pretty rare too, with the youngest component being 47 years old.

2. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Rare Cask Grande Champagne Cognac

3. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Black Pearl Grande Champagne Cognac The Louis XIII range is expensive even at the entry level ($2840 average price), but with up to 1200 eaux-de-vie from Grande Champagne going into it, that’s to be expected. Add on Baccarat bottles and you start really pushing the boat out. The Rare Cask bottling was put together by previous cellarmaster Pierre Trichet and has an average price of $27,404, while the Black Pearl (again in a Baccarat decanter) will set you back $23,644 on average.

4. Hine 250th Anniversary Cognac With a history stretching back to 1763, it’s unsurprising that Hine has plenty of old stocks of Cognac in its vaults. This was released to mark the company’s 250th anniversary (obviously) and is a vintage 1953 Cognac and it’s in a specially designed decanter. All of which goes some way towards justifying the $15,994 average price tag.

5. A. Hardy Le Printemps Cognac

6. A. Hardy l’Ete Cognac

7. A. Hardy Privilege Caryota Cognac The Hardy name has been part of the Cognac tapestry since 1863, when an Englishman of that name relocated to the Charente. The first two of these Cognacs are part of a four seasons series, with the Printemps (Spring) bottling – in a Lalique decanter, naturally – hitting an average price of $15,830. The other bottling (Summer) is also clad in Lalique and costs $15,024. The Privilege bottling (also in Lalique) is made from pre-1014 eaux-de-vie and carries an average price of $13,327.

8. Pierre Chabanneau Fine Champagne Cognac Originally an independent producer and shipper of vintage Cognacs, Chabanneau later became part of the Camus Cognac house. These vintage bottlings date back to the 19th Century, explaining the $13,326 average price tag. At least they don’t come dressed up in a fancy bottle, though.

9. Martell Premier Voyage Cognac Released for the company’s 300th anniversary in 2015, the older eaux-de-vie in this bottling are from 1868, so it’s certainly got rarity value. It also has a swish decanter and a wooden stand. Only 300 were released, so that extra rarity boosts the price to $12,021.

10. Hennessy Timeless Cognac This one ticks all the boxes, really. It’s from a run of 2000 bottles and it’s a blend of the 11 best vintages of the 20th Century. Released in time for the Millennium frenzy, it – almost inevitably – arrives in a Baccarat crystal decanter.

An article from Wine Searcher

The World’s Most Expensive Whiskeys


1. The Macallan Lalique 57-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

2. The Macallan Lalique 62-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

3. The Macallan Lalique VI 65-year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

Macallan has marketed itself as “the Rolls-Royce of single malts” for decades and it’s kind of hard to argue. It’s been a superstar distillery since its foundation in 1824, and one of the few to have never closed in the intervening 193 years. It built its reputation on the quality of the spirit flowing from its small stills, and the use of Oloroso Sherry casks for maturation. They don’t just use Sherry casks anymore, but the spirit in these bottlings, presented in specially designed Lalique decanters, were and they have set a new standard for (relatively) readily available whiskey prices at $54,848, $53,077 and $44,793 respectively.

4. The Dalmore 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Highlands Dalmore is based in Alness, overlooking the Cromarty Firth in Scotland’s northern Highlands and is one of the most respected distillers in the country, providing the base for the popular Whyte & Mackay blend for almost 150 years. The average price has more than doubled in the past year to $44,226, but it does come with its own decanter.

5. The Balvenie 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside The sister distillery to the more famous Glenfiddich, Balvenie refuses to take second place when it comes to price. The vast majority of Balvenie has been gobbled up by blends down the years, before being launched as a single malt in 1973. This expression has become gradually more available over the past five years, but it has also climbed to an average price of $35,526.

6. Gordon & MacPhail Generations Mortlach 75-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside An independent bottling of one of Scotland’s great distilleries – it was where Glenfiddich founder William Grant learned the whiskey trade – bottled by one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. Probably the oldest whiskey available on the open market, this comes in a crystal teardrop decanter and will set you back an average of $32,200.

7. Johnnie Walker 1805 The Celebration Blue Label Scotch At last, a blend – and what a blend. A cask strength bottling, made from 45-70-year-old malts, this was originally intended as a special bottling produced for people the company deemed had made an extraordinary contribution to modern life, which explains its $30,689 average price tag.

8. Glenfiddich Rare Collection 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside It wouldn’t be a whiskey list without some mention of Glenfiddich, the pioneers of the single malt category. This is a ridiculously well-presented package, with the bottle decorated with Scottish silver and housed in a leather and silk case; with only 500 bottles released, it’s surprising value at $27,644.

9. The Glenlivet Winchester Collection 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside The Glenlivet was the first licensed distillery in Scotland and this 1966 vintage bottling is a nice tribute to the trailblazers. It is named for the Glenlivet’s master distiller and limited to 100 bottles, hence the $25,515 average price.

10. The Macallan Fine & Rare Vintage Single Malt, Speyside The fourth Macallan entry is available in a variety of vintages going right back to 1937. Curiously, even though it is the most widely available bottle on the list, it has continued to shoot up in price, rising from an average of $6884 in 2012 to $27,784 today.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh

French Wine Exports on the Up

export1-10006220.jpgFrance has been the big winner among wine producing countries in the first quarter, while the US suffered a major drop in overseas sales.
The figures released in the Rabobank Wine Quarterly survey showed healthy growth for French wine exports, which increased by 5.9 percent in volume and a whopping 14.7 percent in value, giving an average price-per-liter rise of 8 percent. Champagne did well with 7.3 percent volume and 12.1 percent value increases, while Bordeaux continued its strong growth with a 10.7 percent rise in volume and a staggering 26.4 percent leap in value.
The US and Chinese markets saw solid growth for French wines, even exports to the embattled UK market rose by 2.9 percent in volume and 13.8 percent in value.
US wine producers weren’t so lucky, with a big drop in sales to the UK leading to a steep 15 percent decline in volume and an 8 percent fall in value. Bulk sales also fell as own-label brands contracted in the softening economic conditions in the UK; an almost 3 percent rise in inflation there has pushed down earnings and weakened the outlook for consumption.
First quarter exports of Italian wine lifted slightly by volume (2 percent) and 5.4 percent in value against the last quarter of 2016, with sparkling wine the star performer. Still wine exports to major markets the US, Germany and Switzerland contracted slightly in volume, but sparkling wines jumped 10.8 percent in volume to all markets and 15.1 percent in value. Canada and China were growth markets, as was the UK, although the average price per liter to the UK fell by 3.5 percent.
Spain had a mixed performance, with DO/DOCa wines jumping 16.2 percent in volume and an impressive 47 percent in value, while sparkling wine saw double-digit drops in per-liter average prices. Spain’s main export market was still the US, with 4.3 percent volume and 6.5 percent value increases.
While US exports might have softened, imports rose in the first four months of the year, with a 2 percent volume lift and a 6 percent increase in value compared to the same period last year. Imports from Italy were up 3 percent by volume and 2 percent in value, led by Prosecco’s seemingly unstoppable surge. Portugal was the big winner, however, with a 21 percent increase in volumes shipped to the US and a 26 percent rise in value. Australia grew value off lower volumes, with a 13 percent jump in value despite a 1.6 percent drop in volume.
The report also said that wine inventories were likely to come under some pressure later this year, as a predicted shortfall in the Northern Hemisphere harvest impacts global supply. While it pointed to sufficient stocks of wine to meet current demand, the report warned of reduced volumes coming from major producers France, northern Italy and Spain, due to adverse weather.

An article from Wine Searcher