Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

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Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#1 Post by larry schaffer » September 3rd, 2019, 12:41 pm

Good post this morning from Rob McMillan at Silicon Valley Bank about the current oversupply of grapes and bulk wine in the market - and where this may lead us. As we all know, the industry is cyclical - and we all 'expect' it to work as it always has. But the question is whether that will the case now - with increased competition for the general consumer by craft beers and ciders, hard seltzers and craft distillation products and cocktails.

Thoughts?

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#2 Post by Adam Frisch » September 3rd, 2019, 3:46 pm

I notice it with many of the growers - they're desperate to get rid of their fruit. If I had the capacity and sales channels to shift it, I could pick up tons of great fruit at very low prices. Last year one of them in Lodi had to leave 100 tons of Petit Sirah hanging. And that was just one grower. How many more have had to do the same?

In any case - and this is one of my soapboxes - but California needs to shift focus from super premium pricing. On a global stage, CA wine is just not competitive. Almost any other New World nation will deliver better wine at lower prices. I'm not saying CA wine isn't as good, it certainly is, it's just priced too damn high. I go to South Africa for business quite often and the wines there are fantastic quality costing half of ours. What I always then hear is: "well, they don't have the same labour laws we have and can basically use very cheap indentured labour". Yeah that's true, but how come AUS/NZ can produce much cheaper wines than CA can when they have virtually the same labor costs? Doesn't pass the sniff test. We could be exporting our wines just like these nations do and - voila! - surplus gone.

I want everyone to make as much money as they can, I believe in capitalism, but dare I say it, has the ex-Wall St-buy-a-winery-to-show-off-for-my-friends-on-the-golf-course culture finally caught up with CA wine? I'm personally sick of $60-300/bottle prices. It's an affront. And it's killing CA wine and making it even more elitist than it already is. Which young millennial is gonna get excited by an industry that only caters to rich middle aged people and treats the consumer like suckers you can highway rob?
Last edited by Adam Frisch on September 3rd, 2019, 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#3 Post by Michael Martin » September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm

Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#4 Post by Markus S » September 3rd, 2019, 5:51 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 3:46 pm
... but California needs to shift focus from super premium pricing.... Almost any other New World nation will deliver better wine at much better prices.

...I'm personally sick of $60-300/bottle prices. It's an affront. And it's killing CA wine and making it even more elitist than it already is. Which young millennial is gonna get excited by an industry that only caters to rich middle aged people and treats the consumer like suckers you can highway rob?
About it in a nutshell. Americans have this idea that their high=priced vineyard lifestyle needs to be subsidized by the consumer. Millennials are already shifting their focus. Can't see them buying wines with bloated prices even if they could afford them.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#5 Post by Sh@n A » September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm

Markus S wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 5:51 pm
Millennials are already shifting their focus. Can't see them buying wines with bloated prices even if they could afford them.
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
/ @ g r @ \

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#6 Post by Michael Martin » September 3rd, 2019, 6:05 pm

Markus S wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 5:51 pm
Adam Frisch wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 3:46 pm
... but California needs to shift focus from super premium pricing.... Almost any other New World nation will deliver better wine at much better prices.

...I'm personally sick of $60-300/bottle prices. It's an affront. And it's killing CA wine and making it even more elitist than it already is. Which young millennial is gonna get excited by an industry that only caters to rich middle aged people and treats the consumer like suckers you can highway rob?
About it in a nutshell. Americans have this idea that their high=priced vineyard lifestyle needs to be subsidized by the consumer. Millennials are already shifting their focus. Can't see them buying wines with bloated prices even if they could afford them.
...same as golf and Corvette demographics. Old white guy thing. We’re doomed.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#7 Post by N Weis » September 3rd, 2019, 6:15 pm

Gentlemen: with all due respect, the anti-high-end, eat the rich sentiment is great and all, but the oversupply hurts the lower to middle tier grapegrowers far, far more. They are the ones who will be held to exact contract specs in a big year by their buyer, negating the bounty of a good yield, or have their year-to-year contract not renewed, or be unable to find a buyer on the spot market. If your desire is for wineries to feel the pain, at the moment, it's only the growers. Wineries feel it in the upward cycle on the other end of the wheel. Right now, it's a grape and bulk wine buyer's market.

I hate to say it, Larry, but it's cyclical. A couple really big years alongside some larger economic headwinds for wine will do it. A small to average crop or two will bring things back into balance. The dead waters of the bulk market have been interesting. I suspect there just isn't as big a private-label market for negociants as there has been.

Adam, AUS and NZ don't have the same labor costs. They've adapted and mechanized. They also have historically export-friendly currencies. We've done so on the low end but have been slow to adopt on the mid to high tier. And, quite honestly, CA is a tough state to operate in. There is a lot of cost associated with doing business here. IMHO, it's worth the price to be able to live and work here, but it's true.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#8 Post by Alan Rath » September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.
Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#9 Post by Sh@n A » September 3rd, 2019, 6:45 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.
Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
Pot pricing has been steadily crashing, which isn't a surprise as the barriers to entry for ag aren't really as high as the IPOs want you to believe... wait till the bioengineered CBD/THC hits the market from companies like Amyris, Gingko Bioworks, etc....
/ @ g r @ \

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#10 Post by Michael Martin » September 3rd, 2019, 7:19 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.
Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
Living in Colorado I see some folks making money beyond belief from THC and CBD products. Way more more than from grape juice.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#11 Post by larry schaffer » September 3rd, 2019, 7:32 pm

Michael,

Talk to the folks in OR and WA - different story there for sure.

And Nate, yep, things are cyclical - but there are other factors at play here that were not there during the last glut - namely the rise in 'other alcoholic products' that are fighting for the same $$$$ . . . I hope you're right, my friend . . .

Cheers!
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#12 Post by Kris Patten » September 3rd, 2019, 8:07 pm

WA is going thru the same grape issues, but keeps it quieter than CA, but there is plenty of wine to be had at great prices. OR hasn't run into it late due to smaller plantings, higher prices, and higher demand vs. supply.

To Nate and Larry, I'm sure there is some nice wine available, but I'd assume most of the glut is at the low end from the massive vineyard that is Central Coast.

All in all, there will be some short vintages and this will right itself, but it puts a massive strain on family growers, many of whom can't make it if the glut lasts 4 or 5 vintages and CA hs had 5 straight strong vintages with 2012-2016, a break in 2017, then another vintage of century in 2018.

I feel for the little owners who really get hurt, not the Beckstoffers and what not who may just make a few less millions.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#13 Post by N Weis » September 3rd, 2019, 8:28 pm

Larry, it kind of sounds like you're saying "this time it's different" because there are, uniquely, substitutes for wine this time around. I don't find that to be unique, just that the substitutes are different. But "this time" they're really gonna last!

I hate to be the "invisible hand" guy, but demand decreases (which it has in the wine market at large), market prices go down (for grapes and bulk wine to start and, eventually, wine), supply adjusts (smaller crop in '20 [hopefully], maybe some vineyard owners selling to wineries looking to shore up supply, growers who can moving to alternative crops) or we increase demand, voila, prices recover. Although we don't like to admit it, on the aggregate, grapes and wine can act like a commodity.

Look at Table 8 of the crush report. There were probably 1,200 tons of District 4 (Napa) Cabernet sold at $2,000 or less per ton. These are "on the spot, I have a gondola attached to my pickup truck and have been held to contract, what will you pay me to drop it off at your winery?" prices. Elastic. These are the people hurt by oversupply. There were also 25ish tons sold at $50,000 per ton. I assure you, these are the inelastic sort and the people buying and selling give two sh!ts about the overall market. Not affected by the oversupply at large.

I was working for Piero Antinori a decade ago. I was lamenting the Great Recession and the effect it was having on sales and grape and wine prices. He looked at me and said "my family's business has survived the Black Death, many wars among the city-states, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars in western Europe, and the reign of Mussolini. I think we can handle a recession."

My point being, I'm not saying we bury our head in the sand or that this time, it isn't different. Businesses need to adapt, tighten their belts, develop new ways of increasing demand and new customers. Shoot, a few wineries in CA thrived 100 years ago while their product was deemed illegal by a constitutional amendment!

But, this does strike me as part of the normal cycle. Barring any unforeseen larger world events.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#14 Post by Mark Y » September 3rd, 2019, 8:41 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 3:46 pm
I'm personally sick of $60-300/bottle prices.
You... must not like Burgundy very much... ;) flirtysmile
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#15 Post by Adam Frisch » September 3rd, 2019, 9:18 pm

N Weis wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:15 pm

Adam, AUS and NZ don't have the same labor costs. They've adapted and mechanized. They also have historically export-friendly currencies. We've done so on the low end but have been slow to adopt on the mid to high tier. And, quite honestly, CA is a tough state to operate in. There is a lot of cost associated with doing business here. IMHO, it's worth the price to be able to live and work here, but it's true.
I know, CA is a tough state to do business in. They're not business friendly and costs are high.

Sorry, I don't want class warfare or to spout working-class-hero-is-something-to-be nonsense, but high pricing for no good reason just irks me. I get that a To Kalon Cab will cost a lot of money. But there's no reason a Santa Maria Syrah should cost $90+ (yeah, I'm looking at you Paul Lato). [cheers.gif]
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#16 Post by Doug Schulman » September 4th, 2019, 9:25 am

N Weis wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 8:28 pm
I was working for Piero Antinori a decade ago. I was lamenting the Great Recession and the effect it was having on sales and grape and wine prices. He looked at me and said "my family's business has survived the Black Death, many wars among the city-states, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars in western Europe, and the reign of Mussolini. I think we can handle a recession."
That really puts things in perspective!
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#17 Post by larry schaffer » September 4th, 2019, 9:28 am

N Weis wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 8:28 pm
Larry, it kind of sounds like you're saying "this time it's different" because there are, uniquely, substitutes for wine this time around. I don't find that to be unique, just that the substitutes are different. But "this time" they're really gonna last!

I hate to be the "invisible hand" guy, but demand decreases (which it has in the wine market at large), market prices go down (for grapes and bulk wine to start and, eventually, wine), supply adjusts (smaller crop in '20 [hopefully], maybe some vineyard owners selling to wineries looking to shore up supply, growers who can moving to alternative crops) or we increase demand, voila, prices recover. Although we don't like to admit it, on the aggregate, grapes and wine can act like a commodity.

Look at Table 8 of the crush report. There were probably 1,200 tons of District 4 (Napa) Cabernet sold at $2,000 or less per ton. These are "on the spot, I have a gondola attached to my pickup truck and have been held to contract, what will you pay me to drop it off at your winery?" prices. Elastic. These are the people hurt by oversupply. There were also 25ish tons sold at $50,000 per ton. I assure you, these are the inelastic sort and the people buying and selling give two sh!ts about the overall market. Not affected by the oversupply at large.

I was working for Piero Antinori a decade ago. I was lamenting the Great Recession and the effect it was having on sales and grape and wine prices. He looked at me and said "my family's business has survived the Black Death, many wars among the city-states, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars in western Europe, and the reign of Mussolini. I think we can handle a recession."

My point being, I'm not saying we bury our head in the sand or that this time, it isn't different. Businesses need to adapt, tighten their belts, develop new ways of increasing demand and new customers. Shoot, a few wineries in CA thrived 100 years ago while their product was deemed illegal by a constitutional amendment!

But, this does strike me as part of the normal cycle. Barring any unforeseen larger world events.
Nate,

I hope you're right for the sake of the entire industry . . .

Cheers
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#18 Post by Marc Hauser » September 4th, 2019, 1:05 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 7:19 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.
Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
Living in Colorado I see some folks making money beyond belief from THC and CBD products. Way more more than from grape juice.
If they're operating legally, they're not making money from THC products, due to the federal tax rules. It's why the US companies have great gross margins, are lucky to have EBITDA, and tough net losses.
ITB-ish (unfrozen caveman cannabis lawyer and erstwhile wine lawyer)

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#19 Post by Marc Hauser » September 4th, 2019, 1:06 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Vineyards will move to the next cash crop...pot.
Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
This is indeed happening in many states where Cannabis has been legal now for a number of years, less so in the more recently-legal states. Just wait for interstate commerce and importing. It's already happening with industrial hemp. Similar to wine.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#20 Post by Marc Hauser » September 4th, 2019, 1:09 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 9:18 pm
N Weis wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:15 pm

Adam, AUS and NZ don't have the same labor costs. They've adapted and mechanized. They also have historically export-friendly currencies. We've done so on the low end but have been slow to adopt on the mid to high tier. And, quite honestly, CA is a tough state to operate in. There is a lot of cost associated with doing business here. IMHO, it's worth the price to be able to live and work here, but it's true.
I know, CA is a tough state to do business in. They're not business friendly and costs are high.

Sorry, I don't want class warfare or to spout working-class-hero-is-something-to-be nonsense, but high pricing for no good reason just irks me. I get that a To Kalon Cab will cost a lot of money. But there's no reason a Santa Maria Syrah should cost $90+ (yeah, I'm looking at you Paul Lato). [cheers.gif]
Wine on the high end is no different than any other luxury good - beyond the cost, you're paying for, among other things, scarcity, demand, and branding. I don't criticize anyone who can figure out how to make it work in this industry.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#21 Post by Michael Martin » September 4th, 2019, 6:27 pm

Marc Hauser wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 1:05 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 7:19 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:40 pm

Which will then crash and burn, even harder than grapes, as the supply far outgrows demand - unless enough gets siphoned off to the black market. Watch for increases in arrests on this front in the coming decade.

Adam's 100 tons of unpicked Lodi Petit more or less backs up Nate's comments.
Living in Colorado I see some folks making money beyond belief from THC and CBD products. Way more more than from grape juice.
If they're operating legally, they're not making money from THC products, due to the federal tax rules. It's why the US companies have great gross margins, are lucky to have EBITDA, and tough net losses.
You are clueless.
I personally know folks who paid cash for million dollar plus homes, Lamborghini’s, custom cycles, race cars and in one case a new set of teeth all from pot money.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#22 Post by Marc Hauser » September 4th, 2019, 7:22 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 6:27 pm
Marc Hauser wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 1:05 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 7:19 pm


Living in Colorado I see some folks making money beyond belief from THC and CBD products. Way more more than from grape juice.
If they're operating legally, they're not making money from THC products, due to the federal tax rules. It's why the US companies have great gross margins, are lucky to have EBITDA, and tough net losses.
You are clueless.
I personally know folks who paid cash for million dollar plus homes, Lamborghini’s, custom cycles, race cars and in one case a new set of teeth all from pot money.
Those are individuals. Not companies. Execs and founders may be comped well (some of them work for my clients), but their businesses (again, legal, permitted ones) don’t make profit. This is well known throughout the legal industry. And it is my job to know this.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#23 Post by Michael Martin » September 4th, 2019, 7:29 pm

Marc Hauser wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 7:22 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 6:27 pm
Marc Hauser wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 1:05 pm


If they're operating legally, they're not making money from THC products, due to the federal tax rules. It's why the US companies have great gross margins, are lucky to have EBITDA, and tough net losses.
You are clueless.
I personally know folks who paid cash for million dollar plus homes, Lamborghini’s, custom cycles, race cars and in one case a new set of teeth all from pot money.
Those are individuals. Not companies. Execs and founders may be comped well (some of them work for my clients), but their businesses (again, legal, permitted ones) don’t make profit. This is well known throughout the legal industry. And it is my job to know this.
Never said companies. I said folks. Slice or dice it however you want, people are making serious coin. I touch the industry as well. I see it first hand.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#24 Post by Marc Hauser » September 4th, 2019, 8:44 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 7:29 pm
Marc Hauser wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 7:22 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 6:27 pm

You are clueless.
I personally know folks who paid cash for million dollar plus homes, Lamborghini’s, custom cycles, race cars and in one case a new set of teeth all from pot money.
Those are individuals. Not companies. Execs and founders may be comped well (some of them work for my clients), but their businesses (again, legal, permitted ones) don’t make profit. This is well known throughout the legal industry. And it is my job to know this.
Never said companies. I said folks. Slice or dice it however you want, people are making serious coin. I touch the industry as well. I see it first hand.
So it appears we are both right?
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#25 Post by Nathan Smyth » September 4th, 2019, 8:55 pm

Sh@n A wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
Wine is getting a bad reputation amongst folks on the Paleo diet.

And all the carbs in these high-sugar California wines are not helping matters.

Serious question: Does anyone still make a truly dry wine anywhere in California?

[And, quite frankly, from what I've tasted this year, you could expand that question to all of Europe, as well.]

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#26 Post by Paul Gordon » September 4th, 2019, 11:19 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:55 pm
Sh@n A wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
Wine is getting a bad reputation amongst folks on the Paleo diet.

And all the carbs in these high-sugar California wines are not helping matters.

Serious question: Does anyone still make a truly dry wine anywhere in California?

[And, quite frankly, from what I've tasted this year, you could expand that question to all of Europe, as well.]
Nathan

The vast majority of smaller CA producers release wines that are bone dry. Certainly true in our case.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#27 Post by Jason T » September 5th, 2019, 12:38 am

Paul Gordon wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 11:19 pm
Nathan Smyth wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:55 pm
Sh@n A wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
Wine is getting a bad reputation amongst folks on the Paleo diet.

And all the carbs in these high-sugar California wines are not helping matters.

Serious question: Does anyone still make a truly dry wine anywhere in California?

[And, quite frankly, from what I've tasted this year, you could expand that question to all of Europe, as well.]
Nathan

The vast majority of smaller CA producers release wines that are bone dry. Certainly true in our case.

Paul
That's not going to deter him.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#28 Post by Nathan Smyth » September 5th, 2019, 12:15 pm

Paul Gordon wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 11:19 pm
The vast majority of smaller CA producers release wines that are bone dry. Certainly true in our case.
I would dearly love to get back to CA and spend an entire summer [or winter, or any time of the year whatsoever, to include harvest-time] doing nothing but visiting the smallest producers, and getting a strong sense of what's happening with the Avant Garde who are duking it out in the trenches.

But, at least statistically speaking, NONE of yall's wines make it back here to the East Coast.

Statistically speaking, we are drowning in an ocean of high-carb California industrial [or semi-industrial] wine which tranforms Cougar Moms into goodyear-blimps and Sportsball Dads into [exceptionally large] potato-heads.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#29 Post by Nathan Smyth » September 5th, 2019, 12:23 pm

BTW, just in case any of you geniuses haven't thought of it yet, there's a helluva marketing campaign sitting there, just waiting to be discovered.

Something along the lines of "Family-Farmer Grown & Vinified Bone-Dry LOW-CARB Alcoholic Beverage".

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#30 Post by GregT » September 5th, 2019, 12:56 pm

I didn't really like the article. He's trying to create some controversy but things are not all that critical, or different this time than any other time.

There was an oversupply of office buildings in the 1990s and guys like Trammell Crow ended up losing money. There's an oversupply of shopping malls today because nobody envisioned Amazon sucking the life out of the shopping experience.

People start investing when they think a market is hot and eventually you have too many people investing and prices go down and the market shrinks. That is what allowed Two Buck Chuck to appear - when he started he had pretty good grapes to use. Maybe now the quality of that wine will improve again.

The article is misleading even if it does mention the central issue. Grapes that were grown under contract usually are not left hanging on vines because the buyer changes his mind. If there are too many grapes now, those are almost certainly grapes that were grown in hopes of finding a buyer.

Statistics are still in favor of wine. The most recent figures I found show that the total consumption of wine in the United States was up again year to year. Obviously that does not mean any grape from anywhere is a good idea, but there's not a grape oversupply because people are drinking less wine. People are drinking more wine.

Growers just overestimated their market and planted too much. I might have thought I could sell an extra few tons of Zin. So did you, your brother, your mother, your friend down the street and your entire social network. Now we have too much. Duh. I don't see the crisis in the wine world here.

I was just talking to someone about this two days ago. She mentioned that the wine world is unlike just about anything else because in no other field would you start a business without any idea of what your market will be and how you're going to reach it. If you do that, you're most likely going to fail. And yet in the wine business, every day new people jump into producing grapes or wine without any idea of how they're going to sell their product. They just hope for the best.

Marijuana is not a direct competitor to wine. You don't sit down with a bottle of wine and some friends to get stupified. The two things serve different markets.

Wine is indeed facing increasing competition but the competition is craft liquor and beer. Even so, wine consumption is still up year to year.

Petite Sirah left on the vine has nothing to do with high-priced Cab.

And Nathan, I have no idea where you are on the east coast but you are utterly wrong, at least if you're in NYC or one of the larger cities. And especially if you can receive out of state shipments.
Wine is getting a bad reputation amongst folks on the Paleo diet.

And all the carbs in these high-sugar California wines are not helping matters.

Serious question: Does anyone still make a truly dry wine anywhere in California?

[And, quite frankly, from what I've tasted this year, you could expand that question to all of Europe, as well.]
1. People on the paleo diet aren't likely to make a measurable difference in wine consumption.

2. If you don't like high-sugar CA wines, buy low-sugar CA wines.

3. For a truly dry wine from California, all you need to do is look around.

4. Same for Europe.

BTW, I've seen low-carb ads for wine. They just have slightly less alcohol. Skinny Girl built an entire brand around the idea.

Gluten free too.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#31 Post by R. Frankel » September 5th, 2019, 1:02 pm

My understanding is that overall US wine consumption has been steadily rising. With all this grape oversupply why aren’t we seeing more lower priced cabs/blends coming to market? Or maybe they are there and I’m not seeing it?
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#32 Post by GregT » September 5th, 2019, 6:12 pm

There are more lower priced Cabs and blends coming to market. They're not coming from Napa and you're not buying them.

Remember, "oversupply" doesn't mean there's an oversupply of really excellent grapes that will make stellar wine.

There's a lot of plonk showing up.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#33 Post by Arv R » September 7th, 2019, 10:07 am

Maybe they can turn some of the surplus into brandy. E&J and Christian Bros. could then come up with some new craft brandy cocktail recipes and send out reps to bars to drum up interest in that.

If wine is a little bit cheaper, I don't think that hurts enthusiasts.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#34 Post by rsmithjr » September 7th, 2019, 10:29 am

More wine for Negociants to sell......
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#35 Post by Jürgen Steinke » September 7th, 2019, 11:45 pm

There is too much wine produced in the world. But I have the feeling that the elite wine producers have less problems to sell their stuff than the mass producers. I see often "sold out" at the well known and praised houses but heavy discounts at the supermarkets. The average price for a bottle of wine here in Germany is about 2,50 Euros. And even at those prices the stuff is difficult to sell. A family member of mine is a wine producer here in Baden/Germany (Ortenau) with good land for Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder. He is retiring at the moment and is trying to sell his acres. But there is almost zero demand and the price for vineyards is absurdly low. Something never seen in recent history. And new creations of fancy labels, marketing strategies etc. does not help much if at all. Its very difficult or even impossible to make a living if you are an almost unknown wine producer with average quality and a limited production. On the other hand: the well known and praised producers build fancy wineries and luxuries tasting rooms. But those are the minority. The majority is facing growing economical problems.

The trendy drinks today here in Germany amongst the young and fancy people are cocktails. The hottest thing at the moment is Gin Tonic. And the government is trying hard to bring alc. consumption down. No good news for the wine industry.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#36 Post by Wes Barton » September 8th, 2019, 11:26 am

I was just talking to someone about this two days ago. She mentioned that the wine world is unlike just about anything else because in no other field would you start a business without any idea of what your market will be and how you're going to reach it. If you do that, you're most likely going to fail. And yet in the wine business, every day new people jump into producing grapes or wine without any idea of how they're going to sell their product. They just hope for the best.
Nah, the same thing happens over and over in everything else, and has so throughout history. It's all in the mindless lemming/buy high, sell low/pop culture hype buy in. Sort of a myopic assessment of an opportunity. People see a shortage and far too many react to that shortage. People see a boom market and buy in, thinking it'll never "correct".

In some cases, hype is created by the buyers. With grapes, mega wineries don't have a downside with oversupply. They get rock bottom prices, and someone else takes the loss for grapes and bulk juice that's left unsold.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#37 Post by Adam Frisch » September 9th, 2019, 4:22 pm

From what I've heard premium wine is increasing in market shares. At least until the market tanks and the recession hits. [wink.gif]
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#38 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 9th, 2019, 8:26 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 3:46 pm
I notice it with many of the growers - they're desperate to get rid of their fruit. If I had the capacity and sales channels to shift it, I could pick up tons of great fruit at very low prices. Last year one of them in Lodi had to leave 100 tons of Petit Sirah hanging. And that was just one grower. How many more have had to do the same?

In any case - and this is one of my soapboxes - but California needs to shift focus from super premium pricing. On a global stage, CA wine is just not competitive. Almost any other New World nation will deliver better wine at lower prices. I'm not saying CA wine isn't as good, it certainly is, it's just priced too damn high. I go to South Africa for business quite often and the wines there are fantastic quality costing half of ours. What I always then hear is: "well, they don't have the same labour laws we have and can basically use very cheap indentured labour". Yeah that's true, but how come AUS/NZ can produce much cheaper wines than CA can when they have virtually the same labor costs? Doesn't pass the sniff test. We could be exporting our wines just like these nations do and - voila! - surplus gone.

I want everyone to make as much money as they can, I believe in capitalism, but dare I say it, has the ex-Wall St-buy-a-winery-to-show-off-for-my-friends-on-the-golf-course culture finally caught up with CA wine? I'm personally sick of $60-300/bottle prices. It's an affront. And it's killing CA wine and making it even more elitist than it already is. Which young millennial is gonna get excited by an industry that only caters to rich middle aged people and treats the consumer like suckers you can highway rob?
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#39 Post by GregP » September 9th, 2019, 11:43 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:55 pm
Serious question: Does anyone still make a truly dry wine anywhere in California?
And here I was asking myself just who the hell drinks all that White Zin. Seems time for you to step up.

Seriously, though, you should really learn about CA wine. And they don't have to be expensive, a sea of dry wine out there. Even Rombaur cut back on RS in their Chard lately. RS wines are really in the under $6 a bottle category these days, and even then not that often. And TBH, if your palate cannot tell dry wine from one that is off-dry or with RS after years of consumption (that you claim), then maybe wine is not for you.

I know of no one who presses off until completely dry. If you know who does, then list them here. Or stop posting nonsense. Only because you think/believe something does not make it true. But, yes, list names, should be an interesting and very extensive list judging by your beliefs. Don't be shy.

I also suspect that you do not understand the difference between picking at higher Brix and fermenting to dryness. Which happens all over the world, BTW, and not just in CA, pretty much in any wine region you'd care to name. Also, learn what RO is and which country invented the process, and is still heavily dependent on it. Sold at stupendous prices these days.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#40 Post by James Billy » September 10th, 2019, 12:14 am

GregP wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 11:43 pm
TBH, if your palate cannot tell dry wine from one that is off-dry or with RS after years of consumption (that you claim), then maybe wine is not for you.
Seriously, if you can't detect a certain component you should stop drinking wine?

I think if you can't say something sensible and polite then maybe online forums are not for you.

And you're a serial offender.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#41 Post by Jason T » September 10th, 2019, 12:39 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:45 pm
There is too much wine produced in the world. But I have the feeling that the elite wine producers have less problems to sell their stuff than the mass producers.
I do wonder if this holds less true with certain elite, old-line producers in Napa, and perhaps even some newer ones. Pure speculation but I’d be curious if Bryant is the “canary in the coal mine”, with what is alleged to be massive back-inventory. How many others aren’t selling through? Harlan jumps out at me.

Maybe they can all weather it. Not to go all “Nathyn” but I do think there’s an awful lot of elite pricing in Napa propped up by a lot of easy money / artificial wealth. What happens when the music ends?

I think we will see a lot of “elite” wineries, or certainly those that price elitely, get blown-up. Especially those that are relying on leverage. Will it be some sort of paradigm shift/ permanent awakening? No. But I doo think there will be a correction at some point, and likely in the not to distant future.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#42 Post by GregT » September 10th, 2019, 12:47 am

James, I don't want to speak for GregP but I think he was responding to the generalization. If you ask whether anyone makes a dry wine in the entire state, then you're setting yourself up. Nathan is no dummy - he knew what he was doing. Just got the response in kind.

GregP is a valuable contributor.
I do think there’s an awful lot of elite pricing in Napa propped up by a lot of easy money / artificial wealth. What happens when the music ends?
Garagiste just offered a "mystery" wine at $400+. Any guesses as to what it was?
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#43 Post by James Billy » September 10th, 2019, 2:40 am

It's a free country. We can all have our own opinions. I'll own mine.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#44 Post by Michae1 P0wers » September 10th, 2019, 4:50 am

James Billy wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 2:40 am
It's a free country. We can all have our own opinions. I'll own mine.
Search Nathan’s posts for some... interesting... reading. Or don’t. Common theme of his: decry sweetness in, i.e. Chablis, then recommend Prosecco and Alsatian Riesling as alternatives. [scratch.gif]. You can only cry wolf so many times before people stop politely asking for details regarding its appearance and location.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#45 Post by James Billy » September 10th, 2019, 6:56 am

I was just focusing on the logic of GregP.

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#46 Post by Wes Barton » September 10th, 2019, 3:13 pm

Michae1 P0wers wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 4:50 am
James Billy wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 2:40 am
It's a free country. We can all have our own opinions. I'll own mine.
Search Nathan’s posts for some... interesting... reading. Or don’t. Common theme of his: decry sweetness in, i.e. Chablis, then recommend Prosecco and Alsatian Riesling as alternatives. [scratch.gif]. You can only cry wolf so many times before people stop politely asking for details regarding its appearance and location.
Sounds like he's confusing wines that smell sweet with wines that are sweet. Since one cannot actually smell sweet, it is an association of the mind. The real generalization is California wines have more fruity esters than European wines. Ambient fermentation, allowing the local yeasts that happen to not produce as much esters would be one of the culprits.
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#47 Post by Adam Lee » September 11th, 2019, 3:46 am

GregT wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 12:56 pm


The article is misleading even if it does mention the central issue. Grapes that were grown under contract usually are not left hanging on vines because the buyer changes his mind. If there are too many grapes now, those are almost certainly grapes that were grown in hopes of finding a buyer
One specific example that somewhat contradicts this. In one particular, smaller, high-end AVA in California, the largest vineyard in the area was under contract to Constellation. Constellation dumped the contract - simply said they weren't going to pay for the grapes. The owners of the vineyard ended up leasing the vineyard to someone for the cost of farming from July 1 through harvest (guessing around $1000 per acre). At 4ish tons per acre (fairly closely spaced) the fruit that is sold is down to $250 a ton cost. The new person leasing the vineyard is going to sell what he can at between $500-$1000 a ton and then drop any fruit he can't sell on the ground. That means that approximately 19 percent of the fruit in this AVA is now doing to be sold at $500-$1000 a ton (where the going average price has been around $3000 a ton previously).

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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#48 Post by Markus S » September 11th, 2019, 5:00 am

Wes Barton wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 3:13 pm
The real generalization is California wines have more fruity esters than European wines. Ambient fermentation, allowing the local yeasts that happen to not produce as much esters would be one of the culprits.
First I've heard of this. Wouldn't the esters vary among type of grape instead of generalized to all grapes?
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#49 Post by dteng » September 11th, 2019, 7:56 am

Sh@n A wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm
Markus S wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 5:51 pm
Millennials are already shifting their focus. Can't see them buying wines with bloated prices even if they could afford them.
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
Well that’s a recipe for extinction... [snort.gif]
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Re: Oversupply in the Grape and Bulk Wine Market - And What This May Mean . . .

#50 Post by Michae1 P0wers » September 11th, 2019, 8:00 am

dteng wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 7:56 am
Sh@n A wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 6:03 pm
Markus S wrote:
September 3rd, 2019, 5:51 pm
Millennials are already shifting their focus. Can't see them buying wines with bloated prices even if they could afford them.
I see many anecdotes of millennials who do not drink, who do not date, who are vegan, who do intermittent fasting etc.
Well that’s a recipe for extinction... [snort.gif]
It's also a recipe for endless clickbait articles luring boomers to read about the horror of millennials.

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