France pours more aid as wine sector faces ‘Major Difficulties’

This week the government of France stepped up financial support for wine growers faced with a deep drop in demand after lockdowns closed restaurants and bars and U.S. tariffs curbed exports.

“The state will increase to 250 million euros its support plan to wine growing and we will request this aid to be distributed as quickly as possible because cash needs are pressing,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.

Castex made the announcement during a visit to the Menetou-Salon and Sancerre vineyards in the Loire region.

“The international situation, the health crisis, a drop in exports: our wine sector faces major difficulties. State support must continue and intensify,” Castex said on Twitter earlier.

France has already provided some support, but the wine industry has called for more action.

In April, the European Commission decided to support crisis management measures in wine and other agriculture sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.

In May, France cleared a 140 million euro ($165.87 million)crisis mechanism to distill surplus wine into industrial alcohol to be used to produce hand sanitizers.

Then in June, the government unveiled an additional 30 million euros of support for the wine industry, including 15 million for the launch of a private storage scheme for two million hectolitres of surplus wine, an alternative to distilling.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, France’s wine industry has suffered from U.S tariffs on imports imposed as part of the trade dispute between the European Union and the United States over aircraft subsidies.

Source:  Reuters

 

Canadian Wine Imports Accelerate During the Pandemic

Canadian wine imports grew by 11% in May relative to the same month a year ago based on data collected by the Canada Border Services Agency. This follows a double-digit volume gain in April and a slight contraction in March. For the three-month period beginning in March, the month when the COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared a pandemic, wine imports increased by 6% to 13.3 million cases. This represents an acceleration in demand as imports had slipped a bit during the 12 months leading up to the pandemic.

Spirits also gained ground over the last three months with a 7% increase in volume, but beer imports plunged 16%.

Canada is the 8th largest global wine importer and imported wines, including bulk wines destined for International Canadian Blends (ICBs), represent around 85% of Canadian wine sales by volume. Among the largest provincial markets, growth has been strongest in British Columbia and Ontario. Quebec, the country’s leading wine importer, has experienced only a slight increase in volume since the pandemic began while Alberta has recorded a double-digit decline.

The value of imported wines has increased at a slower pace than volume – suggesting that consumers have traded down during the pandemic. Indeed, gains over the last three months were driven largely by surging bulk wine shipments (specifically from California), which are typically blended with domestic wine and marketed as value-priced ICBs. Bulk wine imports grew by 10% relative to the same period last year.

Packaged wine imports increased at about half that rate with wines in large format containers of two liters or more (think boxed wine) outpacing those arriving in smaller bottles. Italian wines led the pack in the packaged wine category with a 13% year-over-year increase in volume. Demand for bubbles also appears to have accelerated during the pandemic as sparkling wine imports popped by 13%.

The import data suggests that wine demand in Canada remains healthy, but the Canadian wine industry has not fared as well in terms of exports, though they are not a major source of income. For the three months ending in May, packaged wine exports declined by 54% in value and 66% in volume. By comparison, Canadian beer exports were down by nearly 25% in both value and volume while spirits bucked the trend with only a slight decline in volume and a solid gain in value.

Source:  Vintage Economics

The European Union Announces “Exceptional Support Measures” for Wine Sector

The Commission adopted yesterday an additional package of exceptional measures to support the wine sector, following the coronavirus crisis and its consequences on the sector. The wine sector is among the hardest hit agri-food sectors, due to rapid changes in demand and the closure of restaurants and bars across the EU, which was not compensated by home consumption.

These new measures include the temporary authorization for operators to self-organize market measures, the increase of the European Union’s contribution for wine national support programs, and the introduction of advance payments for crisis distillation and storage.

Janusz Wojciechowski, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner states:“The wine sector has been among the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis and the related lockdown measures taken across the EU. The first package of market-specific measures adopted by the Commission has already provided significant support. Nonetheless, the uncertainties surrounding the scale of the crisis at EU and global level, and a close monitoring of the market has led us to propose a new package of measures for the wine sector. I am confident that these measures will provide rapidly concrete results for the EU wine sector and soon provide stability.”

The Exceptional Measures include:

  • Temporary derogation from the European Union’s competition rules: Article 222 of the Common Markets Organisation Regulation (CMO) allows the Commission to adopt temporary derogations from certain EU competition rules in situations of severe market imbalances. The Commission has now adopted such a derogation for the wine sector, allowing operators to self-organize and implement market measures at their level to stabilize their sector and in the respect of the functioning of the internal market for a maximum period of 6 months. For example, they will be allowed to plan joint promotion activities, to organize storage by private operators and to commonly plan production;
  • Increase of the European Union’s contribution: the European Union’s contribution for all measures of the national support programs will increase by 10% and reach 70%. A previous exceptional measure had already increased it from 50% to 60%. This will provide financial relief to beneficiaries;
  • Advanced payments for crisis distillation and storage: the Commission will allow Member States to provide advanced payments to operators for on-going distillation and crisis storage operations. These advances can cover up to 100% of costs and will allow Member States to fully utilize their national support program funds for this year.These measures complement the recently adopted package, which benefited the wine sector through the flexibility provided under market support programs. This included for instance an increased flexibility of tools to control production potential, the so-called green harvesting tool, and the possibility to include temporary new measures such as the opening of distillation of wine in case of crisis or an aid to crisis storage of wine.

In addition, the Commission also launched two calls for proposals for promotion that aim to support the sectors most affected by the crisis, including the wine sector. The two calls will be opened until 27 August 2020.
The commission said it is the first time that it has issued such calls. One call relates to ‘simple programs’, which can be submitted by one or more companies from the same EU country. The other relates to ‘multi programs’, which can be submitted by at least two companies from at least two EU member states, or by one or more European organizations. Janusz Wojciechowski, states that the first package of support measures had “already provided significant support”.

L’uva Bella, Ohio’s Largest Winery Acquired by Millennial Investors  

L’uva Bella, the largest winery by volume in the state of Ohio, has been acquired by Marisa Sergi, 26, and Evan Schumann, 25, through their investment fund, S’quared Holdings.

The winery, based in Poland Township, primarily produces bulk wine for private label and retail channels. It also makes a range of grape and other fruit juice products.

The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but the price paid by S’quared Holdings is believed to be “in the mid seven-figure range”.

The winery was founded 15 years ago by Sergi’s father, Frank. Marisa is a third-generation winemaker and already produces wine under the RedHead Wine label, which is distributed in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with plans to also launch in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

She said she hopes to add further product lines to the winery’s range, as well as branch into organic wine and extend distribution into five to 10 more states.

“We’ll also be implementing innovative partnerships and plan to hire six to 15 more people in the next three to five years,” she said. “We are willing to bet on ourselves, our team, and our community despite the challenging current environment. We believe we can build a bright and prosperous future for our company and our employees by continuing to produce great products and to go above and beyond to make our customers happy.”

Her business partner, Evan Schumann, studied entrepreneurship and finance at university and is member of the fifth generation of his family’s business, Ohio-based metal refinery Schumann & Co. He is the founder of Zitek Corporation and management consulting firm Matrix Growth Ventures, and has also worked for Magnus International and PrintCB.

Source:  Drinks Business and L’uva Bella

 

Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario Chapter Launches “Women in Wine Talks™” with Elizabeth Gabay MW June 11, 2020

The Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario (Canada) Chapter created “Women in Wine Talks ™” as an online platform to promote women in the wine industry. Women in Wine Talks includes virtual online conversations, talks, and panel discussions on all aspects of the industry.

Women in Wine Talks ™ shine the spotlight on global women business leaders, winemakers, authors and other industry experts, with participants ranging from beginners through to wine professionals.

 About Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario (Canada)

The Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario (Canada) Chapter launched spring 2019, and is fully dedicated to supporting women leadership, providing educational opportunities and hosting philanthropic events in the wine, culinary and hospitality fields. Our members not only share knowledge among colleagues, we support talented young women as they aspire to become the leaders of tomorrow in their chosen professions, through our impactful scholarship program.

First in our Series

The first in our series of Women in Wine Talks ™ includes a talk and tasting with Elizabeth Gabay MW. Elizabeth is one of the world’s foremost authorities on rosé wines, the author of ‘Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’, and President of the Jury at International Rosé Challenge.

Date: June 11, 2020

Time: 2:30 – 3:30 pm EDT (EG is based in South of France)

Cost:  $20.00

Registration: https://bit.ly/3gGqhjn

Choose one, two Rosés, or three Rosés on the list below (recommended by Elizabeth), sit back, sip, savour, and learn while Elizabeth Gabay MW discusses Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution.

Wines being discussed (all available at the LCBO)

  1. Muscat and rosé: Banrock Station Pink Moscato or Jacob’s Creek Moscato rosé or Gapsted Moscato rosé or Bodacious Moscato rosé Canada
  2. Historic Italian rosé: CantineArte Gaia Cerasuolo’Abruzzo or Di Bernardino d’Abruzzo or Cirelli Cerasuolo Anfora or Castel del Monte Rosé
  3. The importance of Portugal: Pink Bang Rosé (Touriga Nacional) or Mateus Rosé
  4. Traditional Italian red regions going pink: Kis Sparkling Maremma (could also choose a Tuscan rosé) Rosato, Sangiovese
  5. Central Europe: Pittnauer Rosé Dogma Burgenland, Blaufrankisch
  6. Dark juice rosé: Rustenberg Petit Verdot rosé, South Africa
  7. Indigenous varieties: Karamolegos Terranera, Greece or Kir Yianni Alakies Xinomavro