PROSECCO DOC: March data confirms a positive trend in line with the Consortium’s forecast before Covid-19

As of April 1, 2020, the available production of Prosecco DOC amounts to 2,217,000 hectoliters and, if necessary, an additional amount of 550,000 hl, which was stocked during the 2019 vintage as a reserve, can be added and bottled to face increased demand.

The current situation is therefore in line with the long-term estimates elaborated by the Consortium before the health emergency caused by Covid-19, and the reserve stock of Prosecco DOC will allow it to cover the demand of the market till the next harvest, should the production suffer a slowdown.

“At the moment, we are aware of the dramatic situation of some realities,  particularly those producers with a short supply chain and those who do not operate with mass retailers. As a consortium, we want to express our solidarity and availability to evaluate possible solutions, but I don’t feel the need to generalize these situations to the whole denomination” states Stefano Zanette. “I am very concerned about the rumors spread by some industry operators, who paint exaggerated scenarios for the sole purpose of ticking commercial conditions to their advantage, creating damage to our whole system. These speculative actions are particularly deplorable, especially in the situation we are experiencing.”

Zanette states it clearly, “the situation is under control and the data confirms the expected trend; tapping into the stored reserve stock is a remote hypothesis at the moment: in a logic of long-term safeguarding of value, that wine will be made available only in the event of an actual need for the denomination and certainly not to favor the speculative actions of some operators.”

“In regards to the 2020 harvest,  fertility is expected to be lower than the average of the last 10 years and many variables could still happen from now to September, such as late frosts or hailstorms.”
“It should also be considered that the main objective to aim for in a situation like this is market stability and the Consortium has all the legal tools to intervene and pursue market it.”

In other words, the Prosecco Doc Consortium, considers it to be premature to adopt restrictive measures to both the 2019 and 2020 production offers. However, if the situation does not get better in the next few months, they will intervene immediately and are ready to do so.

The Consortium Prosecco DOC appreciates the efforts made by the Mipaaf (Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies), regions and trade associations to handle this crisis. They are trying their best to provide market solutions and retrieve resources, considering the possible decline of the overall wine consumption in Italy due to the Coronavirus. It’s necessary to take measures to financially help those companies who were most affected by the coronavirus outbreak and, furthermore, to limit the products that are superfluous in the market. Hopefully such proaction will support valuable output and decrease less valued wine productions on a regional basis.

Finally,  regarding promotion and enhancement strategies, under these circumstances,  the responsible authorities should design financial tools to allow wineries and consortia to have the necessary liquidity to invest after the Covid-19 emergency is over, when those who will arrive first and will operate with greater momentum and energy will prevail among others.

For more information regarding Prosecco DOC, visit www.casaprosecco.com

Update – Countries that have banned alcohol sales due to Covid-19

In North America and much of Europe, liquor stores remain open with limited hours. Often busy and protected under the same regulations that allow businesses such as supermarkets or pharmacies to operate.

Some countries, on the other hand, have banned alcohol, others say liquor shops are essential services, and one top official even suggested a tipple after a long day trapped at home can be a necessary restorative.

The debate around alcohol and the coronavirus pandemic touches on issues of health, the economy, worker safety — and whether for some a glass of wine may indeed help cope with the stress of seeing their lives upended in the space of weeks.

While restrictions have been placed on alcohol sales in many countries due to the closure of pubs, restaurants, bars and stores, here is an update on the countries and regions that have gone one step further that have banned both on- and off-trade sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

 South Africa

South Africa, the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in Africa, has enforced strict lockdown measures. The country has banned the sale and export of alcohol until 16 April.

However, the country’s wine industry received a welcome boost last week when viticultural and winemaking work was deemed “essential”. This means that wineries will be allowed to finish their 2020 harvest and work on the wine in their cellars.

Citing reasons for the alcohol ban, the government said that booze reduces a person’s ability to practice social distancing and practice good personal hygiene. It also stated that alcohol can affect the immune system, meaning that those with already weak immune systems will make themselves more susceptible to disease.

It also said that an alcohol prohibition would “limit the possibility of an increase in incidents of domestic violence” and also reduce stress on the emergency services.

Greenland

The sale of alcohol was banned in the capital of Greenland, Nuuk, and the surrounding area (Kapisillit and Qeqertarsuatsiaat) as of March 28, and is expected to last until April 15.

The country’s prime minister, Kim Kielsen, said that the consumption of alcohol makes people “less aware of the danger of contamination”.

He also said that he has taken the decision to ban alcohol in order to protect children and make sure they have “a safe home”.

Aisne, France

Aisne, a département in northern France, announced March 24 that the sale of alcohol from stores was banned during the coronavirus lockdown.

Like the reasons given in South Africa and Greenland, Ziad Khoury, Préfet of the region, cited concerns over violence, particularly in the home, as being a contributing factor to the alcohol ban.

However, after a backlash, this decision was allegedly reversed and the ban was lifted.

 Provinces of Thailand 

Sakon Nakhon banned the sale of alcohol starting Tuesday at least until April 16. The move is designed to curb group drinking at home, a popular tradition among rural Thais. Thailand has the highest per-capita alcohol consumption in Southeast Asia, according to a World Health Organization report.

Majority-Buddhist Thailand already has relatively strict rules that block sales of beer, wine and spirits during specific hours, and others among its 77 provinces could follow Sakon Nakhon’s lead if infections keep surging, according to health officials. The country has more than 1,600 confirmed cases and 10 fatalities.

Banning alcohol would add a tier to state-of-emergency rules imposed by the government last week, under which non-essential businesses are shut and inter-provincial travel is discouraged.

Violation of the rule in Sakon Nakhon is punishable by one year in prison or a fine of 100,000 baht ($3,066).

 

Sources: Drinks Business and Bloomberg

 

 

 

Global Wine Experts Describe Impact of Turbulence Ahead

Wine Intelligence’s global expert network on the impact of Coronavirus: ‘Christmas trading’ in Italian supermarkets amid a gloomy outlook, calm in Brazil and South Africa, fewer Chinese tourists in Australia, silver linings in South Korea, growing concern in the UK and US

How are consumers behaving in your market?

AUSTRALIA: The most noticeable element is that we have seen declining cellar door sales as the normal influx of Chinese tourists during Spring Festival failed to appear. So far the on-premise sales in Australia seem to be holding up.

BRAZIL: Compared to Europe, Brazilians seem to be less scared. Carnival was 2 weeks ago and there hasn’t been much of an impact. Regular people don’t seem to be changing habits, apart from a few people wearing masks on the streets. Some companies are taking measures to isolate employees – McKinsey, for instance, have shut down their offices in São Paulo, because their neighboring office had one suspected case.

ITALY: The first and most striking event was the assault on supermarkets by people filling their trolleys with pasta, sauces, mineral water, and other goods for fear of being out of stock. The director of an important Italian wine & spirits group, who had recently spoken to the manager of a retail chain, confirmed to me how in recent weeks the points of sale of large retailers have made a turnover close to that of Christmas. For the tourism industry, the crisis period started two weeks ago, with an average of 80% of cancellations (especially of foreign tourists), which has led many hotels to close temporarily. More generally, the on-trade channel is now beginning to suffer, both due to the reduction of customers and as a result of government measures to discourage too close socialization opportunities (in quarantined areas the on-trade premises must close the shutters at 6 pm).

SOUTH AFRICA: Probably too early to tell, but so far it doesn’t seem as if there is a major change. I am hearing that wine tourism is suffering a bit, which will obviously impact on cellar door wine sales. We are a bit behind the curve and possibly the fact that it’s summer has also helped.

SOUTH KOREA: We know the damage to consumer confidence is big. But it is not easy to say how much right now. People are avoiding seeing each other face to face, so socializing is not really happening. Similarly, face to face business meetings are not happening – salespeople are not so welcome at their clients’ bars, restaurants or shops. There are not many people on the streets – not many cars either.

SPAIN: So far, everything seems the same. Masks were bought long ago but people haven´t gone in for the “toilet paper craze” as in other places.

USA: Restaurants and bars are already feeling the impact as people are going out less. On the whole, the on-premise will take a much bigger hit. People are already eating out and going out to bars less. On the other hand, I could see this helping online ordering services like Drizly and Minibar and in food, Grubhub and Delivery.com, as people stay in more and order in more. I saw a post on Facebook recently that someone had shared about Postmates advertising a “no-touch” service or something to that degree to further allay any concerns.

We’re yet to see event cancellations, but that could be just a matter of time. The big issue in a market like Las Vegas is that in addition to both domestic and international tourists, we rely heavily on delegates who attend the many large-scale conferences here – Linda Crisman, Regional Manager Western USA, Jackson Family Wines

UK: On the surface, it feels like there isn’t much dramatic change. London’s Tube is still packed at rush hour, and hardly anyone seems to be wearing masks. We’re hearing from on-premise that bookings are down on normal for the time of year, and events businesses are getting particularly nervous as clients are deferring decisions until the last minute. The news seems to move so fast; it feels a lot easier to defer rather than decide.

What are your predictions for the wine category for the remainder of 2020?

AUSTRALIA: The effects will last long after the virus has peaked – consumers will be spending more cautiously both domestically and in key export markets. The tourism business is still dealing with the after-effects of the fires, so it will be a while before we see a return to normal. From the export point of view we are hoping that some of the excess supply in China will be sold through towards the Mid-Autumn Festival period. Vintage forecasts from ABARES (national commodity forecaster) is predicting a below-average vintage size which will help offset the fall in demand.

ITALY: It will be the most difficult period since the methanol scandal in 1985. Our inbound tourism industry has done so well in the past few years that it has reversed the long term trend of consumption decline in the domestic market – we will have to wait a while for international tourist numbers to recover. I am sure that once the emergency is resolved, perhaps with the summer season, the domestic Italian consumer will resume their love story with the aperitifs and the various socialization occasions. Until then, I foresee some difficulties for wine businesses, especially small ones, which have focused on an important part of their sales on the cellar door and have grown reliant on international tourists.

SPAIN: We´ve still to see the worst effects but the summer will approach fast and here it will help reduce conditions that favor contagion. The big question will be whether the tourists show up in their normal numbers.

SOUTH AFRICA: I think the major global grocery retail businesses will be extremely cautious in their ordering pattern against the current scenario. In the local market, we may see some sales lost from people not attending large gatherings/restaurants etc as much, and we expect the conference industry to take a hit. Wine tourism will take a while to recover because leisure trips to South Africa are often planned a long way in advance, and we may not see the full extent of the effect for a year or more.

SOUTH KOREA: Companies in the sector are planning on 20-30% declines in their sales vs their original plan for the year. People are not going to the shops – they prefer on-line shopping. In Korea, we cannot sell wine online yet, but we understand that the government will allow online sales of wine temporarily, maybe as soon as April – it will only be click-and-collect, not full delivery, at least not yet. But it is a good start. I expect that, sooner or later, maybe within the next couple of years, the online wine market will be opened up.

UK: So far the government is resisting imposing restrictions on the public, but this will change soon. We understand the medical experts are expecting the peak of infections in the UK in about 6-8 weeks’ time, at which point restrictions may start to be lifted. Supermarkets will do just fine, but it’s the on-premise, hotels and events companies which will have a hole in their revenues – somewhere around 15% of their annual sales – which won’t be made up in this calendar year.

We haven’t seen anything change yet from a retail sales perspective as yet, but we have already seen a drop off in Travel Retail (ferries, airports). Supply has been rather lumpy as shipping lines have had to adapt their schedules to China and Singapore port closures. Looking ahead I’d say that the [UK] On Trade is in for a tough time, clearly festival volumes are up in the air and in retail, I’d expect local small stores to do well – Simon Lawson, General Manager, Casella Family Brands (Europe) Ltd, UK.

USA: The big unanswered question for Americans is how bit the outbreak will get. We are losing faith in the government response – it seems very slow and complacent, and who knows how many confirmed cases we will have when the virus testing gets to a sensible number [estimated at <3,000 tests completed as of 9 March]. When events like Indian Wells [major tennis tournament in California] are canceled, it feels like we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Source:  Wine Intelligence

WSET’s Wine Education Week comes to Canada

RAISE A GLASS THIS MONTH TO WSET’s WINE EDUCATION WEEK!

WSET marks its 50th anniversary with its first-ever international celebration of wine education.

Whether you’re a novice or knowledgeable, mad for Merlot or puzzled by Pinot, the world of wine is one that’s ripe for discovery. Having awarded over 500,000 wine lovers one of its qualifications since it was founded in 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, is celebrating its milestone 50th anniversary with the first-ever global Wine Education Week. The week, taking place from 9-15 September 2019, celebrates the diversity, taste, and culture of the world of wine with a program of interactive events, all of which are focused on learning about and enjoying wines from across the globe.

Wine Education Week will kick off on Monday 9th September with food and wine pairing launch events across the world at 6 pm local time in 24 countries. Starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with California, USA, WSET is aiming for a continuous 24-hour global food and wine tasting session. In the UK the launch event will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for wine lovers to help break a Guinness World Record – for the largest ever recorded sommelier lesson. In Canada, there will be launch events in Toronto (hosted by IWEG Drinks Academy) and Vancouver (hosted by Statera Academy).

Following the launch, Wine Education Week will continue with more than 450 fun, educational events in 46 countries to encourage consumers to learn more about wine and to drink ‘better’. With sessions ranging from ‘Deciphering Wine Labels’ to ‘Matches Made In Heaven’ – and ‘World Wine Monopoly’, the events will help attendees make wiser choices when choosing a bottle and to discover the delights of lesser-known wines they might not have tasted before. In Canada WSET course providers are organizing 15 events in five locations over Wine Education Week:

12/9/19 Calgary Finding the perfect match CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
13/9/19 Calgary Deciphering wine Labels CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
14/9/19 Calgary Vine to glass CO.OP Wine Spirits Beer
9/9/19 Toronto Wine Quiz IWEG Drinks Academy
11/9/19 Toronto Cabernet and red blends IWEG Drinks Academy
12/9/19 Toronto Ontario wine masterclass IWEG Drinks Academy
9/9/19 Vancouver Secrets to great food & wine pairing Statera Academy
10/9/19 Guelph, ON Finding the perfect match University of Guelph
11/9/19 Guelph, ON Vine to glass University of Guelph
12/9/19 Guelph, ON Deciphering wine labels University of Guelph
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Finding the perfect match VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Deciphering wine labels VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Vine to glass VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Mastering maturation VinoZen
10/9/19 Burnaby, BC Wine trivia night VinoZen

WSET CEO Ian Harris comments: “Wine Education Week is a celebration of our mission to inspire and inform wine lovers across the world. With exciting events taking place everywhere from New Zealand to Thailand to Mexico and, of course, our home in the UK, I can’t think of a better way to mark WSET’s 50th anniversary and the progress we have made in wine education over the last half-century.”

Full details about Wine Education Week and the events taking place can be found at http://www.wineeducationweek.com .

Cognac XO classification to rise to 10 years

 

 

The BNIC (BNIC Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) has recently announced that the classification for XO Cognac is set to change on April 1, 2018.

What does this mean?

This means that the youngest eau-de-vie included in a blended Cognac labelled XO* must be aged in barrels for at least 10 years, instead of the 6 years previously required.

 

A statement from BNIC recently explained that: “The new measure aims align the regulation and the market reality, and also to extend the quality positioning of XO (XO covering ‘Out of Age’, ‘Extra’, ‘Ancestral’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Imperial’ designations as well).”

The change was first raised back in 2011 and the interim has been to allow brands to adapt to the change, although the BNIC also noted that many were already using 10-year-old eaux-de-vie for their XOs.

If a producer has not sold through its stocks of younger XO, any spirits classified as XO bottled by 31 March (though not yet shipped) that contain spirit of six, seven, eight or nine years will be allowed to be sold until March 31, 2019. Producers wishing to take advantage of this however will have to make a declaration to the BNIC.

The designation of ‘Napoleon’ Cognac will remain unchanged with the minimum required age of the spirit used being six years.