This may seem to contradict the principle of supply and
demand. But the 2012 California harvest is just a tiny piece of
a global puzzle.
Global undersupply is a new phenomenon, and it affects ev-
erything. From 1979 to 2007, global wine consumption never
exceeded production for more than one vintage, and even then
only slightly, according to OIV (the International Organiza-
tion of Vine and Wine). But in 2007 and ’08, global wine con-
sumption jumped far ahead of production, and the world’s big-
gest wine companies—most with properties in California—still
haven’t caught up.
Undersupply wasn’t obvious for California wines, after a
big 2009 harvest, but it is obvious now. Even if there will be
more 2012 premium California wine eventually, the 2010s
and ’11s are what’s hitting the market now, and those are
in short supply.
N
orthern California finally enjoyed a bountiful crop in
2012 after two years of underwhelming harvests.
Does that mean California wine prices are going to
go down? Actually, the opposite appears to be true.
Get ready for higher prices on many Napa and Sonoma
County wines, even though winemakers were scrambling
for extra tank space just a few months ago.
GLUT
CHECK
An abundant
2012 vintage
in California may bring
unexpected effects
by W. Blake Gray
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