Harvest Begins In Spain With A Forecast Of Lower Production And More Sales

The harvest officially started in August in Spain with the forecast of a lower production compared to last year, but with the hope of increasing sales given the improvement in the market situation.

In several areas of Andalusia the campaign has already started and these days it is the turn of the collection of early varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel in Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and the Valencian Community.

As usual, the harvest progresses from the south to the north of the country, where it will take place in September on the banks of the Ebro and the Duero.

The harvest of the 2021/2022 wine campaign will be 15% lower than the previous one and will range between 39 and 40 million hectoliters, according to the first calculations of the agricultural organizations Asaja and COAG, still conditioned by the weather in the coming weeks.

The UPA organization, for its part, places the harvest forecast at around 43 million hectoliters at the national level.

Less production and more consumption
The estimated drop in production will foreseeably take place in areas with the largest vineyard area, such as Castilla-La Mancha (with an approximate decrease of 15%) and Extremadura (20%), due to the impact of the storm Filomena last January, spring frosts and hail.

Farmers are confident that wine sales will improve after the poor evolution of the last year, marked by the pandemic.

In their favor they now have the increase in consumption due to the lifting of restrictions on hospitality in Spain, the suspension of tariffs in the United States and the lower production expected in France and Italy, competing countries that were more affected by the frosts in spring .

“We hope that the market situation will change because the harvest is going to be shorter than some of us thought at first,” Fernando Villena, the head of the Asaja wine sector, tells Efeagro.

The technician has the feeling that there is “more appetite for the product”, which may raise prices, although it is still “too early to venture.”

In addition, there is concern in some areas such as the Rueda Denomination of Origin for the few guarantees that winegrowers have received to place the grapes in the wineries, according to Villena.

This year, the winegrowers discard, however, greater problems with the workforce, after last year’s experience with sanitary protocols to avoid outbreaks among seasonal workers.

For higher prices
The COAG wine sector manager, Joaquín Vizcaíno, assures that the result of the campaign will depend a lot on the weather in summer and on whether it finally rains.

It stands out that the rate of withdrawal of stocks has increased each month compared to last season, while the “stocks” of wine are slightly higher, around 37 million hectoliters.

“As we still have high stocks, the market is not discounting the future situation of lower production and is bidding until the end. Now prices are more in line with those of last year, although they should increase,” says Vizcaíno.

The UPA wine sector manager, Alejandro García-Gasco, agrees that this year will be a “normal” vintage and considers it “good that there is not an excessive campaign due to the situation that drags consumption” due to the effect of covid-19 in the hospitality industry.

“Prices are the battle of every year,” says García-Gasco, who insists that they should rebound compared to last year in anticipation of a smaller harvest.

In any case, it highlights that prices must always cover production costs, in compliance with the food chain law, reformed last year following complaints from farmers about the loss of profitability in the field.

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