2017: atypical harvest or shape of things to come?

Opinion article first published by William Long on LinkedIn

Now 2018 is well underway and we have had a chance to reflect on what was one of Spain’s smallest harvests in recent years, some people in the trade are commenting that rather than being unusual, that the situation we saw in 2017 is perhaps the shape of things to come.


What do we mean? Well, the isolated hailstorms and frosts we saw in 2017 led to a particularly small harvest, but the widespread drought is part of a wider on-going trend caused by global warming, that – coupled with a reduction in possibilities for irrigation – will mean that mega harvests will be a thing of the past, and that lower yields will be seen across the board. No bad thing in terms of quality, although in terms of quantity, we are seeing demand start to outstrip supply in some areas.


The fact that France and Italy have also had small harvests, and have therefore being buying more expensive bulk wine from Spain, added to producers in the Southern hemisphere not having the capacity to send cheaper bulk wine to Europe, means that the prices have only been able to go one way: up.


Although some areas may slow their sales, the market looks ready to accept a 0.15 /0.20 €/bot price rise from Spain, if this is accompanied by better quality. So rather than an isolated blip, this may be a much needed readjustment of wine availability and prices – Spanish wines have been hugely undervalued for many years now – and with the right marketing, growing professionalism and technical process, Spain could take advantage of the situation to shake off its bargain image.  And that – hand-in-hand with our winery partners across Spain – is what we at Long Wines are hoping to achieve.