Cava prepares to cut sales due to drought: Grape production to fall 30% from 2021 | companies

Vineyards on drought-stricken land in Penedès (Barcelona).massimiliano minocari

Cava Denomination of Origin (DO) wineries closed last year with figures that set a new record: 252 million bottles sold worldwide (1.09% more than last year) and 2.2 billion euro billings (8% more). . The figures show a strong and resilient sector in a year that was expected to be economically difficult and in which national demand has boosted sales. But there are also two important caveats: international demand is not at its best – and especially US demand, which has fallen 13.5% – and the coming years will be marked by the effects of drought. The lack of rain is hurting vineyards, and in the DO overall, grape production has declined by about 30% since 2021. If we look only at Catalonia, where most DO Cava wineries are located, the situation is even worse. , and where the production of this fruit has decreased by 37.8% in the last three years due to drought. “There will be fewer grapes than we need to continue at this sales rate, wineries will be emptying their reserves and so we will no longer see the same number of bottles sold,” said Regulatory Council President Javier Paez. d’Cava, to present the sector’s results over lunch. Pages also announced that a guarantee provision instrument for base wine reserves would be created to help wineries.

The severe drought in which Catalonia has been immersed for more than three years – and which caused the Generalitat government last February to order a state of emergency for the region that covers eight out of every 10 Catalans – has hit all economic sectors. This has implications for agriculture, too, which is now subject to restrictions of reducing irrigation provision by 80%. The vines require considerable amounts of water, and as Pages recalled, the combination of lack of rain and irrigation restrictions was already leading to some vines dying and others not being planted because the land was too dry. “Climate change affects us a lot, now because of drought. We are working as best we can to minimize the impacts, because we are concerned about the viability of wine producers, but we are more dependent on what the administration can do,” Pages said.

The impact of the decline in production will be seen first in a reduction in winery stocks, then in an increase in prices, and finally in the fact that fewer bottles will be sold. “And each winery will have to plan, perhaps abandoning the least profitable customers and focusing on the most strategic customers,” Pages said. The Regulatory Council will try to prevent this shock with the creation of a guarantee provision instrument to those wineries providing base wine (the product with which cava is made), with the aim of helping to attract these reserves for three To be capable. Year. “We had not experienced anything like this until now, but other DOs, such as Champagne and Rioja, already have these tools. We are going to take steps within the scope of what we can do,” the council president said.

The sector expects the decline in bottle sales and increase in costs due to the drought to be offset by price increases, which it has been doing for some time. DO Cava has worked in recent years to increase the value of its product and measure itself against its competitors. Champagne And this prosecco, “Our goal is to add value to the sector and get consumers to see it. As wineries understand that they have to bet on value, we will see how the price will rise,” said Pagès, who highlights the good progress of organic products (the number of their bottles increased by 24.6%). Another novelty last year was that for the first time bottles labeled Garda Superior Cava came on the market, with a new regulation that sets a minimum age of 18 months, and with a specific stipulation that they be organic.

Last year global growth of DO Cava – which includes Catalan wineries, but also Valencia and Extremadura – was 1.09%, another two points below forecasts made by the council in December. The domestic market, also reactivated by tourism to Spain last year, generated the most sales, with an increase of 4.02% in bottles sold, while the international market remained stable (- 0.25%), leading to inflation. And economic unrest. This situation is in line with what has happened with Spanish wine exports in general, which declined by 4% in volume and 3.4% in value. The first foreign market for kava is Germany, which increased by 4.14%, followed by the United States, which decreased its demand by 13.5%, and Belgium (+5.4%). “The United States is the most competitive market, customers are willing to pay well for the product and Cava competes with other sparkling wines. What has happened is a mismatch in inventories: a lot was exported to the United States, the reserves were full and now this is being addressed,” the council president said.

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(Tags to translate)Business(T)Cava(T)Economy(T)Catalonia(T)Drinks(T)Alcoholic beverages(T)Grapes(T)Agriculture(T)Dry(T)Barcelona

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