Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The bible according to Michael
Yes today sees publication of the wine buyer's bible by Michael Cooper.
$39.99 RRP (paper book) / $24.99 RRP (eBook)
Here is Michael's Preface from the new edition:
Stock up now, if you’ve grown accustomed to drinking good New Zealand wine at low, low prices. The thirst for Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in world markets is intensifying, but production from the 2012 vintage has slumped. The glut is gone and the five-year period of price-slashing is about to end.
‘We’ll see less wine available at bargain basement prices,’ says Stuart Smith, chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. Smith believes that boosting sales in the $15-plus category is the new goal for winemakers, but given the stagnant economy, many consumers are likely to resist paying more. Foodstuffs (which operates the New World and PAK’nSAVE chains) reports that demand for over-$20 labels is declining and that wine drinkers are increasingly selecting whites and reds in the $10 to $15 range.
Global wine stocks are at their lowest level for a decade, according to Rabobank. After huge harvests in 2008, 2009 and 2011, New Zealand’s production fell by 18 per cent in 2012.
‘Sales will have to decline,’ concedes Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, ‘and we expect our largest declines will be in our most established markets – New Zealand, UK and Australia.’ Vineyard expansion ground to a complete halt in recent years, so Gregan says he cannot forecast any significant growth in the volume of New Zealand wine sales for at least five years. ‘It’s all going to be value growth,’ he stresses, meaning our wines will be more expensive.
If winegrowers no longer worry about oversupply, Chile is causing a few sleepless nights, emerging as a rival source of fresh, vibrantly fruity, cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand Winegrowers recently organised a tasting of South American wines. ‘They are now moving into the same space that we want to fill, so it’s important to understand the competition.’
New on the shelves are rare New Zealand examples of the Barbera, Bianchetta and Marsanne grape varieties. Mission recently launched 500 ml bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, for couples ‘who like to enjoy quality wine with their meal at home, without having any wastage’.
In terms of quality, the 2012 wines will be the usual mixed bag. Trinity Hill, in Hawke’s Bay, reported a ‘challenging’ harvest: ‘lots of rain and cold weather’. In Marlborough, the growing season was exceptionally cool and dry. ‘The top 25 per cent is very good,’ reported a leading winemaker. ‘The next 50 per cent is middle-of-the-road; the bottom 25 per cent is poor. It’s very site-specific.’
Others have been more upbeat. Cloudy Bay praised its Sauvignon Blanc fruit in late April as ‘looking as good as it ever has’, having ripened ‘under very cool skies for a very long time’.