When the Label gets promoted

Posted on March 14, 2018

When the Label gets promoted!

The writings on the wall; our global wine production in 2017 stumbled to its lowest level in over 50 years, and 2018 doesn’t promise any relief. If calculated in bottles (as we best understand it) that’s 2.9 billion bottles of wine less to go around… 2, 900 000 000 bottles!! That’s far too much for my calculator to grasp, but Google works it out at 483 333 333 cases! (less!?) That’s like inviting 20 friends around for a braai and expecting them to share a chop! (gevaarlik…)

But let’s look at that: if the average American (remember, the Americans are drinking more and more wine lately) drinks an average of 18 bottles a year, and we look at just the top 10% of American adults of legal drinking age, then that’s 24 million people who collectively consume 432 000 000 bottles a year!! That’s a fat chunk of what we have, so I think, perhaps they should jsut stick with what they know best, like beer or Jack Daniels, and leave the wine to us.  Now I don’t know about you, but to me this is the stuff that bona fide disasters are born from.

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If we think back over the years, there have often been jokes and myths going around about how one day we’re going to run out of wine – blah, blah, baloney - we never took any of that seriously did we? Of course not.  Somehow, we trust that there will always be a few bottles on a shop shelf somewhere (close enough or within driving range) and in that way the catastrophe will be averted, right? Wrong. There IS a major shortage going on which means that many suppliers will sell-out and have no more to offer, others will have a little more staying power, but bulk wine buyers are going to have to pay top dollar to maintain their space on the shelf. Funny thing is, they won’t be fighting for shelf space, there’s likely to be plenty of that, they’ll only be fighting to have something to put on it!

So, what does this shortage in wine mean to you and I?

This shortage calculation is predominantly based on the three major producers, namely France, Italy and Spain, but much the same effect is coming from South Africa and other wine producing countries (due to the same reasons, severe weather conditions, and dare we call it climate change?) but at the end of the day we all scrum together in supplying the world with wine.  Perhaps the right question to ask here is: “Well, how much wine does the world drink in a year then?” And the answer to that is… (keep reading, I’ll tell you just now)

But, we as consumers read these “idle threats” and think “So long as there’s wine on the shop shelf, any wine, any shop, I’ll survive this”. That’s the beauty of true wine lovers, they stay loyal to their beverage of choice and will make life-altering changes or even sacrifices to ensure nothing upsets this vital and therapeutic ritual of life. Beer and hard-tack drinkers on the other hand... Now I'm not saying they'll roam when the wife’s not home, but beer is beer and one can sort of assume that the one can cover for the other and so forth… Or they won’t run out – you know what I mean! Darn it, let me not compare it to relationships at all, this is going south, and I’ll get into trouble!  All I’m saying is that the global wine drinking community is under threat and its perhaps time we take that seriously.

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The point is, and I’m finally getting to it, is that the price of wine is going to go up significantly. Everything becomes more expensive because of a relatively understandable yet simple knock-on effect caused by the loss in production. There, that’s how it’s going to affect us. We’re going to pay more per bottle and it’s going to be a rather significant increase at that.

What are labels going to do about it?

Let’s bear in mind that there’s an accomplice to the world of price inflation, and that’s the label. Whether it be a matter of reputation, brand strength, consumer preference, price point and so on, the label is positioned in a very influential position. Remember that labels as we know them, have through the years always held a rather important role in terms of convincing the consumer to purchase, but with the stakes set where they are now, the label will from here on be required to play an even more profound role, and in saying this - the label has just been promoted!

Ask yourself, if you have always been used to buying a specific wine or a selective range and you no longer had that option, what would you be looking for next? – and more specifically, what would you be looking AT next? The label. So, this is where the producer will most likely up their game in introducing you to their wines before you look to another. Yes, it’s pointless if it’s sold out (or successful, depending on how you look at it) – but until then the game is on. We all shop with our eyes, and unless you’re going to the shop blind-folded, you might as well admit it. We shop with our eyes, we scrutinise, we absorb, we quantify, qualify and ultimately, we buy. That’s human. (error?)

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I bet you’re still pondering on that previous question – about how much wine the world really drinks? – I thought so. Well if you haven’t Googled it yet, (which is not as simple as you may think) then I’ll have you know that the world of wine consumers drank a total of 242 million hectolitres in 2016. Ok, how much is that you ask? – well considering that its up by 16 million hectolitres from the year 2000, that puts us at an annual demand trajectory of 0.44%. Which to you and I doesn’t sound like a case for the emergency room just yet, but if you consider that our global production will tilt below 245 million hectolitres this year, and we’ll likely consume 244 million hectolitres… then there’s very little remaining - should someone want to throw a party.

Here’s to our producers, may your yields grow and your following never slow,

may the wines you provide us, always delight us

and never leave us short in the snow!

All readers please note: At Veritas Labels we also enjoy the lighter side of life and therefore our articles are often focussed around the humorous aspect of wine (though our facts are always well-researched) We try therefore not to write as much a theoretical hypothesis as we do to give you something to laugh about instead!

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