Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Perfect Storm for Finger Lakes

Morgan Stanley Research has released a report indicating that there is a world-wide wine shortage. Based on 2012 wine grape production, the report predicts significant short-fall in the amount of wine when comparing consumption.

What is driving the consumption is the Chinese appetite for wine as the growing middle class is expanding rapidly. China is now 3rd in the world with respect to wine consumption only behind France and the United States.

The consumption of wine has been steadily increasing from 2.45 billion cases in 1996 to an estimated 2.78 billion cases in 2012 globally. European countries have produced 60% of the world’s wine volume. Since 2005, European winemakers have seen a 25% reduction overall wine production, primarily due to weather coupled with increasing consumption the difference has become the shortage.

This shortage, however, has not been felt in the Finger Lakes, according to Paul Brock, FLCC Associate Professor for Enology and Viticulture.

“2013 has been a Perfect Storm – as the wet spring brought great vigor in the vineyards in the Finger Lakes…”, stated Brock “…and resulted in near record harvest for the Finger Lakes region.”
The only issue for the Finger Lakes was the Riesling grapes degree brix achieved to start fermentation – which doesn’t harm the wine quality. “Many of the Finger Lakes wineries are quickly adding capacity to handle the increased vineyard output by purchasing fermentation tanks and barrels”, mentioned Brock.

Americans do consume approximately 12% of the world wine volume, but produces only 8% and 80% US wine production comes from California which has suffered through near drought conditions as well. With the US consumption rate up 2% from 2011 to 2012 and the rapidly rising quality reputation of Finger Lakes wines, this region is bound to experience a surge in wine consumption.

The Finger Lakes has seen an increase in attention by New York Governor Cuomo with several trips to help promote the FL region. New York does lags behind Washington in terms of wine production and wine grape vineyard acreage, yet could be poised to move back into the number two position with increased wine sales volume outside the region to drive wineries to plant more vines.

By Randy Agness