A recent report by Morgan Stanley Research suggests that wine consumption worldwide has increased, while wine production has been on the decline since 2004.A major reason is that wine production in the world's three largest wine-producing countries (France, Spain and Italy) has sharply decreased while wine consumption in the U.S. and China has increased.
Many of Delta County's wine grape growers and wine producers have little or no concern regarding the Morgan Stanley report, nor any impact (good or bad) that a so called "global wine shortage" might have on them.
The local growers interviewed agreed that, like all of agriculture, it is the amount of acreage planted, the local climate and/or weather conditions and the ability to hire sufficient numbers of field laborers — someone to pick the grapes — that have the most impact on growing and harvesting the grapes needed for the production of wine, both locally and globally.
Bret Neal (Stoney Mesa Winery) said, "You hear about problems here and there, but for the most part they have no impact on Colorado growers." He pointed out that Colorado has experienced major drought conditions in four of the last five years, resulting in a lower production of grapes and making it a struggle for local growers to survive.
Appointed to the CWIDB as the representative for licensed wineries on the Western Slope, Neal explained that the maximization of produce per acre is the biggest challenge to local growers and that "it was a long stretch, with several years of devastation." Neal said that as a result of those years, "local producers had to go out of state to buy the grapes they needed to produce their wines."
"But," he added, "the 2012-2013 growing season was one of the best."
Neal then noted that Stoney Mesa grows grapes for other wineries in the area as well as for their own award winning wines.
Joan Mathewson (Terror Creek Winery) agrees saying, "You can expect good years and bad years, depending on the weather and other factors."
Mathewson said their small vineyard raises enough of their own grapes for the wines they produce, and that a "global shortage" would have little impact on them or the prices they charge.
Kathy Bradley (Black Bridge Winery) said the report doesn't concern her at all. Bradley said they are able to raise all the grapes they need for the wines they produce and that they sell the wines they produce at their winery. So, even if true, a global shortage would have no impact on their wine growing/production/sales, nor would it have any affect on what they charge for their wines.
Patti Michael, owner of Mesa Liquors in Cedaredge, said she has noticed no increase in wholesale prices or shortage of imported wines related to the Morgan Stanley Report. She did say that some red wines were hard to get, but that for the most part, those were California wines.
Dan Williams (Williams Cellars) said he wasn't surprised by the report. "It's agriculture." Connie Williams agreed, saying the Morgan Stanley report didn't surprise her either. According to Connie, if there really was a wine shortage, "... we could raise our prices."
Connie then opined that the report just might be the catalyst needed for local growers to explore other markets rather than focusing on just the local market.
All agreed that Colorado is such a small player in the wine industry that no one would even notice if wine production in Colorado ceased to exist. Dan Williams noted, "The report might actually have a positive impact on local growers." A perceived shortage just might peek some people's interest enough to get them talking about wine, and might even be the spark needed to encourage even more small [local] producers to start up.
"We want to grow enough of our own grapes to sell our own wines," said Williams, "and the best thing would be for all of us [local producers] to work together and promote the area."
In a study just released by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, more than 5 percent of the money spent on wine by Coloradans goes to wines made in the state. The study also found that the economic contribution by the state's wine industry has more than tripled to more than $144 million since a similar study was conducted in 2005.
The state's wine consumers are outpacing national consumption by drinking approximately 3.1 gallons per capita annually, 24 percent more wine than the U.S. average. This has fueled an annual growth rate of 16 percent over the past 20 years.
Colorado wine consumers spend more per bottle on local wines than other wines.
"We see this as an indication that Colorado wine drinkers consider our local wines as a special occasion selection, perfect for their holiday feasts," said Dawn Thilmany, Ph.D., a professor at CSU and lead author/researcher for the study.blog comments powered by Disqus