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Bulk wine prices rocked by Chilean frosts, Californian droughts and a taste for French fruity wines

Published:  28 May, 2014

Frosts in Chile, droughts in California and the Languedoc and the boom in fruit-flavoured wines in France is having a knock-on effect on bulk wine prices, according to the latest data from Murphy Wine Company.

The bulk wine broker, which posts its monthly pricing list on, said Chilean frosts have impacted harvests of certain varietals, and prices for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are pushing upwards as availability tightens.  

Frost on Chilean vines has reduced harvests.Chilean frost affected harvests of key grape varietiesFrosts in Chile, droughts in California and Languedoc and the boom in fruit-flavoured wines in France are all factors currently affecting bulk wine prices, according to Murphy Wine Company.

According to Murphy Wine Company's Anya Robson, internal players in Chile are paying up to a dollar per litre for unfiltered ex-cellars liquid. "The wineries still have stocks of reds (despite the reports of a smaller harvest), due to a slowing of exports to the US following their large harvest in both 2012 and 2013," she said. The latest Gomberg-Fredrikson Report shows that bulk wine imports from Chile to the US dropped by 52% in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

The spectre of damage to vines due to drought in California has faded, with irrigation being provided from the groundwater, Robson said. The budding shows that California is likely to have another decent crop in 2014. But the same can't be said for France's Languedoc, where the talk of drought increases. The big difference would be that a US drought would have come after bumper crops, whereas if the 2014 vintage is small in Languedoc, it will be partially filling empty wineries, said Murphy's Robson. 

Another changing trend shows that between April 2013 and March 2014, France was the third biggest importer of South African bulk, after Germany and the UK. The most recent VinPro report shows it grew 120% on the previous 12 months. This was mainly rosé and white wines for the expanding  fruit-flavoured wine market. Robson maintained that some buyers, impressed by the quality, have returned to South Africa, but others will be tempted by Spanish pricing to go back to more familiar territory. 

Subscribers can click here to access the latest price list.