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Bordeaux's 2014 wine harvest to be up 50% on last year

Published:  18 August, 2014

Bordeaux's upcoming wine grape harvest should see a return to normal for the region, with forecasts placing it as coming in at 5.6 million hectolitres. 

2013 production in Bordeaux was down by one third on 2012's already small crop, so if predictions are accurate, this year's crop would be up 50% compared to last year. 

Gavin Quinney, owner of Chateau Bauduc in the Bordeaux region, said: "Bordeaux 2014 should see a return to a regular crop of between 5.4 to 6 million hectolitres. That's about the same size as, say, 2007, 2009, 2010 or 2011. Hopefully with the quality of the middle two." 

"The 2013 harvest was 27% down for Bordeaux compared to 2012, which was a small crop anyway. We should see a return to a normal crop for 2014 - if there is such a thing as normal.  

"Prices for bulk wine increased considerably for 2013 and quality was, at best, 'mixed', so with any luck prices for regular Bordeaux will come back to an attractive level for good quality stuff," he added.

Justin Gibbs, co-founder of Liv-ex, told it was difficult to say what kind of impact the increased crop size would have, especially given the weather in August. "It is in everyone's interest to have a decent sized crop in Bordeaux this year - the market remains soft, the inclination to buy en primeur, weak. Quality considerations aside, if the chateaux can produce enough wine to allow them to reduce their prices to a level that garners interest from traditional buyers here in the UK and perhaps in the US, then everyone will be happy. If the crop is small, the chateaux will struggle to reduce and buyers will remain on the side-lines.

According to a report from the Ciatti Company, the latest crop size estimates for France as a whole - to the end of July - place the total crop up 9.5% to 46.4 million hectolitres. The group said this figure would be "in?line with the five?year production average".

However, the situation varies significantly across the regions. Languedoc is forecast to be down from 13.6 million hl to 12.6 million hl, thanks to a combination of hailstorms and drought. Ciatti said: "This could potentially lead to a fast buying campaign start for varietal wines." 

But most of France's top AOP producing regions - including Cotes du Rhone, Loire and Bordeaux "should register a bigger crop compared to last year".

"This will allow producers and negociants to re?build a naturally needed carry over stock, thus helping to soften the market in terms of price and inventory. Market pricing overall should be at a mid?buying campaign level, but certainly slightly higher than 2013," the report added.