There is optimism about the quality of the 2020 crop, but millions of litres of existing stocks in France, Italy and Spain are being converted into industrial alcohol to make room for the new crop.
Distilling wine, but not for fine liquor
To make room and to provide financial support to producers, France, Italy and Spain plan to jointly spend hundreds of millions of euros distilling existing stocks into industrial alcohol. It is suggested that this can be used to make disinfectant.
Not every region has submitted an application for the use of distillation financing, but search for other solutions like limiting production in 2020 or simply add more storage space.
Government support and yield management
The 2020 European harvest got off to a relatively early start after a warm growing season but is also taking place against a backdrop of lost sales - largely due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.
In France, with a harvest forecast of around 45 million hectolitres, the government has pledged 250 million euros to support the wine sector.
In Champagne, homes and growers have recently agreed on a maximum yield of 8,000 kg of grapes per hectare, or about 230 million bottles versus a more regular annual production of more than 300 million.
The harvest in Spain for 2020 had a forecast of +14 to 15% compared to 2019.
The government announced this summer that it would pay $ 10 million to fund winemakers to destroy grapes, as part of nearly $ 92 million in emergency aid to the industry. This can improve the quality!
Italy has been working on a state-funded compensation scheme for premium producers to encourage some of them to cut their yields.
In Brunello di Montalcino, producers have agreed to reduce potential production by 12.5% this year.
Chianti Classico sales have recovered after the lockdown, but the consorzio is encouraging producers to share cellars when stocks are high. There is also an exceptional permission that producers can store the wines for 12 months outside the classified production zone, in the provinces of Florence and Siena.
Hopefully enough manpower
It will be exciting how the harvest will develop in the various regions and whether sufficient manpower is available from other parts of Europe in connection with Covid-19 code orange and red rules and quarantine regulations.
To be continued!