Time To Buy Wine Futures?



Ran into it here:


Looks like French Wines just took a hit. Maybe it’s time to buy wine futures ;-)

French winemakers deploy candles, heaters and helicopters to save vines from frost

Vineyards report temperatures plunged in Champagne, Bordeaux damaging shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather


Sharp spring frosts are damaging production in some of France’s most famous winemaking regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, posing a threat to growers’ incomes.

Vineyards report temperatures plunged in all three regions last week, sometimes to below -7C (19°F), hurting shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather, and growers fear a new cold snap could cause more damage.
“All areas of the Champagne are hit to very varying degrees,” said Thibaut Le Mailloux from the Champagne Committee (CIVC) industry group. “It’s too early to estimate the extent of the damage, but the frost impact is worse than last year’s”.

France’s total wine output fell 10% last year due to adverse weather conditions. Champagne was the worst hit, with the harvest down more than 20% on the previous year due to spring frosts followed by other problems such as mildew.

CIVC said that on average 20 to 25% of vine shoots had been destroyed in Champagne by Tuesday, against 14% last year. That estimate did not take into account potential damage from overnight frosts in the past two days.


In the Bordeaux region, farm unions estimated that several thousand hectares of vineyards across the region, out of a total of 115,000ha, had been hit by last week’s frosts, with some experiencing damage between 50 and 100%.

“Today we are likely seeing the most important freeze since 1991. And there are more frosts forecast for the coming night,” Patrick Vasseur, vice chairman of the FDSEA33, the local branch of France’s largest farm union FNSEA, said.

The French have records from the wine growing regions going back generations. We have returned to the more variable weather of the cold cycle. Expect more water damage events and more frost damage after budding; as was known in past cold cycles.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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12 Responses to Time To Buy Wine Futures?

  1. philjourdan says:

    Better specify the wine futures. France is not the only game in town.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Being from the middle of California Wine Country, I’m very familiar with non-French wine… but really don’t know if / where one gets ‘Wine Futures”. I once bought a case of a very nice chocolaty Monterey Cabernet as an investment… but lost 100% of my money on it… it seems that storage in the home results in the investment being consumed in about 2 months…. 8-0

    OTOH, it was a very happy 2 months…

  3. tom0mason says:

    For a more unbalanced, alarmist, and generalized panic about wine growing areas of the world head for a catastrophe look here —
    Umm, maybe Australia-New Zealand, Spain-Portugal, and the US will have a mini boom in the wine wheel of fortune stakes. Also I note that China has a small but rapidly growing wine industry —

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    The somewhat silly part is that wine grapes grow from Washington State to the hottest parts of the Central Valley of California; but it is the COLD parts that are hardest to grow in! Modesto is easy. Washington took decades, special varieties, and some new techniques (including laying some vines down in winter and covering them… don’t know if they still need to do that with the new cultivars, but at one point it was the only way to overwinter without a freeze kill.)

    Heck, they even have wineries in Arizona:

    It isn’t heat that’s the problem…

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Grapes love heat, but good wine requires some cold stress. High heat areas yield wines that are “flabby” because there is too much sugar for the needed balance between tannins, acids and sugars for a wine that ages well and is pleasing to the palette . Good wine requires that the plant suffer a bit. Now for good eating grapes, the hotter the better! specially for making good sweet raisins. As a farmer, If you can grow good eating grapes, that is what you do. If you can’t, you make wine and sell it for stuff you can eat. I’d rather drink beer!…pg

  6. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, the Modesto wines are a bit higher sugar / lower acids than the Napa / Sonoma area. But with picking a bit early and sometimes a bit of blending, for reds a bit longer on the stems and skins, the acid balance can be restored..

    It is both the place, and the art…

    The “suffer” can be temperature, or it can be a water stress. For German Icewine it’s the frost. For some of the Spanish styles (ports) it can be a bit of raisin on the vine drying stress.

    Poor dears, only really loved when on the rebound ;-)

  7. tom0mason says:

    I’m praying for rain in California,
    So the grapes can grow and they can make more wine…

  8. I’m in Gers in SW France, and the frost got quite a few leaves here, too. The stems and shoots seem OK, though, so I’d expect new leaves to grow and not much of a problem overall. With the “wine lake” problem and a lot of people growing wine other than in France, I don’t see any supply problem unless you really want a specific wine and don’t want to try the alternatives.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    The line about wine futures was not intended as actual investment intent… I don’t even know if wine futures exist. It was a sarc; humor line… The days when weather changed general wine prices ended with the planting of global vineyards. ?.

    Love that Dino song. This comment too:

    Kate Wild 1 year ago
    My friends father went to see him in London and waited to see him at the stage door along with a lot of other fans he asked them all back to his dressing room and almost did another show just for them.
    Dean said ‘I was on a train and I saw a sign which said drink Canada Dry so I stayed on the train and did’.
    Don’t seem to make them like this any more.

    Canada Dry will never be the same to me again :-)

    “I’d like a Canada Dry please… and I’ll keep trying until I get it done!”

  10. philjourdan says:

    I once bought a case of a very nice chocolaty Monterey Cabernet as an investment… but lost 100% of my money on it… it seems that storage in the home results in the investment being consumed in about 2 months…. 8-0

    OTOH, it was a very happy 2 months…

    So what you are saying is that money CAN buy happiness? ;-)

  11. philjourdan says:

    Virginia is behind California and New York as the 3rd largest wine producing state. But a vinophile i work with will not touch them. He claims they are inferior. He is probably correct. The best wines come from grapes that are subjected to stress while ripening. Too much stress and you get raisins. Too little and you get grape juice. Unfortunately for Virginia, it is the baby bear of grape growing.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    No, money absolutely can not BUY happiness. (But it CAN rent it ;-)

    BTW, due to the cold of winters and the particular pests “back east”, it is largely a native American kind of vine that is grown. This has a particular flavor it imparts to the grapes (called “foxy” in many camps… that “welches grape juice” flavor element) that is thought “just wrong” in European circles.

    I’ve had wine from many States, and there is some truth to the idea that the wines are different in very significant ways. There is also truth to the idea that I like the Vitus Vinifera based wines better. OTOH, I’ve had some nice Labrusca based wines that I quite liked… but they ARE different…

    Oh, and the Muscadines too…

    The native American grapes can grow in much harsher conditions, and make a different flavor class of wines, so will never taste like a Chablis or Merlot… but I’m OK with that sometimes…

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