Where has all the wine gone?

Awash with wine as we are in Hungary, it’s nigh on impossible to imagine that globally, we could be in crisis. If anything, I’m noticing more cellars adding their bottles to the supermarket shelves, which may simply mean that marketing has upped a notch or two. Or perhaps I’m being a little more adventurous and dipping my palette into new waters. My current favourite wine region is Szekszárd; I’ve happily drank my way through the region’s rosés this summer and have even dabbled in a red or two.

As my wine reach broadens, I’ve had a couple of wow moments when I’ve opened a bottle of what turned out to be a particularly nice tipple. Anyone heard of Áldozóhegyi and the Áldozói Aranyveltelini 2003? I can’t for the life of me remember who gave it to me but it’s worth tracking down (and if it was you, drop me a line!)

Hungary’s wining apparently dates back at least to Roman times. There are 22 wine areas in the country which, depending on the day or publication, are grouped into 5 or 7 regions, some being more popular than others. Mind you, I suspect that this is more to do with savvy marketing than the quality of the wine. And, for the trivia heads amongst you, seven grape varieties are said to have come from Hungary, including Ezerjó and the popular Irsai Oliver.

When I read today’s news that the world is facing a global wine shortage, I was a tad concerned. According to the BBC News:

Research by America’s Morgan Stanley financial services firm says demand for wine “exceeded supply by 300m cases in 2012”.

Compare this to 2004 when supply outweighed demand by about 600m cases. So where has it all gone?  Apparently the USA has doubled its wine consumption since 2000… mmmm…. and China is up there with them, too. Thankfully, (and selfishly) a 2012 EU report tells me that my intake won’t be adversely affected by supply.

Sharp production decreases in Italy together with smaller decreases in Portugal and Greece were offset by higher production in France, Germany, Romania, and Hungary.

Vague memories of my economics classes and the concept of supply and demand tell me though that wine prices are likely to increase. Now, that’s not good news. But then again, when I can get a perfectly decent bottle of Hungarian wine for €3, I’m not too worried.

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