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Vintner warns of possible wine shortage in 2011 due to decline in production

Several kinds of wines could vanish from shops in the first half of this year as wine production is estimated to be down to 1.6 million-1.9 million hectolitres this year compared to the usual 3.5 million hectolitres due to last year's disastrous weather conditions, according to an analysis sent to MTI by the Varga Cellars, which distribute 11m bottles of wine and sparkling wine a year.

The company said the sector has suffered losses worth HUF 32 billion-38 billion calculated at a price of HUF 200 per litre.

A 20-25% loss in the grape harvest counts as extraordinary, while the latest harvest results show a 40-50% loss, the analysis said.

Already in the last quarter of 2010, several producers announced 15-20% price rises, the statement said.

The shortage will primarily affect the middle price range, not the wines costing more than HUF 1,000 or below HUF 300.

Another vintner operating in the Danube wine region, talking to MTI on the condition of anonymity agreed with most of these statements, though considers the size of the estimated decline in wine production contained in the Varga Cellars survey to be too large. The vintner believes that data from winemakers' association HNT indicating wine production to have been 2.3 million-2.4 million hectolitres this year to be more accurate. The vintner added that this amount would still insufficient and would require wine imports, primarily from Italy. (MTI Econews)