Portugal: Wine companies see mid-to-high-end wine sales rising this Christmas
Wine companies in Portugal point to an increase in sales this year-end and Christmas season, mainly in the higher and more expensive categories, but the sector is worried about the behaviour of the market in 2023.
“A month ago we were already looking at this Christmas with some concern, fortunately that doesn’t seem to be what is happening. That is, somehow the Portuguese are continuing to buy wines and to buy the special categories and higher ranges,” ViniPortugal president Frederico Falcão told Lusa news agency on Tuesday.
However, the official predicts a “difficult” 2023, considering that “everything depends on the economic, political and social situation and, above all, the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine”.
“We are very afraid because there is a lot of instability in economies, especially in Europe. In fact, in exports we are already feeling Europe shrinking,” he mentioned.
The indicators this Christmas also culminate in a good year for Portuguese wine exports.
ViniPortugal, the Interprofessional Wine Association, said that data through October showed that in 2022 exports reached the highest figure ever, of €771.7 million, representing growth of 1.35% in value and 1.87% in average price, although with a drop in volume (0.51%) compared to the same period in 2021.
The three most important markets were Angola, Mexico and Belgium.
Costa Boal Family Estates, a company with headquarters in Trás-os-Montes and production still in the Douro and Alentejo, said it is experiencing an increase in demand for ‘premium’ wines this season.
“It was a goal we set for our company to increase quality, but also price, which has given us some strength and market segmentation due to the increase in costs of raw materials. We are growing more than planned in the mid-high range wines. There is great demand, above expectations”, highlighted the head of the company, António Boal, pointing to a “growth between 20% and 25%” in several of these wines.
The company highlighted as “successful” the project it launched with Francisco Costa, the former football player known as “Costinha”, with bottles of 1.5 litres of wine at €600, stating that “half” of this harvest has already been sold.
With an invoicing of €1,7 million in 2021, Costa Boal intends, this year, to surpass the 2,1 million, which represents a growth of the order of 25%. Exports represent around 38% of sales.
The general manager of Quinta do Pessegueiro (Douro), Célia Varela, highlighted a “great demand for top of the range wines” this Christmas, pointing out a “demand 28% higher than 2021”, i.e. “25,000 more bottles”.
She gave the example of a wine placed on the market at an average price of €59, produced from grapes of century-old vines and only in “special years”, which “is sold out”.
For Pedro Ribeiro, from the ROCIM estate in the Alentejo, the increase in demand, on the first Christmas after the pandemic, “reveals an interesting change in the national market which is increasingly valuing ‘premium’ wine, to the detriment of more common wines”.
“It is certainly also the moment of reunion of families and friends, of wider groups, after two odd Christmases,” he stressed.
Martins Wine Advisor, a specialist wine consultancy, said demand had risen by 300% in the horeca channel (restaurants and hotels) compared to 2021, the year marked by the pandemic, noting that the construction of private wine stores had also contributed to the increase in wine sales.
The managing director of this consulting firm, Micaela Ferreira, also confirmed “a great demand for top of the range national and foreign wines”.
Enoport revealed that Christmas sales “have achieved very positive results”, to which the special Christmas editions, in wooden packaging and with large bottles, are also contributing, representing “2 to 3% of total annual sales” of the Tejo (Tagus) region producer.
The Association of Port Wine Companies (AEVP) confirmed “a pattern that is maintained almost every year with higher sales in the months of September, October and November in relation to the remaining months”.
However, comparing 2022 and 2021, the association speaks of a decrease in sales throughout this year, “which is greater in quantity than in turnover due to the positive evolution of average prices.”
With regard to Port, the domestic market has evolved “very positively” and has partially offset the drop in exports until October, namely “8.5% less in quantity and 5.7% less in turnover.
ViniPortugal data, between January and October, reveal that, excluding Port, exports increased 4.39% in value, 1.34% in volume and 3.01% in average price, compared to the same period in 2021.