Each and every day more horrendous financial news is foisted upon us.
It is easy to get depressed listening to the news these days. More and more jobs lost, banks, restaurants, car makers, insurance companies, hotels ... just about every single industry in America and across the globe is reeling.
Hopefully in time, the new administration will see the fruits of its labor begin to turn this Titanic away from the final iceberg that could sink it. But it sure seems to be coming closer.
This week, I spent time on the phone with a number of Port producers. I heard consistently that sales were declining in terms of their Ports and Vintage seems hardest hit of all. Fortunately, there seems to be a cautious optimism and some shippers were even upbeat with the impending declaration of the 2007 Vintage next month.
Samples will start heading to the IVDP next week and if approved, bottling can start as early as April 1st. This is very cool as earlier in this decade, the rule had not changed yet and bottling had to wait until July 1st. This relatively new change is great (a few years old actually) and allows the Port to get to the marketplace earlier than ever. One top source mentioned that the earlier the bottling is done after approval, the fresher the fruit seems to be down the road.
In discussions about pricing, few if any were willing to discuss it. A couple of companies did say they would probably not raise prices at all, from 2003, while one company did mention that they're doing their best to remain at 2003 levels and possibly may even drop slightly below that level. From where I sit, that would be great. They can always do an initial release at a low price to get people buying the 2007 and reinvigorating a stagnant VP marketplace. If the inherent quality is there, in time prices can be adjusted. But for now, It may just be what the doctor ordered. We'll see, and I know of many who are anxiously awaiting to learn about the declarations and the first tranch pricing.
So we may see some bargains yet. In the meantime, the LBV prices have come down slightly and we should start to see the "next vintage" for most of them. I am excited to see the marketplace jazzed again by having great young Ports come to fruition. Nothing like a generally declared Vintage to get people talking Port again! I realize I am jumping the gun, but from what I saw of those grapes ... we're in for a good one. However, the proof will be in the tasting of the Ports.