Sunday, December 08, 2013

Associated Press: Pennsylvania Wineries Thrive as Global Supply Struggles

Published: November 12, 2013 12:01 AM EST
Updated: November 12, 2013 5:41 AM EST
Pennsylvania wineries boom as global supply struggles

PINE GROVE -- A global wine shortage may be looming, but local wineries will have more than enough to go around.

According to a report released Monday by Morgan Stanley Research, the global supply of wine in 2012 fell to about 300 million cases. A decade ago, the industry produced an excess of 600 million cases.

Global production has been in a decline since it peaked in 2004, while demand in the U.S. and China has been booming.

The U.S. consumes about 12 percent of the world's wine but only produces about 8 percent of it. Consumption continues to grow, rising 2 percent in 2012. China's consumption has quadrupled over the last five years and will soon overtake France as the world's top buyer.

Local wineries will probably remain unaffected by the shortage while larger producers may see it as an opportunity to start exporting.

"It could be a positive thing because if there is a global shortage then it is going to be price increases," Sarah Troxell, winemaker at Galen Glen Vineyard and Winery, in Andreas, said Wednesday. "A lot of the local wineries have great quality wine and reasonable prices."
Troxell said demand has been growing locally, but supply has been able to keep up.

"Each year we need more, but our vineyard is filling that," she said.

Galen Glen has a 20-acre vineyard and adds new sections each year, she said. Local producers also control their own prices because they grow just about everything they sell, she said.

Ralph Heffner and his apprentice, Steven Agosti, had more than enough grapes to press Wednesday afternoon at Jersey Acres Farms in Pine Grove.

"It's all about quality," Heffner said about the price of wine.

Heffner is the owner of Stone Mountain Wine Cellars, which he operates on his farm. He only started selling wine about nine years ago and the business remains focused on the local market.

"I think the state stores would have to raise all their prices before small stores have to increase theirs," Agosti said.

Production in Europe, which still makes up 60 percent of the global market, fell 10 percent in 2012. Poor weather this year means production is likely to decrease even further. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania wineries have had a great harvest.
"We had an excellent crop this year," Troxell said. "All of the tanks in the wine cellar are full of new wine."

The wine will age, clear and settle before being ready to bottle next year, she said.

While local wineries see a lot of out-of-state visitors, most are not ready to start exporting.

"As a small winery, we don't export out of state but I imagine there are some opportunities there," Troxell said. "At one point we may look into that."

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