Home > Uncategorized > Plenty of grapes but a shortage of accuracy

Plenty of grapes but a shortage of accuracy

Here is another example of how bad reporting makes for confused readers.

In a recent online issue of The Business Insider was a story headlined “America Won’t Have Enough Grapes To Make All Of The Wine It Wants To Drink.”

Neither the all-caps headline nor the breathless claim stand up to scrutiny.

The story quotes an report from Gino Rossi and Craig Woolford. Craig is marketing analyst for Citi, the global banking conglomerate, specializing in supermarket retailing.

Their premise is that because an oversupply of California wine grapes 20 years ago caused some growers to pull their vines for more-profitable crops such as almonds, the increased interest seen recently in wine drinking means grape growers can’t keep up with demands and that in a few years a grape shortage is likely.

Well, maybe not and here’s why…

Rossi and Woolford write, apparently without their fingers crossed, that “[S]trong consumption growth in the US has meant that demand has eventually caught up to supply and the small harvest in 2011 caused many industry participants to panic,” they add. “This sent grape prices higher, indicative of how nervous the industry is about a growing grape shortage.”

It’s not new news that more Americans are drinking wine and that seems to have spurred a cottage industry in stories about a possible grape shortage.

Of course, it seems such stories invariably originate from sources who stand to make money from the higher grape prices resulting from a perceived shortage.

Funny that anyone with half a sense would forecast a grape shortage, since we’ve been reading stories such as this which says California winemakers are concerned about not having enough tanks for this year’s harvest following last year’s record harvest.

And this announcing Marlborough’s record harvest and and this from Bloomberg saying the French harvest, despite hail in parts of Bordeaux and Burgundy, may be up by 11 percent overall this year.

Fortunately, there are insightful and cautious industry watchers such as Lew Perdue at Wine Industry Insight who saw through the awful story and posted this rebuttal and then there was this from the inestimable Jeff Siegel of The Wine Curmudgeon, who also scoriates the above mentioned marketing types for their hyperbolic “pump and dump” style of writing.

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