Maria Vicente, CEO and winemaker of the Casa de 1927 winery in Santarem and ambassador of Portuguese wine in the world, writes that “The wine sector is in total stagnation. Horeca-related companies and distributors complain of a 98% drop. The closings of hotels and restaurants together with the sharp drop in tourism, will reduce annual domestic consumption by 30%-35%. Furthermore, the hypothesized recovery scenarios are devastating”.
Portugal’s wine market, a brutal analysis
The Grupo de Acompanhamento e Avaliação das Condições de Abastecimento de Bens nos Sectores Agroalimentares e do Retalho, created by the Government, foresees “very serious consequences for the entire wine sector. The cancellation of international orders (and the logistical obstacles in exporting to European markets), the consequent loss of purchasing power will aggravate the annual drop in sales by around 50%”. Furthermore, without storage capacity, with more stocks to sell and with the next harvest coming, the price of grapes and wine will drop dramatically. The much lower turnover and the foreseeable lack of liquidity in businesses, in a sector that the working group claims to be composed of 76.6% of micro-wineries, “will cause their deterioration, causing the closure of many, with very serious future implications for the whole wine sector”.
Portugal’s wine market: initiatives to increase sales
Nevertheless, there is no lack of initiatives to increase sales and market online: “In particular” continues Vincente “there’s the Mercado dos Vinhos Digital, the virtual wine fair and other initiatives such as Portugal Wine Week, Wine Hour at Home and also the initiative of the Association by Portuguese wine municipalities: 6 wine tastings online via Zoom, every Friday, with the producers. Plus the various Comissões Vitivinícolas Regionais have created platforms to make wine sales available online”.