SALES of Balearic wines rose by 6.6 percent in 2005, lower than production which rose by 13.3 percent according to figures from the Balearic Ministry of Agriculture, which is concerned that this sector is producing more than they sell. Miquel Angel Frau, the director of the Institute of Agroalimentary Quality (Iqua), was speaking at a press conference yesterday to publicise the figures for the development of quality wine in the islands. During the press conference both he and the Balearic Minister of Agriculture, Margalida Moner, expressed the necessity to find new trade outlets. Frau said that last year 43'110 hectolitres of wine of Denominacion de Origen (DO) were produced. These were Binissalem and Pla i Llevant and the five types of Vins de la Terra (Islas Balares, Serra de Tramuntana, Isla de Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera), of which 27'082 hectolitres was sold. This gives a production-sales “ratio” of 1.59, that is to say, one bottle is sold for every 1.59 produced, a proportion which has grown progressively since 2002 and which is now at a similar level to 2001 when the ratio was 1.63. In total, income from sales was 14 million euros, some 18.3 percent more than in 2004, of which 71 percent came from the sales of DO wines and the rest from the types called Vinos de la Tierra. Some 88 percent of Balearic wine produced is sold on the islands, 9.5 percent abroad (especially to Germany) and 2.5 percent to the rest of Spain.
Frau did not disguise the “concern” of the Balearic Ministry and the wine sector with the fact that a good part of the Balearic wine produced had not been sold, in spite of the fact that an unspecified quantity of red wine had been laid down to mature. He said he was convinced that there is a margin for growth in the Balearics as Balearic wine has scarcely an 8 percent share of the market, although he highlighted the difficulties of increasing sales to the catering trade. In any case, the director of Iqua said that various studies said that the part of the trade which is experiencing most growth is that of quality wines, with an average price of 3.29 euros a bottle, which in 2005 was sold for an average price of 5.14 euros a litre.