It will be a difficult year for winemakers in the Balearics.

It will be a difficult year for winemakers in the Balearics.

24-03-2020Lola Olmo

Some Bodegas are facing an uncertain future after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of the Hotel and Restaurant Sector in the Balearic Islands.

It’s a situation that Majorcan vineyards have never had to deal with before and many are extremely worried that they’ll be left with a mountain of unsold stock later in the year and some have little or no space to store it, but that's not the only problem. Antoni Bennàssar, President of the DO Pla i Llevant says the biggest worry is that a lot of wines have a sell by date.

“Another vintage is approaching and the wineries are full of wine and some have an expiration date, such as rosé and some types of white," he says, adding, "one possibility that is being considered is to reduce the elaboration of wines this year, limiting the production of the vineyards."

One way out would be to encourage the production of red wines, which age for longer, but that’s not an option for every vineyard, because some don’t have the space to store wine or have distribution alternatives.

Ramon Servalls, Director of Macià Batle and President of the Associació de Cellers de Santa Maria says there are a number of factors at play and it’s too early to start panicking.

“Each vineyard follows its own course and it is not possible to predict what will happen until harvest time,” he says. “There may be a surplus of grapes or there may be a lot less, because of a pest or unfavourable weather conditions, we’ll just have to wait and see. Those who will probably have more difficulty selling their harvest are the farmers who grow grapes for the wineries, because they will prioritise their own vineyards.”

A difficult year

Whatever happens, the wineries do agree that it will be a difficult year for those in the Wine Trade.

"We are suffering from a double crisis,” says winemaker Sebastià Pastor, “the closure of Restaurants and the Tourism Sector adds to the problems of surplus of wine that we have every year after the incorporation of many wineries with foreign capital.”

Consumers will play a key role in the future of the vineyards, they represent 20-25% of sales on the island and only 15% of all the wine consumed globally.

“We are used to years when there’s been a lack of production due to frost or hail, but now there is a lack of consumption. We will support restaurants and customers as soon as they reopen and we hope that consumers will support local products," explains Oscar Roses, from José L. Ferrer.

The DO Binissalem, Pla i Llevant, and Vi de la Terra have been promoting home delivery and focussing on local customers and say that after a sharp fall in March there’s been moderate growth in sales.

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