Vintage starts in the northern hemisphere in September. It will take at least a few months - and sometimes even years - before the grapes are on the shelf as wine. But what ultimately determines the price of such a bottle in the supermarket?
On average, Dutch consumers spend less than 3.50 euros on a bottle of wine in the supermarket, according to research by Nielsen. "That is indeed absurdly little," agrees wine journalist Esmee Langereis. "Incidentally, to the great frustration of winemakers. It is also quite strange that without blinking we pay 5 euros for a designer coffee at the coffee bar, but do not have the same amount for a bottle of wine."
A bottle of wine costs - without wine in it - a little more than 2.50 euros to produce, Langereis knows, who is also a winemaker. This includes: the bottle, the cork, the label, excise duties, transport, margin of the buyer. Langereis: "In a bottle of 4.50 euros, there is around 2 euros in wine, in a bottle of 6 euros 3.50 in wine. That is almost twice as much, and you can taste it. Everything you spend more than 2.50, is the quality of the wine. "
The costs of the wine itself depend on various factors; the location for example. "A hectare in the Champagne region costs more than 1 million euros, in the south of France you already have a hectare for 10,000 peak."
The cost of the wine depends, among other things, on the location of the vineyard. (Source: Thinkstock)
Wine production in Chile and Spain is cheaper
Whether the grape is picked by hand or by machine also plays a role. "Hand picking is better for the quality of the grapes, but is more expensive - at least in many European countries. Because wages are relatively low in countries such as Chile, Spain and Portugal, they can produce cheaper wines there. Supermarket wines are usually harvested by machine, "says Langereis.
A major cost saving is transporting the wine in bulk. Then the wine does not come in bottles from the country of origin, but in a large container full of juice, which is then bottled in the Netherlands. "Cheap, but it doesn't get any better."
What determines the price of a bottle of wine?
- Location / price of the land of the vineyard
- Grapes picked by hand or machine
- Juice transported as 'bulk' or bottled on site
- Amount of water on the vines
- Way of pressing
- Organic viticulture or not
- Whether or not (oak) wooden barrels
Choice between money and quality
A winemaker therefore always makes a choice as to whether he can recoup the costs or return to quality. This also applies to pressing. "You can press the grapes until nothing comes out, or you can only use the first, tastiest juice. Compare it with the first pressing of olive oil. The yield per kilo of grapes is less, but the most aromatic."
"If you give your vines a lot of water and fertilizer, you will get very large grapes that contain a lot of - but watery - juice", says Langereis. "You can make wine from this kind of pop grapes, but it will not taste as aromatic as wine from sticks that have to find their own water in the soil."
"If a supermarket wine of 3.50 euros tastes like wood, then assume that wood chips have been put into the tank." Esmee Langereis, wine journalist and winemaker
Also not unimportant: is the wine organic or not? Langereis: "No pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers mean more chance of fungi and diseases and therefore a partially failed harvest. To keep the vines healthy, the land also needs to be cultivated with more attention. That makes organic wine more expensive."
Difference in quality
And wine aged in (oak) wooden barrels naturally also costs more than wine produced in a stainless steel tank. "A new barrel costs almost 1,000 euros. If you use new barrels every year, it ticks nicely. 1 euro per bottle. If you find a 3.50 supermarket wine that tastes like wood, then assume that there are wood chips put in the tank, like a tea bag. "
What does all this mean for the price-quality of the wine in the supermarket? "The difference in quality is not very large between 2.50 and 5 euros," says Langereis. "The quality increases exponentially between 5 and 20 euros, because the basic price of the bottle - without the wine - remains the same. The difference in quality between a bottle of 5 euros and 20 euros is huge. Above 20 euros the quality rises again less hard. A bottle of 25 or 50 euros, I would not taste the difference. "
See also: 'Worthless winemaker if you don't make a good wine now'