Sherry vineyards to be grubbed up

Sherry's governing body has announced moves to boost quality and fight overproduction that will see a third of Jerez's vineyards grubbed up over the next three years.

Fedejerez will limit the DO's annual output to 562,500hl, or 112,000 casks, as part of the programme, which is in line with EU wine reforms and has been agreed by growers, co-operatives and bodegas, according to director general Bosco Torremocha.

EU cash will help sherry promote itself in new markets - such as the US and China - as well as financing grubbing

up. Some producers will reduce existing stocks to comply with the new strategy.

Torremocha said: "I'm sure what we are trying to do is sustainable - we are not trying to make big changes,

but want to ensure

the future

is going to be

as successful as our past .


The moves could see UK sherry prices rise , says Torremocha. "Retailers shouldn't be too worried about this this . What we are going to face is

going step by step to a price that is more appropriate to a wine that is aged for such a long period of time, with so much care. "

Thresher Group wine buyer Helen McEvoy told OLN she expects

prices to rise

because energy and dry goods costs are going up. She said: "Sherry is a declining market in the UK . If the production levels lead to price rises then this will create further problems for the category


"For the time and effort that goes into creating a bottle of sherry, it can be argued that

it is great value for money - the challenge that exists is communicating this value to the consumers."

Melissa Draycott, ex-fortified wines buyer for Sainsbury's,

said: "I think the plans by Fedejerez sound sensible, but price rises will always be a fine balancing act with consumer demand, and as consumer demand is generally decreasing in the market then price rises are a challenge.

"Sainsbury's has always aimed to sell good quality sherry at fair prices and we have a very loyal consumer base for them. "

The UK sherry market

Off-trade sherry sales 2007:

£95 million

Change from 2006: 0%

Off-trade volumes 2007:

15 million litres

Change from 2006: -3%

Off-trade value share: 81%

Off-trade volume share: 97%

Source: Nielsen MAT to Dec 29 2007