Sales of DO. La Mancha wines rose by more than 7%
With 87,238,193 bottles (0.75 cl size) in other words, a 7.4% increase (6,019,893 more bottles) compared to figures for 2016, which recorded 81,218,300 guarantee seals (back labels), La Mancha Designation of Origin wines continue to follow the rising trend of previous years, taking into account that a total of 55.6 million bottles were sold in 2010, giving an accumulated growth over the last seven years of close to 57%.
Although export percentages have not yet been completed, the final figures for back labels requested by La Mancha wineries is maintaining this very positive line, as there has been an increase in all types of wines, reflecting market consumer trends.
It seems evident that new consumers are now opting for fruitier wines and in the case of La Mancha, this is reflected in the clear predominance of both young and traditional wines, with a total sales volume of 18,688,700 and 51,936,700 bottles respectively, as well as an increase of 12.5% in young wines and of 8% in traditional wines. There was also a 9% rise in the sale of Crianza wines (an increase of 1,165,100 bottles, giving a total of 12,284,200 bottles) and an 18% rise in cask-aged wines with subtle notes of wood (an increase of 206,300 bottles, giving a total figure of 1,142,300 bottles).
In contrast, sales of more classic wines, like Reserva and Gran Reserva, dropped by 7.05% (307,500 fewer back labels with a total of 4,050,900 in 2017) for Reserva wines and by 35.36% (271,200 fewer back labels with a total of 495,700 in 2017) for Gran Reserva wines. However, there has been a gradually increasing interest in DO La Mancha sparkling wines, going from 100,900 to 144,300 bottles, a 30% growth.
In terms of capacity, of the 65,428,645 litres sold in 2017 (equivalent to 88,742,800 75 cl bottles taken as reference), a substantial percentage was packaged in the traditional 0.75 cl bottle format (85,419,400 bottles), but other formats also proved to be popular, such as 18.7 cl (1,973,500 bottles), 25 cl (34,000 bottles), 35.5 cl (810,000 bottles), 50 cl (10,700 bottles), 1 l (368,000 bottles), Magnum 1.5 l (48,200 bottles), large 3 and 5 litre bottles (300 and 2,100 bottles respectively) and 3 and 5 litre bag in box (2,000 and 74,200 boxes respectively).
Less vineyard surface area and fewer growers
Although early figures from the 2017 harvest suggest that the declaration of wine suitable for sale under the DO La Mancha label will be higher than that of 2016, in line with market demand, the number of protected vineyards is also lower, dropping from 162,993 hectares to 158,339 hectares registered in La Mancha as production area (2.85% fewer).
This not a worrying figure, however, as the La Mancha production area has many more hectares, enabling the best grapes to be selected to make top quality wines like the ones protected by the La Mancha Designation of Origin and it coincides with an increasingly predominant varietal diversification in La Mancha vineyards.
In fact, the main drop (3.56%) has been seen in the Airén variety, although this is still the most widely grown grape (99,054 hectares). This is followed by Cencibel or Tempranillo (29,862 hectares), Macabeo (5,513 hectares), Syrah (4,336 hectares), Grenache (4,139 hectares), Cabernet Sauvignon (3,471 hectares), Verdejo (3,151 hectares), Sauvignon Blanc (2,058 hectares), Merlot (1,420 hectares), Chardonnay (1,207 hectares), small grain Moscatel (873 hectares), Moravia (786 hectares), Bobal (672 hectares), Monastrell (589 hectares), Petit Verdot (513 hectares), Graciano (195 hectares), Parellada (138 hectares), Pedro Ximénez (87 hectares), Cabernet Franc (80 hectares), Viognier (76 hectares), Riesling (58 hectares), Malbec (40 hectares), Gewürztraminer (15 hectares) and Torrontés (2 hectares).
By provinces, Ciudad Real (79,955 Ha) leads in production area, ahead of Cuenca (32,494 Ha), Toledo (31,595 Ha) and lastly Albacete (18,950 Ha).
In actual fact, Villarrobledo, in the province of Albacete, heads up the list of municipal areas with the largest number of hectares of vineyard with 14,248 hectares. It is followed by Socuéllamos (13,505 Ha), Alcázar de San Juan (9,503 Ha), Tomelloso (8,002 Ha), Campo de Criptana (6,624 Ha), Manzanares (5,790 Ha), all in the province of Ciudad Real. Next is the province of Toledo, with Corral de Almaguer (4,838 Ha) and Villanueva de Alcardete (4,438 Ha) together with Daimiel (4,589 Ha) in Ciudad Real.
After this are Mota del Cuervo (4,529 Ha) and Las Mesas (4,223 Ha), in Cuenca; Argamasilla de Alba (4,183 Ha) and La Solana (3,076 Ha), in Ciudad Real; Pedro Muñoz (3,406 Ha), in Ciudad Real; San Clemente (3,038 Ha) and El Provencio (2,970 Ha), in the province of Cuenca and Herencia (2,482 Ha), in Ciudad Real; Hinojosos (2,473 Ha) and Las Pedroñeras (2,427 Ha), also in Cuenca.
Bringing up the rear in the group of municipal areas with more than two thousand hectares are El Toboso (2,329 Ha),Toledo and Membrilla (2,298 Ha), in Ciudad Real.
Lastly, it is worth noting that there has been a fall in the number of registered wine growers from 15,532 in January 2017 to 14,963 in the same month this year. This is probably due to plot concentration and to older wine growers taking retirement.