Government-owned Tokaj Crown Estates (TCE) has today announced the grape prices to be paid to their contract suppliers during this year's harvest. The announcement was made by CEO Gergely Goreczky at a dedicated press conference at TCE's head office in Tolcsva. Also on the press conference panel were TCE's Chief Winemaker Károly Áts and Miklós Prácser, the President of the Council of Wine Communities (CWC) in the Tokaj region. The new system, introduced as part of TCE's renewal efforts, offers different prices based on the condition (i.e. botrytis-affected or non-botrytised) and sugar content of grapes supplied, thus incentivising the production of the highest possible quality of grapes.
While prices remain largely unchanged from last year's at a maximum of 120 HUF [0.4 EUR] per kilogram (kg) in the below 25.3 Degrees Brix (ºBx) category for non-botrytised grapes, good quality botrytis-affected berries above 28.7 ºBx will fetch a price of 250 HUF [0.8 EUR], representing a roughly 25 per cent increase from the maximum rate in 2013. Grape producers under the newly-launched Premium Producer Programme (PPP), which stipulates more stringent controls and stricter yield limits (of 10 tonnes per hectare for the 21 to 22 ºBx category and 8 tonnes for the above 26.5 ºBx category), will earn 350 HUF (1.1 EUR) for each kg of high quality grapes with a sugar content exceeding 28.7 ºBx. The PPP currently covers roughly 10% of the vineyard areas TCE purchases grapes from.
By far the region's largest wine producer, TCE has contracts with close to 2000 local smallholders for buying up grapes from around 1000 hectares, nearly one sixth of the total area under vine in the Tokaj region. This means that the prices TCE decides to purchase grapes at in any given year always have a substantial influence on the development of grape prices in the entire region.
Despite this increase, however, grape prices still remain very low in an international comparison and particulary with a view to concurrent efforts to reinforce Tokaji as a global luxury brand. As Miklós Prácser told Tokaj Today after the conference, the CWC is committed to tying grape prices to the average market price of wines in four years' time in keeping with established practice elsewhere, such as in France's Champagne region. Prices are hoped to follow a steady upward trend over the coming decade.
Below is the grape price table, originally published in Hungarian by TCE.
|Tokaj Crown Estates' Grape Purchase Prices in EUR per Kilogram for 2014*|
|18.8-20.9 ºBx||21-25.3 ºBx||25.4-26.4 ºBx||26.5-28.6 ºBx||over 28.7 ºBx|
|Healthy grapes, non-botrytised**||0.25 EUR||0.40 EUR||–||–||–|
|Partly botrytis-affected grapes**||0.19 EUR||0.22 EUR||0.47 EUR||0.64 EUR||0.80 EUR|
|Premium Producer Programme||–||0.53 EUR||–||0.90 EUR||1.10 EUR|
|Sárgamuskotály [Muscat Blanc]||0.35 EUR||0.47 EUR||0.64 EUR||0.80 EUR|
|Aszú [botrytised]berries, 1st Class||7.64 EUR|
|Aszú [botrytised]berries, 2nd Class||6.37 EUR|
* Hungarian Must Degree values have been converted into Brix values by multiplication with 1.106 and HUF prices to EUR at the current exchange rate of HUF 314 HUF to EUR for ease of interpretation.
** Including the varieties Furmint, Hárslevelű, Zéta and Kabar