Corpinnat sails on despite fall in sales

Corpinnat reports a19 percent decline but stays optimistic.

 Xavier Gramona (left) and Ton Mata, Chairmen of Corpinnat
Xavier Gramona (left) and Ton Mata, Chairmen of Corpinnat

Corpinnat, the breakaway association of prestigious Catalan sparkling wine producers in the Penedes wine region, has announced a 19 percent fall in sales to €16.8m in 2020 as a result of Covid-19 restrictions on restaurant businesses.

“Our gastronomic wines have suffered as restaurants are the main channel of sales,” said Xavier Gramona, Chairman of Corpinnat. A greater fall in the number of bottles sold last year - down 22 percent to 1.7 million bottles - compared to the fall in sales showed, however, that “wine sales of a certain quality had been maintained,” Gramona said.

Gramona was speaking alongside Ton Mata, owner of Corpinnat producer Recaredo, at a digital press conference on Monday in which Corpinnat unveiled its first economic and social report since its launch three years ago. Highlighting the value of Corpinnat sparkling wines, Gramona announced that Corpinnat bottles were sold at the average price of €17 per bottle last year, a higher price than most Cava wines. More than 80 percent of Corpinnat wines are aged longer than 30 months. Operating under the strictest sparkling wine production rules in Spain, all Corpinnat wines are organic and vinified entirely by each producer and must be aged for at least 18 months and contain a maximum level of 90mg/l of sulphur.

Corpinnat broke away from the Cava Denominacion de Origen in 2018, having created its own quality EU brand which aims to create greater value throughout the production chain. Its ten producers work with environmentally (including organic and biodynamic viticulture) and economically sustainable practices including the establishment of the first ever minimal grape price for growers in Spain of €0.70 per kilo. Elsewhere in the Penedes, the fall of grape prices (to as low as €0.30 per kilo) paid by large Cava producers prompted growers to take strike action in 2019.

During the pandemic, several Corpinnat producers including Recaredo have been selling wines directly online and Gramona has launched Amuse competitions for temporarily unemployed chefs to create dishes to pair with its wines. Meanwhile, in a new initiative this summer, 56 restaurants in Catalonia have signed up for the first Corpinnat Gastronomy Festival, where restaurants will serve meals at Corpinna wineries between mid-June and Mid-August.

Despite a fall in sales last year, Gramona said Corpinnat had, during the past three years, consolidated its market position in the quality sparkling wines market. “Over the past three years, Corpinnat has helped us to communicate and explain to the trade that sparkling wine from Spain can be very serious. There is more than entry level Cava,” Ana Lopez, Gramona’s export manager told Meininger’s. 

In 2020, Corpinnat wines were exported to 55 countries including Germany, Britain, the US, Canada and Japan. Exports accounted for 19.8 percent of sales last year. 

Barnaby Eales

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