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mardi, 12 novembre 2013



Claude Gilois

For some of us the worst news of the month has been the announcement by Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, of an imminent shortage of wine. It is probably worth mentioning that the investment bank has registered the biggest loss of all banks with subprime loans (8.8 million US $) and since 2011 has been under investigation by the American government for selling junked credit loans. It is worth noting that Morgan Stanley specialises in currency analyses not wine. If one looks carefully at the report, it becomes obvious that it is not about global shortage of wines but mainly concerns the perceived increase (real of fictive) demand for Australian wines in the coming year and its front runner company Treasury Wine Estates has a prime spot in this report.


It would appear  Treasury Wine Estates could well be the initiator of this document and it is indeed Morgan Stanley Australia who compiled the report.  Strangely enough, in June 2013, Treasury Wine Estates was forced to destroy $35 million worth of out of date wine and to consent $40 million discount on existing stock to move the wine before it became undrinkable. So in six months we would have gone from a situation of oversupply to one of shortage of wine; strange… do you not think? .


It terms of statistical analyses and forecasting of wines, the reference organisation is undoubtedly the OIV[1]; let us examine their data of production and consumption.










Looking at this data, it is difficult to conclude that the world is facing an imminent shortage of wine. You only need to see a few producers and consult a few wine merchants to conclude that we are far from the mad years of the 1980s and the 1990s.


So how did Morgan Stanley arrive at such a conclusion with data that suggests the contrary?   Very simply by using a few manipulations well known to statisticians which prompted Disraeli, the English prime minister to declare: ‘there are lies, dammed lies…. and statistics…’. or expressed in a more poetic fashion: ‘Statistics are like the mini-skirt, it hides the essential, but it gives an idea’.


  1. Morgan Stanley does not give any explanation as to why their forecast for production in 2013 is much lower that that of the OIV and in their final graph they have simply removed the production for 2013, which the OIV estimates to increase between 7 and 11%.
  2. The units of measure used from the production and consumption are different. The OIV uses their base unit as 100 million of hectoliters while Morgan Stanley uses a 9 million hectoliters unit. By reducing the base unit you amplify the differences and give an illusion that they are in fact much bigger than they are.  So when Morgan Stanley speaks of a deficit of 300 million  cases it concerns a mere 33 million hectolitres, a quantity that a Pantagruel from Rabelais (for the most Francophile of readers) would have little difficulty in absorbing in a year.



So, in conclusion, Morgan Stanley produced a beautifully crafted graph which has very little to do with the reality as presented by the OIV.





The vast majority of journalists were misled by a propaganda document from a communication agency as being a scientific publication and they were only too happy to relay this sensational news.

One way to redress the negative image of the destruction and discount of wine by Treasury Wine Estates and preparing the opinion to a strategy based on scarcity and price rise for the next onslaught of their markets. 

Clever trick… poor journalism..



[1] OIV Organisation Internationale  de la Vigne et du Vin

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