Fuligni, my customary supplier of olive oil in Montalcino has not a single drop to offer. Their stock is sold out and their production in 2014 was nil.
If I was a hedge fund manager, I’d sniff an opportunity. By early November, with olive oil production normally barely off the cold press, the price of generic olive oil had already jumped from 2,7 euros to six. In Italy, production was down 35% and in Spain production was decimated by a combination of drought, exacerbated by 2013’s bumper crop which had “exhausted” the trees.
Europe wide, production was hit by a deadly combination of a warm spring, a wet cool summer and the olive moth and fly. Total European production is set to fall from 3,190,000 tons to 2,550,000 tons.
It’s probably a bit late for hedge fund managers to cash in, but my advice: if you have a stockist of boutique fine olive oil which you cherish, stock up on it now, before the stocks run out and the prices go up. It’s going to be a long ten months before the 2015’s flourescent green leaves the olive mills.
For all the dirt on the Olive Oil business, and it is big business, you could read Tom Mueller’s excellent Extra Virginity. There is a lot to learn from the small print of that “Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil” label that may surprise, or deceive.
And in a rare piece of good news for the Greek economy, the production of Greek olive oil (arguably considered to be the nec plus ultra of world olive oil) production is set to double to 300,000 tons in 2015 from the 158,00 in 2014.
I have five bottles of Fuligni left to last me out; that looks like a seriously challenging deficit.