Global wine output falls to lowest level in 60 years

Poor weather conditions in the EU have led to a sudden decrease in production

Olivia Petter
Thursday 26 April 2018 15:37 BST
The secret to staying young? Red wine.
The secret to staying young? Red wine.

Global wine output has dropped to its lowest level since 1957, according to latest figures released by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

Poor weather conditions in the European Union have led to the sudden drop, which saw wine output in 2017 totalling 250 million hectolitres, 8.6 per cent less than 2016, Reuters reports.

Last year’s weather is thought to have affected all leading wine producers in the EU, prompting OIV projections which reveal a 17 per cent fall in Italian wine production.

Meanwhile, for French wine producers, according to the projections, which exclude juice and new wine, output could drop by 19 per cent to 36.7 million hectolitres while Spanish production could fall by 20 per cent to 32.1 million hectolitres.

One hectolitre equates to 100 litres, which is the equivalent of 133 wine bottles at a standard size of 75cl.

Outside of the EU however, wine output remains fairly stable, with the US maintaining its stronghold as the world’s fourth largest wine producer.

This is followed by Australia and Argentina, with China taking seventh place.

That’s not to say that the world is at risk of a wine shortage though, an OIV spokesperson clarified.

“In 2017 three of the world’s major producers, Italy, France and Spain, experienced difficult climactic conditions for the production of wine,” they told The Independent.

“However, we have to bear in mind that wine is a product that is stocked, meaning all the wine produced in the year is not or does not have to be consumed in the year of production.

“There is currently no danger of a wine shortage, as it would take more than a few consecutive years of this phenomenon (historically low production levels) to bring us to that point.”

While output might be down, consumption of wine is on the up, with global levels coming in at 243 million hectolitres in 2017, a 1.8 per cent increase from 2016.

The world’s largest wine consumer remains the US, with 32.6 million hectolitres, followed by France at 27 million hectolitres.

Chinese wine consumption is also on the rise, with an increase of 3.5 per cent from 2016 to 2017.

However, at a more localised level, the largest wine consumers in the world might be more exotic than OIV’s data suggests.

A recent study conducted by moving company Move Hub examined wine consumption in terms of spending per capita across the globe and found that the accolade of highest wine expenditure went to Norfolk Island, which is just 8km long and 5km wide and is located in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean in between Australia and New Zealand.

According to the study, the average inhabitant there spends the equivalent of £486 on wine each year.

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