Global wine production drops to historic lowBy Lauren Eads
Global wine production fell to its lowest level in 60 years in 2017, according to confirmed figures released by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).
In its annual state of the market and international trade conference in Paris, the OIV confirmed that wine production had dropped to 250 million hectolitres in 2017, the lowest level since 1957, when volumes stood at 173.8m hectolitres, according to Reuters.
Compared with 2016, this represented an 8.6% decline, which was attributed to unfavourable climate conditions across the EU and included terrible frosts and a heatwave that hit France, Spain and Italy during the spring and summer.
Across Europe, production fell by 14.6%. As all three are among the world’s largest producers, any losses suffered have an immediate impact on overall statistics for worldwide wine production.
Nevertheless, this decline in production was a slight improvement on the initial estimate provided by the OIV in October, when it had expected production to 246.7m hectolitres in 2017.
In recent history, the lowest level prior to 2017 was recorded in 2012, when production fell to 258m hectolitres, according to OIV statistics.
ITALY RETAINS TITLE
In terms of production, Italy reaffirmed its position as the world’s leading wine producer with 42.5m hectolitres, followed by France (36.7 mhl) and Spain (32.1 mhl).
The level of production remained high in the US (23.3 mhl) and Australia (13.7 mhl). In South America, production was impacted by a 2016 harvest marked by the influence of El Niño.
“Wine production evolved in different ways in different countries,” the OIV stated. “While the production of Argentina (11.8 mhl) and Brazil (3.4 mhl) grew compared with 2016, regaining their average values, Chilean production registered a decline for the second consecutive year, only reaching 9.5 mhl.”
Meanwhile, South African production levels reached 10.8 mhl – a 2.6% increase compared with 2016.
In terms of trade, the OIV reported on a “positive balance” between volume and value, with volumes standing at 108m hectolitres (+3.4% on 2016), and value at €30 billion (+4.8%).
“This level of trade is linked especially to the growth in sparkling wine exports (+11.2% in terms of volume and +8.9% in terms of value compared with 2016),” the OIV said, confirming what it sees as the increasing internationalisation of the wine market.
US BIGGEST CONSUMER
Overall, the OIV said 243m hectolitres of wines were consumed in 2017, demonstrating a positive trend over the past three years and a stabilisation of consumption since the 2008 economic crisis.
With 32.6 mhl wine consumed in 2017, the United States confirmed its position as the biggest global consumer country (since 2011), followed by France (27 mhl), Italy (22.6 mhl), Germany (20.2 mhl) and China (17.9 mhl).
“The downturn in the consumption of historic consumer countries – France, Italy and Spain – appears to have stabilised, while the consumption of the United States, China and Australia continued to increase,” the OIV stated.
EXPANSION OF CHINESE VINEYARDS SLOWS
Looking toward vineyard area, the OIV reported that the size of the global vineyard today stands at 7.6m hectares, with that area appearing to have stabilised. Vineyard expansion in China is said to have slowed, adding 6,000 hectares in 2017, while Turkey saw one of the biggest declines, with its vineyard are dropping by 20,000 hectares, while Spain’s vineyard area dropped by 8,000ha.
Despite this drop, Spain remains a clear leader in terms of the vineyard area with nearly 1m hectares, ahead of China (0.87 mha) and France (0.79 mha).
In Europe, only Italy saw its area under vines grow, by 5,000ha.