Warning over ‘extremely low’ wine production in Europe due to bad weather | Wine

Global wine production is set to fall to one of its lowest levels on record after harsh weather conditions devastated vineyards in Europe’s major wine regions.

The conditions have “severely impacted” production in Italy, Spain and France, resulting in “extremely low” production volumes, an international wine body said.

Amid the shortage, demand is expected to return to levels close to before the coronavirus pandemic, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) said on Thursday.

Based on information collected from 28 countries, which represent 85% of world production in 2020, the OIV has set world production for 2021 between 247.1 and 253.5 million hectoliters (mhl), with a average estimate at 250.3 mhl.

This would mark a third consecutive year of below-average production and approach the 2017 level of 248 million hectoliters, the smallest in six decades, according to the OIV. One hectoliter is equivalent to 133 standard bottles.

Lower production in Italy, Spain and France, the world’s largest wine producers, would outweigh what is expected to be the highest volume ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, the OIV said.

Western European vineyards were hit by spring frosts, while French growers also suffered heavy rain, hail and mildew.

Global consumer trends were encouraging, with first-half data suggesting a rebound despite continued disruptions to tourism and hospitality related to the coronavirus pandemic, the OIV said.

“We still expect global consumption to increase compared to 2020,” Pau Roca, director general of the OIV, told reporters, noting that first-half trade data showed volumes above pre-COVID-19 levels. pandemic.

While winemakers adapted relatively well to the Covid-19 crisis last year, they were now “facing a much bigger problem than the pandemic: climate change”, Roca said.

He said adverse weather events were occurring more and more frequently.

While there is “no vaccine” for climate change, he said “there are long-term solutions that will require significant efforts in terms of sustainable practices in vine growing and wine production. “. He said the adaptation was an “urgent necessity” for the industry.

The shift to online sales has also helped the wine industry during the pandemic, he added.

However, an expected drop in Chinese demand could limit an annual rise in consumption to around 2% this year compared to a drop of 3% in 2020, the OIV said.

In the European Union, production is expected to fall to 145 million hectoliters, down 13% from last year, he said.

In the southern hemisphere, favorable weather conditions should allow high production in the main producing countries, with the exception of New Zealand, the OIV said. Total Southern Hemisphere production was projected at a record 59 million hectoliters, up 19% from last year.

US production is expected to rise 6% from last year to 24.1 million hectoliters, although summer drought in some regions is expected to keep volume below the five-year average.

The body did not give a production forecast for China in 2021 due to a lack of harvest data, but said it expected a structural decline since 2016 to continue.

With Reuters and Agence France-Presse

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