World wine production in 2020, a detailed look
This is the second article in our series on the state of the global wine industry in 2020. In it, we cover global wine production in 2020 and the top wine-producing countries. For comparison, you can find the preliminary figures for wine production in 2021 in our article here.
The series on the wine industry in 2020:
The data comes from the OIV unless otherwise stated.
World wine production in 2020
World wine production in 2020 is estimated at 260 million hectoliters (Mhl). It’s a 1% increasenearly 3 Mhl, from 2019. That’s just slightly below the long-term average.
Since 2000 we have had three very big years, 2018, 2013 and 2004, reaching 290-295 Mhl. The worst year in this period was 2017 which was below 250 Mhl, followed by 2002 which reached only 255 Mhl.
248 Mhl to 295 Mhl is a swing of just over 45 Mhl, which translates to an up and down swing of about 8-9% around the average (each direction, so a total amplitude of ~17%). A lot but it is largely the vagaries of the weather.
Italy remains the leading wine producing country with 49.1 Mhl (+3%). It is followed by France with 46.6 Mhl (+11%) and Spain with 40.7 Mhl (+21%).
here are the top ten wine producing countries in the world:
- Italy 49.1 Mhl
- France 46.6 Mhl
- Spain 40.7 Mhl
- USA # 22.8 Mhl
- Argentina 10.8 Mhl
- Australia 10.6 Mhl
- South Africa 10.4 Mhl
- Chile 10.3 Mhl
- Germany 8.4 Mhl
- China # 6.6 Mhl
# = OIV estimate
The first three slot machines are firmly in the hands of Italy, France and Spain. Italy and France were alternately number one, but in recent years Italy has kept a firm hold on the top spot. These two are followed from a comfortable distance by Spain.
Number four is the UNITED STATES. It is far below number three (Spain) but also far ahead of the nearest competitor below (number five).
In slots 5, 6, 7, 8 we have a group of New World countries very close to each other: Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Chile, all with just over 10 Mhl of production in 2020. The order of these four varies from year to year. Sometimes Germany sneaks into this group.
But usually Germany is a good distance below this group of four.
China is in 10e place this year. In 2016, it was number 5 in the ranking but production has continued to decline since then and now, with only 6.6 Mhl, it is far behind Germany.
Wine production in the EU 2020: growth in the 3 major countries
In 2013, we looked at the evolution of world wine production (represented by the 11 largest producing countries). In 2000, EU countries had 71% of world wine production. In 2012, the EU held 60% of world production. Based on trends, I made a calculation at the time on the back of the envelope which predicted that in 2020 the EU would represent only 57% of world wine production and that in 2030 the Rest- of the World would overtake the EU in wine production. This trend has apparently been broken.
But back to wine production in 2020:
2020 has been in some ways a frustrating or conflicting year for wine producers in Europe. Some of the organizations that govern the wine sector (the so-called associations of producers; consortizo, interprofessional committee, consejo regulador, etc.) made the analysis that the markets were weak, the demand seemed to be in decline. This has led them to try to restrict production volumes (as the OIV notes in its comments) to try to keep prices high, or avoid prices falling; not only trying but also succeeding in restricting production.
This is the kind of market manipulation that is sometimes attempted in (mainly) European wine regions. It was to some extent a success. The maximum permitted yields have been significantly reduced in some regions, which has been widely reported, for example in Champagne, but also in other wine regions of France, Spain and Italy. For a winemaker it must have been quite frustrating – 2020 has been in many areas a year of both very good quality and abundant quantity thanks to generally good weather. Good fruit had to be ‘dropped’, left to rot on the ground, to keep up with restrictive yield regulations
Looking back, now at the very end of 2021, we know that wine production in 2021 will fall to an all time low in major wine producing countries in Europe. It must be heartbreaking for some producers to know that they could have made a lot more wine – of excellent quality – in 2020 which could have compensated for the disastrous harvest the following year, in 2021 (see the link at the beginning of this article). article for 2021 issues). But this is the result of “market fixing” efforts (reducing production to keep prices high) in some regions in 2020.
The end result, according to the OIV analysis, is that the volume of production has been reduced compared to what it could have been, but not as much as initially feared.
France, Italy and Spain represent the overwhelming majority of wine production in Europe, and 53% of all wines in the world. So how was 2020 in these countries?
- Italy 49.1 Mhl, +3% compared to 2019
- France 46.6 Mhl, +11%
- Spain 40.7 Mhl, +21%
Italy is again the largest wine producer in the world in 2020. It produced 49.1 Mhlwhich is a 3% increase (1.6 Mhl) compared to 2019 which was however a small harvest.
It is in line with the five-year average, while compared to the very large harvest of 2018 it is -13% (7.3 Mhl).
Francethe second largest wine producer in the world, 46.6 Mhlwhich is a 11% increase (4.4 Mhl) compared to 2019.
This is 6% more than the five-year average, but 15% (7.1 Mhl) less than the abundant year 2018.
Spainnr 3, had a production of 40.7 Mhla 21% increase (!), 7 Mhl, from 2019.
This 8% above the five-year average, but a huge and 25% less than in 2018, -11.4 Mhl.
There has been an overall decline in wine production in Eastern Europe (non-EU countries) with the exception of Georgia:
- Russia 4.4 Mhl, -4%
- Georgia 1.8 Mhl, +2%
- Ukraine 0.7 Mhl, -33% (!)
- Moldova 0.9 Mhl, -37% (!)
North America: United States in decline
The United States produced 22.8 Mhl of wine in 2020, making it the world’s fourth largest wine producer. It’s a decline -11%.
Two main reasons explain the drop in production:
California had a difficult year (again) with hot weather and large wildfires in some wine regions. This affected the harvest in two ways: yields were lower in some areas and smoky grapes were sometimes thrown away.
The other cause is that there is, according to the OIV, an oversupply of grapes and wine.
South America: a small harvest
The three largest wine-producing countries in South America saw their production decline:
- Argentina 10.8 Mhl, -17%
- Chile 10.3 Mhl, -13%
- Brazil 1.9 Mhl, -5%
The small harvests are attributed to bad weather caused by El Niño. Argentina is the 5th in the worlde largest wine producer in 2020 and Chile is nr. 8.
South Africa: recovery
Wine production in South Africa has reached 10.4 Mhl in 2020, up 7%. It is on track to recover after three years of severe drought (2016-2018). This brings South Africa to 7th place in the ranking, overtaking Chile.
Oceanian: ups and downs
Australia achieved 10.6 Mhl, -11%, giving him 6th place in the standings, a close race with Argentina and South Africa. This is the third consecutive year with a decline.
New Zealand, on the other hand, is doing well and reached 3.3 Mhl, up 11%. That’s tied with his biggest harvest ever.
Asia: China down
The only country in Asia with significant wine production is China. He saw a drop in 6.6 Mhl, -16%. This puts China in tenth place in the list of the largest wine producing countries in the world.
This is the fourth consecutive year that production in China has fallen. In 2016, it was the 5e leading wine producer with 13.2 Mhl. Chinese wine production has been cut in two from.
It should also be noted that Chinese wine statistics are known not to be entirely reliable (“are revised frequently and should be treated with caution”).
All data sourced from OIV unless otherwise stated.