World wine output at 60-year low

World wine output at 60-year low

Industry body cites poor harvests after bad weather in key producing countries

Wine casks are seen in the cellar of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Martillac, near Bordeaux. France is expected to return to the top of the world wine production table this year for the first time in nine years. (Photo: Reuters)
Wine casks are seen in the cellar of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Martillac, near Bordeaux. France is expected to return to the top of the world wine production table this year for the first time in nine years. (Photo: Reuters)

PARIS - World wine production is expected to fall to its lowest level in 60 years in 2023 due to poor harvests in the Southern Hemisphere and in some major European producers, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said on Tuesday.

In its initial projections, the OIV pegged world wine output, excluding juices and musts, at between 241.7 million and 246.6 million hectolitres (mhl), with a mid-range estimate of 244.1 mhl.

This would be 7% lower than last year and the smallest since 1961 when production was just 214 mhl, the organisation said. A hectolitre is the equivalent of 133 standard wine bottles.

“This negative scenario can be attributed to significant declines in major wine-producing countries in both Hemispheres,” the OIV said in a statement.

“While in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil recorded year-over-year variations between -10% and -30%, in the Northern Hemisphere, Italy, Spain and Greece are the countries that suffered the most from bad climatic conditions during the growing season,” it said.

OIV expects Italian wine production to drop 12% to 44 mlh, its lowest level since the poor harvest of 2017.

The tumble means Italy will lose its position as the world’s largest wine producer, with France set to reclaim the top spot for the first time in nine years.

Drought-hit Spain kept its position as the third largest wine producer despite its production set to fall to the lowest in the last 20 years, down 14% fall in output from last year and down 19% on the five-year average.

The sharp fall in Italian and Spanish production would lead to a 7% drop in EU output this year at 150 mhl, the third lowest production level since the beginning of the century.

Output in the United States, the world’s fourth largest wine producer, was expected at 25.2 mhl this year, an increase of 12% from 2022.Cool temperatures and heavy winter rains in the Napa and Sonoma regions of California brought much-needed moisture to the vines after several years of drought, the OIV said.

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