Worldwide wine production tumbled 8.2 percent this year to hit a 50-year low due to unfavourable climate conditions, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said Tuesday.
The total output of 246.7 million hectolitres was due in large part to steep drops in the top three wine producing countries: Italy, France and Spain.
“This drop is consecutive to climate hazards, which affected the main producing countries, particularly in Europe,” said the Paris-based OIV, an intergovernmental organisation that provides scientific and technical advice on vines and wine.
In Italy production slumped 23 per cent to 39.3 mhl, while in France the drop was 19 per cent to 36.7 mhl. Production in Spain fell 15 per cent to 33.5 mhl.
In the world’s fourth-largest producer, the United States, production is forecast to have held up better, with just a slide of 1 per cent to 23.3 mhl.
However, the OIV noted that the forecast was based on US government estimates made before the outbreak of wildfires in California that ravaged two of the state’s top wine producing areas: the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
A six-per cent increase in wine production to 13.9 mhl helped Australia to fifth place.It was the nation’s third consecutive annual increase in output.
Argentina rebounded from a bad 2016 harvest, with output shooting up 25 per cent to 11.8 mhl. But it still has not recovered to its 2015 level.
In neighbouring Chile, production slid 6 per cent from an already low 2016 to 9.5 mhl.
In South Africa, production edged up 2 per cent to 10.8 mhl.
There was no 2017 data available for China, which produced 11.4 mhl in 2016