The 2005 Spanish harvest will drop by around 14% in volume according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ministry said that overall production this year would be at around 40m hectolitres – a reduction of 13.8% on last year’s harvest.

The predicted fall in production comes as some of the worst droughts in living memory affect vineyards across the country, with some areas feeling the heat much more than others.

Early reports indicate that Catalonia is expecting its harvest to plummet by 40% on last year. The large wine regions of Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura are also expecting a similar drop.

Producers in Rioja have said that the region should be spared any drought damage due to its geographical position.

Although wine bodies across the country have stopped short of publishing exact figures and are generally in accordance with the Ministry of Agriculture’s figures, producers are saying that high quality should compensate for low quantity.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies