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World wine production 2023: Lowest since 1961

Global wine output will be the lowest since 1961 after ’extreme climatic conditions’ impacted all major producing regions, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine estimates.

World wine production is set to fall 7% this year to the lowest since 1961 after extreme weather impacted all major growing regions, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

The world is expected to produce around 244 million hl of wine in 2023, from last year’s 262 million hl, which was already below average, the OIV said in a presentation on Tuesday. Growers in major producing regions were hit by everything from drought and flooding to wildfires and fungal disease.

Wine grapes are highly sensitive to climate disruption, and growers are seeing the effects on their vines, with changes to the growing cycle and more frequent extreme weather events. This year saw multiple climate-related records, from the hottest month ever measured, to unprecedented heatwaves, wildfires and rainfall events, according to the United Nations.

‘Once again extreme climatic conditions such as early frost, heavy rainfall and drought have significantly impacted the output of the world vineyard,’ Giorgio Delgrosso, the OIV’s head of statistics, said in an online presentation. ‘Meteorological anomalies are becoming the new normality, and this is without any doubt one of the most relevant challenges for the wine sector.’

European Union wine production is estimated to fall 7% to 150 million hl, the third-lowest volume this century, according to the OIV. Southern Hemisphere production is predicted to fall 19% to 45 million hl, the lowest since 2003.

Europe faced a range of weather issues, with only a few countries registering good conditions and average or above-average volumes, according to Delgrosso. Some countries faced fungal pressure after a rainy spring, while storms and hail caused floods and damage in the vineyards. In the south of the EU, severe droughts caused water stress for the vines.

Italy’s wine volume is estimated to fall 12% to the lowest since 2017, with downy mildew ravaging vineyards in the country’s centre and south. Spanish production is seen falling 14% to a 20-year low as the result of a severe drought. Of the world’s big three producers, only France recorded relatively stable production, even as vineyards in the south and southwest suffered damage from drought and downy mildew

Among smaller European producers, the situation is ‘particularly worrying’ in Greece, where production volume fell 45%, a combination of grape diseases and drought that severely damaged the vineyard, Delgrosso said.

Chile, Australia and Argentina recorded production declines of 20% or more. Growers in Chile were hit by drought and wildfires, while Australia faced a combination of persistent rainfall, unusually cold temps and floods caused by the effects of the La Niña weather phenomenon, as well as yield caps to reduce oversupply.

US wine production is seen rising 12% this year, as cool temperatures and heavy winter rains in the Napa and Sonoma regions brought much-needed moisture to the vines there, after several years of droughts, according to the OIV.

Low global production this year could bring a certain equilibrium to the world wine market, according to Delgrosso. With the economic and geopolitical context ‘complicated’ and inflation remaining high, world wine consumption has been falling and stocks are rising in many regions.

‘From a more global perspective, the world of wine has faced a series of unprecedented crises in the last three years that are having a significant impact, and that will probably lead to some structural changes in the sector,’ Delgrosso said.

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