World wine volumes down to four year low as bad weather hits vintages around the globe
The overall global wine production for 2016 is going to be 5% smaller after adverse weather conditions have hit most parts of the southern hemisphere.
The situation has been seen as further evidence of climate change, with South American countries, including Chile and Argentina particularly badly hit.
The estimates have been made by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). It has issued a report that said the total wine production for the year is set to decrease by 5% to 259.5m hectolitres (mhl), making it one of the lowest production years in the past two decades and the smallest since 2012.
The study has already been seized upon by wine commentators as proof that the world of wine is changing and that future vintages could also be very different to the average harvests we have seen in the last few decades.
Italy is down to have the biggest overall harvest, followed by France, despite all its problems with frost and rain which means its vintage is going to be at least 12% down on normal to 41.9mhl.
The remaining top six countries are Spain, US, Australia and China.
Argentina is set to be down 35% to 8.8 mhl and Brazil 50% down to 1.4 mhl. Chile is also down 21% on average, but that still makes it the seventh-biggest producer of wine.
South Africa is set to report a 19% fall, but the news is better for Australia and New Zealand, which are expected to increase production by 5% and 35% respectively.
The New Zealand figures would put it near a record it set in 2014.
On the other side of the water things are looking up, as the USA grew by two percent, churning out 22.5 million hectolitres.
The Czech Republic is expected to have a good quality vintage but production may decline to 550,000 hectolitres – a huge drop compared to 740,000 in 2015.
Jean-Marie Aurand, chief executive of the OIV, said: “The El Niño climate phenomenon seems to be back in Latin America, where production was affected by fairly exceptional weather, with lots of rain.”