Are We Facing a Wine Shortage in 2013?

The Press have been reporting on the news that we are looking at a possible wine shortage. The Scotsman’s article Looming Wine Shortage Is A Sobering Thought explains that the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) warned the world was facing a 1.3 billion bottle deficit next year, with global production at its lowest level since 1975 and France and Argentina particularly badly hit.

Wine producing countries across the globe have suffered lower harvests with the only exceptions being Portugal and Greece in Europe and Chile and South Africa in the New World. According to the OIV:

Forecasts from the main European producing countries were down significantly compared with those of 2011. After 5 modest harvests in succession, an exceptionally low 2012 harvest, which has decreased by 7 402 mhl between 2007 and 2011.

Among the major EU wine producing countries, only the production forecasts for Portugal and Greece have increased, but in comparison to modest 2011 wine production volumes.

Countries showing positive trends are mainly in the southern hemisphere, Chile achieved a record level with 10.6 Mhl (+15.5%/2010) and South Africa presented an increase of 4% (10 Mhl). The United States recorded a sharp growth in 2012 wine production, but this was in comparison to the modest 2011 production (20.55 Mhl excluding juice and musts, +7.1 %).”

France’s wine production has slumped 20% to the lowest in at least 40 years after weather damage and mildew caused harvests to plunge in the Champagne and Beaujolais regions. Production in Champagne has dropped 40%. Both Burgundy and Beaujolais appellation wine volume is estimated at 1.8 million hectoliters, falling 27%.

The output of wine for making spirits including Cognac and Armagnac is also down 20%. In the Languedoc-Roussillon, France’s biggest wine region by total volume, production of all wines slumped an estimated 20% and in the Loire Valley, AOP wine production fell an estimated 27%. Bordeaux AOP wine volumes have dropped an estimated 3.6%, less than the 4.5% drop predicted a month ago.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine has said that Italy will now pass France as the biggest wine producer:

This is the lowest harvest since at least 40 years. This year’s peculiarity is the variation in grape weight in the vineyards in most of the regions, resulting in disparate yields from one plot to the next.”

As Jancis Robinson points out the bad harvests have drained the wine lake that had been built up over previous years. We might see some price hikes and a reshuffling of wines on the shop shelves but I doubt very much that we will see a wine shortage!

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