Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Global wine production is shifting away from Europe says Cobevco's Justin Knock MW

Published:  06 November, 2013

The 2013 global wine harvest is further confirmation that Europe is losing ground on its dominant position as the largest wine growing continent in the world.

That's the view of Justin Knock MW, winemaking consultant at Cobevco, the specialist bottling company, who has told that the expected poor harvests in France, Italy and Spain will further question its role on the global wine map.

He said: "The real story to tell is the shift in global production away from Europe. In 2000, Europe produced 73%  of the world's wine. In 2012, it was 62%, and this year it will likely drop below 60%. The restriction on new EU vineyard plantings until at least 2016, guarantees it will continue to fall."

He pointed to figures that show in 2012 France, Italy and Spain "produced just 11.1 billion litres of wine, when they might normally produce 13.5 billion litres, as they did in 2005".

This 2.4 billion litre drop in production accounts for 90% of the 300 million case shortfall that was reported by Morgan Stanley in its controversial report last week, claimed Knock.

"This comes as no surprise to many in the wine trade. 2012 is the third consecutive vintage of below average production in Europe, with yields being reduced by excessive heat in Italy, drought in Spain, and poor summer weather in France," added Knock.

He said you only need to look at the bulk wine market to see how the power balance has shifted. He explained: "Spanish and Italian prices at the annual World Bulk Wine Exhibition increased by 20% between 2011 and 2012 alone. Already last year many exhibitors were saying they had no wine for sale, as existing stocks were fully committed."

By contrast New World wine countries are making "unprecedented volumes of wine".  California, he said, has had another "bumper harvest" with a record four million tonnes last year. "Australia harvested 1.8 million tonnes in 2013, the most in five years, and an increase of 10%, or 10 million cases. Argentina's excellent 2013 harvest is up around 20% - or an extra 27 million cases of wine. Similarly, Chile has had back-to-back record harvests of around 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 and 2013. Finally, South Africa has also posted a record harvest in 2013 of 1.5 million tonnes, up from its very large 2012 vintage."

Which means, he said, the New World has increased production by as much as 75 to 80 million cases in each of the past two years.  "Negating Europe's 2012 shortfall. Much of this wine will flow through the market this year and next."

·         You can read a Q&A with Justin Knock on here. He will also be expanding on this gobal wine market theme in the November issue of Harpers out on November 14.