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Climate warning issued as global production continues losing streak

Published:  08 November, 2021

The OIV has put “extremely low” global production estimates for viticulture in 2021 squarely at the door of the climate crisis, stating there is “no vaccine” for the disastrous impacts of climate change.

According to the OIV’s (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) estimates for global production and consumption, the global industry saw extremely low wine production volumes in 2021, fuelled by disastrous weather in Europe. Though the southern hemisphere enjoyed one of best harvests on record, the impact of a rapidly yo-yoing climate meant global production estimates limped to 250.3 mhl in 2021, a 4% decrease on 2020, and “only slightly above the historically small production of 2017”.

If correct, these estimates would mark the third consecutive year that global production falls below the average.

“It’s true that in the last five years, we have had both the best and worst of harvests,” said Pau Roca, director general of the OIV.

“This can be linked to these successive meteorological phenomena, which are more and more extreme.”

Though Covid led to mass volatility in the market, Roca put the majority of the impact on harvests down to the climate crisis, stating that “major climatic changes are occurring on regular basis”.

“These are long-term issues, which will require major efforts in terms of sustainable practices for cultivating vines and producing wine.”

Low production estimates for 2021 are driven largely due to climate issues in the Northern hemisphere, particularly the EU, which is estimated to have produced 145 mhl (-13%) this year, excluding juices and musts.

The EU remains extremely important, the OIV said. It accounts for 58% of global production. However, Italy, Spain and France, which together account for 45% of the world and 79% of the EU wine production, all took major hits. Together, they lost approximately 22 mhl in 2021 due late spring frost and overall unfavourable climatic conditions.

The southern hemisphere on the other hand saw its highest ever production, reaching 59mhl. This would mean the southern hemisphere accounts for 23% of global production volumes.

The USA also grew 6% to 24.1 mhl, signifying recovery from last year, which suffered depleted crops as a result of widespread wildfires and smoke taint.

On balance, global production is expected to be down, while consumption is expected to go up, meaning the industry could see further supply squeezes in 2022.

Consumption saw a 9% increase in volume compared to the first six months of 2020 and 21% in value. Consumption is also expected to grow against pre-pandemic levels. Consumption at the beginning of 2021 was up 4% in volume and 6% in value against the same period in 2019.