World wine output seen at four-year low

Paris | Reuters –– Worldwide wine production is expected to fall this year to its lowest since 2012, chiefly due to adverse weather that sharply cut output in France and South America, wine body OIV estimated on Thursday.

Global wine output is set to decrease by five per cent compared with last year to 259.5 million hectolitres (mhl), one of the three smallest volumes since 2000, the Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) said in preliminary estimates for this year.

An expected 12 per cent drop in French production, to 41.9 mhl, and steep declines in Chile (down 21 per cent to 10.1 mhl), Argentina (down 35 per cent to 8.8 mhl) and Brazil (down 50 per cent to 1.4 mhl) accounted for most of the projected global fall, the OIV said.

South Africa was also expected to see a sharp decline in output, losing 19 per cent to 9.1 mhl.

A hectolitre represents 100 litres, or the equivalent of just over 133 standard wine bottles.

A plunge in French production has been widely anticipated after vineyards endured frost and hailstorms in spring and then drought during summer.

The smaller French output should allow Italy to maintain its position as the world’s largest wine producer with an expected 48.8 mhl, although this would be slightly below an estimated 50 mhl last year, the OIV said.

Production in Spain was set to edge up one per cent to 37.8 mhl, keeping it as the third-largest wine producer.

The U.S. would retain its fourth spot among wine producing countries, with output projected up two per cent at 22.5 mhl, while growth was also expected in Australia (up five per cent to 12.5 mhl) and New Zealand (up 34 per cent to 3.1 mhl).

The OIV’s initial global estimates lacked data from some countries, notably China for which it provisionally assumed stable production compared with last year at 11.5 mhl.

The headline worldwide production estimate of 259.5 mhl represented the midpoint of a working range of around 255 to 264 mhl, it said.

The OIV’s most recent data for Canada dates back to 2012, and pegs the country’s wine production that year at 570,000 hl, up from 565,000 in 2011.

Reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz and Pascale Denis. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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