SOUR GRAPES: Wine shortage forecasted after 2021’s ‘extreme low’ production

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Wine makers around the world are bracing wine lovers of the likelihood of a shortage in the coming months.

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The impending global shortage is due to inclement weather, particularly in Europe’s wine-producing regions, as well as a lack of supplies that resulted in “extremely low” product volumes.

The brutal weather conditions “severely impacted” production in Italy, Spain and France, according to a report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) issued on Thursday.

“The 2021 wine production can be considered extremely low, only slightly above the historically small production of 2017,” the OIV added in a tweet . “This year’s expected volume seems to have fallen by 4% compared to 2020 and is 7% lower than its 20-year average.”

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Production in 2021 is projected to land at around 250.3 million hectoliters (mhl), where one hectolitre works out to be about 133 bottles. That number is close to 2017, one of the lowest-producing years in recent history which saw 248 mhl produced.

Production in the European Union alone is believed to fall to 145 mhl, a 13% drop from last year, said the report.

Vintners also fear that, despite the shortage, sales will go back to their pre-pandemic prices and will be unable to supply a renewed demand.

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OIV’s latest report is based on data collected from 28 regions, which combined represent 85% of the world’s wine production last year.

Wineries that survived COVID-19 in 2020 are now “confronting a much greater problem than the pandemic: climate change,” said OIV’s director general Pau Roca during a recent press conference, according to Agence France-Presse.

He added adapting to global warming is an “urgent necessity” for the industry to survive.

“There is no vaccine” for climate change, he said, but rather, “long-term solutions which will require major efforts in terms of sustainable practices for cultivating vines and producing wine.”

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