Global wine production for 2016 is expected to fall by 5% from the previous year due to “climatic events” causing a steep decline worldwide, making 2016 one of the lowest production years in the past 20 years, according to a recent report from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).
The OIV—a trade group that examines scientific and technical findings on wines around the world—published its predictions on Thursday, along with the estimate that the volume of wine production may fall to 259 million hectoliters this year, a significant decrease compared to 2015’s output of 273.9 million hectoliters of wine.
OIV’s report states that “climatic events” are largely to blame for the overall decline across the globe, but particularly in South American countries who are expected to experience the greatest decrease in production—a potential source of concern for fans of the malbec and carménère varieties. Production for 2016 is estimated to plummet by 35% in Argentina, 21% in Chile, and even by 50% in Brazil.
Leading European producers are also predicted to experience a drop in wine production this year. Italy is still expected to remain the world’s top wine producer for 2016, despite a slight 2% drop. Although predicted to have a 12% drop, France is likely to still remain another top European producer, followed by Spain.
South Africa is also estimated to report a 19% fall.
However, on a positive note, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. are all expected to report an increase in production this year, ranging between 5%-35% increase.
The OIV largely attributes the production decline to climate-related events, reminding us all that global warming directly impacts harvest and should be taken seriously.
As noted by the Guardian, the Earth Institute at Columbia University released a report earlier this year said warming temperatures—the main driver of grape harvest timing—have significantly affected harvest season globally. According to the report, across the globe “scientists have found that each degree centigrade of warming pushes grape harvests forward roughly six or seven days.” The earlier harvests and data compiled suggest that several regions could eventually become too hot for traditionally grown grapes, which would cause vineyards to alter their methods in the future.
Another paper published in the journal Wine Economics and Policy in 2014 concluded that rising temperatures would have an “extraordinary effect” on agriculture and there were few crops more susceptible than grapes to minor changes in climate.
Despite the OIV’s estimates for 2016’s production levels ranking among one of the poorest years of production since 2000, the amount of wine produced should still meet consumer demand.
However, the figures nevertheless are a reminder of how global warming and natural climate variability are having a profound effect on wine, and perhaps where it will be grown in future.