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World wine output falls to 60-year low

Production hit by poor weather in Italy, France, Spain; U.S. output nearly stable

Paris | Reuters — Global wine output fell to its lowest level in 60 years in 2017 due to poor weather conditions in the European Union that slashed production in the bloc, international wine organization OIV said.

Wine production totalled 250 million hectolitres last year, down 8.6 per cent from 2016, data from the Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) released on Tuesday showed.

It is the lowest level since 1957, when it had fallen to 173.8 million hectolitres, the OIV told Reuters.

A hectolitre (hl) represents 100 litres, or the equivalent of just over 133 standard 75-cl wine bottles.

All top wine producers in the EU have been hit by harsh weather last year, which lead to an overall fall in the bloc of 14.6 per cent to 141 million hl.

The OIV’s projections, which exclude juice and must (new wine), put Italian wine production down 17 per cent at 42.5 million hl, French output down 19 per cent at 36.7 million and Spanish production down 20 per cent at 32.1 million.

The French government said last year production had hit a record low due to a series of poor weather conditions including spring frosts, drought and storms that affected most of the main growing regions including Bordeaux and Champagne.

In contrast, production remained nearly stable in the United States, the world’s fourth largest producer at 23.3 million hl, and China, which has become the world’s seventh largest wine producer behind Australia and Argentina.

Trends were mixed in Latin America, with a rise of 25 per cent in Argentina after a very low production in 2016 and a decline of six per cent in Chile.

For comparison, Canada in 2014 (the most recent year of OIV data available for the country) produced 599,521 hl of wine.

Global wine consumption edged higher at around 243 million hl in 2017, up 1.8 per cent from a year earlier. The U.S. confirmed its position as largest world wine consumer with 32.6 million hl, followed by France at 27 million.

Chinese wine consumption rose significantly for a third year in a row with an increase in 2017 of 3.5 per cent at 17.9 million hl.

On the export market, Spain remains the largest exporting country by volume with a global market share of 20.5 per cent, while France keeps its leading position in value with nine billion euros (C$14.1 billion) of wine exported last year.

In total, global exports totalled 107.9 million hl in 2017, up 3.4 per cent on the previous year, and 30 billion euros in value, an increase of 4.8 per cent on 2016.

— Reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide and Pascale Denis. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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