The Strategist

France is losing out on its reputation of the world's first winemaker


08/26/2016 - 15:35



Bad weather would reduce the grape harvest in France in 2016. This was reported by the French Ministry of Agriculture, which also noted that the regions of Champagne, Burgundy and Charente are going to be affected particularly badly.



Last year, the total production of wine in France was 47,8 million hectoliters. This year is expected to bring only 42.9 million hectoliters, which is 7% below average normal production figures for wine country.

The main reason is the weather, which did not meet necessary conditions for good grape ripening. In particular, there were unexpected frosts (Champagne, Burgundy and the Val de Loire), gusty wind, followed by periods of severe drought and hail in some areas, which actually destroyed some vineyards. in Charentes, Languedoc and Burgundy.

The only exception is Alsace, where the grape harvest is expected by 18% more than usual, although it was not large in the last year. 

In 2015, a severe drought made France lose its top spot in the list of wine producers in the world, giving way to Italy. This year, the situation is expected to be the same.

Meanwhile, wineries of Spain are preparing to gather a record harvest of grapes this year. The first figures have already been published in the Spanish media.

According to preliminary calculations, experts estimate that the harvest will be enough to produce more than 50 million hectoliters.
 
Agricultural organizations and agro cooperatives in Spain agree with this prognosis, yet note that the weather still can add some adjustments to the forecast.
 
It is interesting that such high rates in 2016 were somehow downplayed due to pests damaged Galicia, Jerez and Huelva.

It is worth noting that demand for Spanish wines on the domestic market is only about 10 million hectoliters. The main part of wine (more than 24 million hectoliters) is meant be exported. More than half of Spanish wine exports go to France and Italy for an average price of € 1,1 per liter (wholesale sales - 0.4 € per liter).
 
Tourists in Spain gladly put to good the rest of the "unused wine". They drink it in large quantities, and buy the beverage for souvenirs.

The grape harvest has already begun in Italy. According to the National Confederation of Farmers, this year the Italian farmers will gather 5% more yield than in 2015.

Last year, Italy produced 47.5 hl of wine, surpassing result of its nearest neighbor, France. It is likely that the countries will not change positions this year.

In 2015, Italy became the largest wine producer in the world (49.5 million hectoliters). This was an increase of 12% compared to 2014 year. The country was followed by France and Spain (37.2 million hectoliters).
 
As for other countries, volume of wine production in the US was 22.1 million hectoliters in 2015. The industry has been showing steady growth during  the past three years.
 
Production of the southern hemisphere countries (excluding juice and musts) shows decrease in volume in Argentina (13.4 million hectoliters), increase in Chile (12.9 million hectoliters), stable rate of production in Australia (11.9 million hectoliters), a slight decrease in production in South Africa (11.2 million hectoliters), slight production cuts in China (11 million hectoliters). 

source: harpers.co.uk




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