The Strategist

The world's wine production will drop to a minimum due to weather anomalies

09/26/2017 - 14:39

Bad weather hit the harvest of grapes all over the world. The freezing, heat and drought affected the vineyards of Europe the most: wine production may fall down by 10 to 20% in different countries. reduction in.

Frozen France 

In August, the Ministry of Agriculture of France stated that this year wine production in the country will decrease by 18% compared to the previous year - to 37.2 million hectoliters.

"The harvest of 2017 will be historically low and will not exceed the figures of 1991, when the crop suffered from frosts," the ministry said.

Cold and drought touched all wine regions of the country. Vineyards in the south-west of France and Corsica were attacked by the spring frosts, and the south-east suffered from drought in the summer. Trying to save the planting during the April cold weather, the wine growers used different methods: candles, heaters, even blown the vineyards with warm air from helicopters, but measures weren’t particularly helpful. Experts say that the wine harvest in the Bordeaux and Alsace regions will shrink most: by 51% and by 27%, respectively, compared to 2016.

Pessimistic Italy

Last year Italy overtook France in terms of wine production - 48.8 million hectoliters against 41.9 million hectoliters.

However, the country is also facing a fall in the harvest of grapes due to weather anomalies. At first, the vineyards were hit by late spring frosts; then hail, drought and extreme heat caused by the Lucifer anticyclone fell on the north of Italy. The very summer of 2017 has already gone down in history as the hottest in Italy in the last 200 years. According to the Agricultural Association Goldiretti, the total wine production in Italy could be reduced by 10-15% in 2017.

Wine producers are even more pessimistic. According to calculations of experts of Italian winery Assoenologi, the harvest of 2017 will be 25% smaller than in 2016, and production of wine will amount to just about 41.1 million hectoliters.

In northern Italy - in Piemonte, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia - the harvest of grapes, according to preliminary estimates, will be reduced by 15%. Tuscany, Sicily, Apulia, Umbria and Abbruzzo suffered even more. Due to the scanty harvest, regional governments of the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia regions, where the grape variety for Prosecco is grown, will be allowed to include grape grown outside the official geographical name in a mixture for sparkling wine. As Bloomberg notes, such a measure is adopted to prevent price increases. However, it is yet unclear how this will ultimately affect the quality of the wine.

Spain in the grip of anticyclone

Last year, Spain ranked third among world wine producers with 37.8 million hectoliters. Yet, the climate surprises affected the country just like its neighbors: first frosts, then the anti-cyclone "Lucifer". The drop in the Spanish harvest, according to various sources, may amount to 20 to 30%.

The situation is very sad in some regions. For example, the cold weather hit not only this year's harvest in the Bierzo region, but also the vineyards themselves, which could affect the harvest of grapes in 2018.

Early harvest

Because of the hot weather, the grapes ripened earlier than usual and the harvest began 10-14 days before the deadline in Italy, in Spain, Germany and some regions of France.

However, there are no problems in Germany and Austria. Thus, the Austrian Viticulture Association notes that hail, extreme temperatures and droughts did not cause significant damage to the vintage. In 2017, the harvest in the country will be medium, with very mature grapes and wines with slightly higher alcohol content, writes Bloomberg. Austria annually produces about 2.5 million hectoliters, and Germany - 9.25 million hectoliters.

Atypical Chile

Chile began to collect grapes almost a month earlier than usual. Many winemakers note that the vintage of 2017 is atypical, and the yield of grapes fell by 26% because of cold spring nights and summer heat. In the coastal regions, however, the ocean smoothed influence of the extreme heat. Producers in Limari note that the wines turned out to be very fruity.

Yet, vineyards in the interior regions of Chile were completely unlucky: not only they suffered from drought, but also from forest fires that destroyed or damaged half a million hectares.

Forest fires also affected vineyards in the United States. The fire passed 50 meters from the famous vineyard of Bien Nasido, and filled with smoke the states of Washington and Oregon. The fires also harmed Mendocino district in California.

Although there is not a significant drop in the harvest, the American wine growers are worried about how this will affect the grapes of this year, the smell of which can acquire a severe, ashy taste.