US Is Making More Wine, but Italy Is Crushing Us

And overall, there's going to be 5% less wine made this year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2016 7:43 AM CDT
US Is Making More Wine, but Italy Is Crushing Us
Workers collect red grapes in the vineyards of the famed Chateau Haut Brion,near Bordeaux, southwestern France.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme/File)

It may be too early for panic buying, but wine production has taken a hit from climate events this year and is close to a 20-year low, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) warns. According to estimates released Thursday, global wine production will be down around 5% for 2016 as compared to 2015, with floods, drought, and frost hitting vineyards in countries including France, the AP reports. In Argentina, production may drop as much as 35%; in Chile, 21%, which the Guardian sees as possibly worrisome for malbec lovers. "Output was greatly affected by exceptional weather conditions," says OIV director Jean-Marie Aurand, per Bloomberg. "If there is one product that is vulnerable to weather events, it’s wine."

This year's decline has been linked to the El Nino effect, though warming temperatures are starting to shrink wine-growing seasons around the world and could eventually lead to major shifts in what varieties of wine are produced in different countries, reports the Guardian. But the news wasn't all bleak: According to OIV's estimates, wine production is up for the year in countries including the Australia and the US; our estimated 22.5 million hectoliters is less than half of what the No. 1 producer, Italy, will log for the year: 48.8 million hectoliters. With total global production of around 35 billion bottles (based on an estimate of 259.5 million hectoliters), there should be enough to go around. (This Italian winemaker says listening to Mozart has been great for his grapes.)

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