In an online streaming interview today from Paris, France, the International Organization of Wine & Vine (OIV) shared preliminary data on the state of 2021 global wine production. The statistics show that global wine production fell by 4%, but consumption appears to be rising – with world wine exports increasing by 9% in the first 6 months of 2021, compared to 2020.
Very Different 2021 Wine Production Rates by Southern and Northern Hemisphere
Wine production varied vastly by hemisphere, with Southern hemisphere wine countries showing an increase of 23%, whereas the Northern hemisphere, especially in Europe, recorded sharp drops in production.
“France was down 27%,” stated Pau Roca, Director General of the OIV. “These are some of the lowest volumes ever recorded…..;whereas Southern hemisphere countries are showing the highest volume ever recorded.”
Some of the preliminary 2021 production figures in the Southern Hemisphere show the following increases: Chile up 30%, Australia up 30%, Brazil up 60%, Argentina up 16%, and South Africa up 7%. The only Southern hemisphere country that did not increase production was New Zealand, where production fell 19% due to extreme frost in the spring.
The Northern hemisphere was also hit by extreme weather in 2021, such as frost, hail, and mildew, which decimated the wine grape crops in many countries. In addition to France losing 27% of its production, Italy decreased by 9%, Spain by 14%, and Greece by 26%. Two anomalies were Romania, who saw their wine production increase by 27%, and Georgia by 22%, but both from a lower base.
Preliminary statistics in the US, show wine grape production up by 6%. Russia was up 2%, but production data from China is not yet available.
Climate Change the Culprit – Need for Immediate Action
The extreme weather patterns in Europe are the main reasons for the decrease in global production. The hardest hit countries – Italy, Spain and France – are usually the largest global wine producers, generally producing around 45% of the world’s wine.
“Climate changes are occurring on a regular basis now,” stated Roca. “It is time to stop reacting, and to take action to anticipate and combat this issue. There is no vaccine for climate change.”
Roca referenced OIV’s six strategic initiatives, pointing out that three have to do with increasing sustainability and reducing climate change. “Currently, there is only 6% production of organic wine globally, so there is room to improve,” he stated.
Increased Digitalization and Wine Tourism Positive Signs
The advent of Covid forced the wine industry to turn to ecommerce, which has been a positive, according to Roca. “The massive and immediate turn to ecommerce has been good,” he said. “Online sales are appropriate for consumers. Globally, wine has 14% share of the beverage market, but has a 40% share of sales online, according to IWSR.”
The resurgence of global wine tourism is another positive. “Wine tourism suffered greatly during Covid, dropping 70%,” Roca reported. “Now we are getting back to normal. The economic impact of rural development with wine tourism is very important.”
The fact that international trade has rebounded and is doing better than pre-pandemic levels, with a 4% increase in volume and 6% in value compared to 2019, is another reason for optimism. “International trade gives positive signs,” Roca reported, “and the supply chain disruption is coming back to normal.”
The past 6 months of 2021 have been especially gratifying, with “a 9% increase in volume of exports and 21% increase in value, compared to the last 6 months of 2020.”