Harvest reflections: How key wine regions view low global production

Monday, 12 February, 2024
Concours Mondial Bruxelles
In early November 2023, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine released its estimates for global wine production in 2023, painting a rather gloomy outlook.

The projected total output of 244 million hectoliters indicates a 7% decline compared to 2022, and the lowest crop level for 60 years. Unfavorable weather conditions, such as early frost, heavy rainfall, and drought, have had a significant impact on vineyards globally, leading to a substantial decrease in harvest volumes in both the Southern Hemisphere and key wine-producing countries in Europe.

To further explore these statistics we sought the expertise of wine professionals in some of the impacted countries to hear their insight about the situation and provide a valuable understanding of the current state of the global wine production landscape.

Italy: a positive outlook despite the production shortfall

Italy experienced its smallest harvest since the historically low crop in 2017. Consequently, it relinquished its title as the world’s top wine producer for the first time in nine years. The OIV anticipates a 12% decrease in Italy’s wine production by volume, but according to Dr. Riccardo Cotarella, chairman of the Italian Oenologists Association, the reduction is likely to exceed 12%, and fall more in the range of 20-25%, equating to a significant loss of 10-13 million hectolitres. “Naturally, regions are not uniformly affected”, clarifies Dr. Cotarella. “The central-southern regions, particularly Abruzzo, have been hit the hardest, experience extraordinary declines ranging from 55% to 65%.”

Fortunately, due to the favorable quality of previous vintages, there is little likelihood of a dearth of Italian wine. “Despite the low harvest this year, we consider the situation as not entirely negative”, admits Cotarella. “Our substantial stocks from previous seasons, which are above average, will ensure a balance between supply and demand, thereby contributing to an upward trend in the average price of wines in the market.”

France: regional contrasts and changing market dynamics

The substantial decline in Italy’s wine production has allowed France to reclaim its position as the world’s leading wine producer in 2023. In fact, France is estimated to produce 45.8 million hectoliters, on a par with the 2022 crop.

However, despite the overall consistency in French production compared to last year, according to Bernard Farges, chairman of the National Committee for Appellation and PGI Wines (CNIV) the situation across the French wine regions offers a mixed picture. Cognac and Champagne experienced a bumper harvest, boasting incredible yields. Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, and Savoy also enjoyed a bountiful crop, whereas the South of France encountered more challenges...

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