Global wine report: historically low production but buoyant consumption

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Global wine production decreased in 2017. Pic:Getty/paylessimages
Global wine production decreased in 2017. Pic:Getty/paylessimages
Global wine consumption increased slightly in 2017: showing a continued upwards trend seen over the last three years and representing stabilisation since the 2008 economic crisis.

However, global wine production hit historical lows in 2017,​ posting an 8.6% decline on the previous year, having been particularly hit by unfavourable climate conditions in the EU (where production fell 14.6%).

The figures come from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV - Organisation Internationale de la vigne et du vin), which has released data on the industry in 2017.

Area of vines

Spain remains a ‘clear leader’ in cultivated surface area, with nearly 1 mha (millions of hectares). China accounts for 0.87 mha and France 0.79 mha.

The size of the global area under vines appears to have stabilised in 2017, reaching 7.6mha. The growth of Chinese area under vines slowed, while areas in Turkey and Spain decreased. Italy was the only European country to increase the area under vines.

Wine production

In 2017 Italy confirmed its position as the leading world producer with 42.5 mhl (millions of hectolitres), followed by France (36.7 mhl) and Spain (32.1 mhl).

Production remained high in the United States (23.3 mhl) and Australia (13.7 mhl).

South America saw mixed fortunes after a 2016 harvest marked by El Nino: Argentina (11.8 mhl) and Brazil  (3.4 mhl) grew production on the previous years but Chilean production (9.5 mhl) declined for the second consecutive year.

Wine consumption

Global wine consumption in 2017 is estimated at 243 mhl, a slight increase on the previous year. After the decline following the 2008/2009 economic crisis, world wine consumption continued the positive upward trend seen over the last three years.

With 32.6 mhl wine consumed in 2017, the US is the biggest global consumer country, followed by France (27 mhl), Italy (22.6 mhl), Germany (20.2 mhl) and China (17.9 mhl).

A downturn in consumption in countries with strong wine traditions – France, Italy and Spain – appears to have stabilised. Meanwhile, consumption in the US, China and Australia continues to increase.

International trade

World wine trade increased by 3.4% in volume in 2017, and increased in value by 4.8%.

Increased trade is linked particularly to the growth in sparkling wine exports (+11.2% in volume and +8.9% in value on the previous year). The OIV says these figures confirm the increasing internationalisation of the wine market.

2018 harvest forecast

Production in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to see mixed fortunes. Forecasts for Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Uruguay are positive, whereas wine production South Africa – which has been strongly affected by drought – is predicted to decrease. Australia and Brazil are also set to record lower production than in 2017. 

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