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Global wine production predicted to slump to 50-year low

Wine producers torso advises production will fall after Italy, France and Spain were hit by freak weather events in 2017

If you haven’t got a wine cellar, it’s time to get one and start stockpiling- because global wine production is to fall to its lowest level in more than 50 years.

On Tuesday the International Organisation of Vine and Wine( OIV) said it expected an 8% decrease in global wine production to 247 m hectolitres for 2017.

The international producer group’s forecast foretells the worst global return since 1961, with the weather to blamed, after vines in key wine-producing countries such as Italy and France were ravaged by both freakishly hot and cold weather.

A hectolitre is the equivalent to 133 standard wine bottles, so the dropped in output predicted by the OIV equates to about 2.9 bn fewer bottles in 2017.

The headline figure is drawn down by an” annus horribilis” in western Europe, which is on track for its worst harvest in 36 years after vineyards were exposed to adverse weather conditions that included spring frosts and a summertime heatwave.

The OIV blamed” extreme climate” conditions for a disastrous year for the world’s top three producers: Italy, France and Spain. Jean-Marie Aurand, director-general of the Paris-based OIV, said its projections proved world wine production in 2017 was on course for its lowest levels for several decades.

” This plummet is the outcome of climate perils ,” said Aurand.” In the European union extreme weather events- from frost to drought- significantly impacted 2017 wine production, which was historically low .”

Italian prosecco in production. Photograph: Bloomberg/ Getty Images

The news is worse for fans of chianti and prosecco, with Italy the worst hit of the big three growers. Its output is predicted to slump 23% to 39.3 m hectolitres this year. Its vineyards cooked in temperatures of more than 40 C in a summer heatwave nicknamed Lucifer. Important developing regions such as Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia and Umbria were among those affected by the searing temperatures.

There is also pain in store for French wine devotees as the OIV predicts a 19% fall in France’s output to 36.7 m hectolitres. In Spain production is also expected to fall- by 15%, to 33.5 m hectolitres.

In April sharp spring frosts, which likewise hit British growers, injury production in some of France’s most famous winemaking regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy. The bad weather dealt a fresh blow to the French industry, which had also suffered a difficult 2016, with output falling 10% on the back of adverse weather conditions.

The shortfall is bad news for British oenophiles who regularly plummet bottles of wine in their browse streetcar as inflation bites into living criteria.” Costs for consumers will be able unavoidably rise ,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association( WSTA ).

” It’s a keen reminder that wine production remains at the mercy of the weather. As the most difficult per capita importer of wine in an international market, the UK is bound to feel the effects of an increasingly challenging marketplace .”

Wine devotees are already experiencing a Brexit-related hangover, with the price of the average bottle pushed up by the weakness of sterling since last year’s election, as well as this year’s 3.9% responsibility hike. As a result the average price of a bottle of wine sold in the UK is now PS5. 58, up 4% on 2016, with the WSTA calling on the chancellor to freeze wine obligation in next month’s budget.

” UK wine firms have already had to contend with the sharp devaluation in sterling, rising inflation and uncertainty following the Brexit vote- all of which add costs to companies constructing wine available to the UK’s 30 million customers ,” said Beale.” The last thing UK wine enterprises or British customers need now is another rise in excise taxes .”

Read more: https :// lifeandstyle/ 2017/ oct/ 24/ global-wine-production-predicted-to-slump-to-5 0-year-low