Global wine production expected to fall by 5% due to 'climatic events'
South America, particularly Argentina and Chile, likely to see biggest decline, which may concern fans of wines such as malbec
Global wine production is expected to fall by 5% in 2016 because of “climatic events” causing steep drops in production in most of the southern hemisphere, particularly Chile and Argentina.
The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) has estimated that output will reach 259.5m hectolitres (mhl) this year, making 2016 one of the lowest production years in the past two decades.
While the amount of wine produced should meet consumer demand, the figures are a reminder of how global warming and natural climate variability are having a profound effect on wine, and perhaps where it will be grown in future.
Italy is expected to produce the most wine in 2016, followed by France, Spain, the US, Australia and China. France is likely to remain in the top three, despite a predicted 12% drop in production to 41.9mhl.
The most precipitous declines are set to be in South America, a potential source of concern for fans of the malbec and carménère varieties. Production is estimated to have plummeted by 35% in Argentina and 21% in Chile, the seventh-biggest producer.
South Africa is set to report a 19% fall, but the news is better for Australia and New Zealand, which are expected to increase production by 5% and 35% respectively. The New Zealand figures would put it near a record it set in 2014.
The OIV said the predicted overall decline was strongly affected by climatic events. “The El Niño climate phenomenon seems to be back in Latin America, where production was affected by fairly exceptional weather, with lots of rain,” said OIV’s chief executive, Jean-Marie Aurand.
El Niño, which occurs every four to five years, affects rainfall patterns and causes both drought and flooding.
A report released earlier this year by the Earth Institute at Columbia University said warming temperatures, the main driver of grape harvest timing, have significantly pushed these periods forward globally.
“Across the world, scientists have found that each degree centigrade of warming pushes grape harvests forward roughly six or seven days,” the report said. This phenomenon could eventually make pinot noir grapes unsuitable for many parts of Burgundy, according to a 2011 study by the climate scientist Yves Tourre.
A 2014 paper in journal Wine Economics and Policy concluded that rising temperatures would have an “extraordinary effect” on agriculture and there were few crops more susceptible than grapes to minor changes in climate.
In Europe, the paper pointed to a potential chilling of the Bordeaux region and parts of Spain, due to the loss of the Gulf Stream, while other regions, including Alsace, are expected to get warmer and experience shorter growth seasons. In the Italian region of Chianti, grapes have begun ripening too early, leading to possible future changes in wine varieties.
Publicado originalmente em: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/20/global-wine-production-falls-2016-climatic-events