After Italy at number one, Spain has the largest wine production worldwide and the wine country has surpassed France. That is a favourable position, but on the other hand, the wine sector still has a crucial problem to overcome in the future.
Despite this year’s mediocre harvest, Spain produced no less than 35 million hectolitres of wine, making it the world number 2 in this century for the third time. Also in 2003 and 2013, Spain was already the second-largest wine producer.
This year, Spain’s second position is not so much due to its own production, as to the loss of 27% that France had to take as a result of the frost. According to the International Organisation for Viticulture and Winemaking, this had not happened since 1957. However, despite the third position, France remains the undisputed number one worldwide when it comes to resale value.
2017 and 2021 worst years
According to said wine organisation, 2021 has been the second-worst year for the grape harvest of the 21st century worldwide. This year was slightly better than 2017, which is still known as the worst year. The global harvest of 2021 was 7% lower than the average for the past 21 years. This decrease is mainly due to the changing climate in the three largest wine-producing countries Italy, Spain, and France. In fourth place is the United States, where just 6% more wine was produced in the past year.
Record crop in Latin American countries
This is followed by Australia and Chile, countries where wine production increased enormously by 30% in 2021 and with which they have left Argentina behind. Together, the countries in the southern hemisphere achieved record production that was almost 20% greater than last year’s. This is not so much due to an increase in wine plantations, but to the climate that was favourable for the grape harvest in the southern hemisphere this year.
To maintain its leading position, European wine-growing will have to find solutions to the consequences of climate change. Natural disasters caused by global warming will increasingly endanger the grape harvest. Nevertheless, there will be no geographical shift from viticulture to, for example, the Northern European countries for the time being. The wine culture is too closely linked to countries such as Spain, Italy, and France for that. However, wine producers will have to look for other ways to maintain their harvest. This includes the introduction of a greater variety of grape varieties and the way in which they are grown.
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