Global Wine Shortage: Has Our Worldwide Barrel Run Dry?

 @ThisIsPRop.ross@ibtimes.com
on October 30 2013 6:22 PM
wine-shortage
A wine shortage could spell despair for wine lovers worldwide. Reuters

When Jack sparrow mourned the loss of rum, his laments were nothing compared to the collective cry of despair currently heard over our world’s wine shortage. According to a new report from Morgan Stanley Research, in 2012 we were short about 300 million cases of wine -- the biggest deficit in nearly 50 years, according to ABC News.

In economic terms, global consumption of wine is outpacing global wine production. Vineyards are struggling to keep pace with a steadily increasing demand, and output has been on the decline in a number of the world’s most prosperous wine regions. According to the report, global wine production peaked in 2004.  

“Data suggests there may be insufficient supply to meet demand in coming years, as current vintages are released,” the report said. “As consumption turns to the 2012 vintage we expect the current production shortfall to culminate in a significant increase in export demand and higher prices for exports globally.”

Since the late 1900s, global wine consumption has been on the rise, save for a brief dip between 2008 and 2010. Wine consumption has increased particularly in China, where the economy has boomed and the standard of living has risen tremendously. Demand for wine in the world’s second-largest economy doubled twice in the last five years, according to The Telegraph.

The U.S. is also drinking wine with increasing abundance. Consumption of wine rose 2 percent there last year, and Americans are now guzzling roughly 12 percent of the world’s wine, putting the U.S. in direct competition with France for the title of world’s No. 1 wine market.

Additionally, vineyards are in decline. Poor weather across Europe last year meant that vineyards struggled to yield grapes. Wine production in France, the world’s largest wine producer, fell by 18 percent between 2011 and 2012, while in Old World regions as a whole, production dropped 9.5 percent.

The study notes that the wine shortage won’t be felt immediately, since our current demand will be met by earlier vintages. But as those vintages run out, and prices on newer vintages rise, wine lovers could find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel with a ladle. Our advice: Take smaller sips and savor every drop.   

Fortunately, there may be a light at the end of the grapevine. According to a report released this week by the International Organization of Vine and Wine, 2013 will prove to be a productive year for winemakers worldwide, and there will be a global increase in wine production in 2013.

“The … world has returned to 2006 production levels this year despite the persistent decline -- by around 15,000 hectares [37,000 acres] in 2013 -- of the global vineyard surface area, particularly in Italy and Spain,” the report noted.

"The 2013 harvest has been fairly significant thanks to a productivity which continues to increase despite the abrupt stop caused by adverse climate conditions in 2012,” Federico Castellucci, the director general of the Organization of Vine and Wine, explained in the report.

We’ll tip our glasses to that! 

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