- Wine production is predicted to slump this year to its lowest level since 1961.
- The wine producers’ body blames “extreme weather” in key producing countries like Italy and France.
- The British Wine and Spirit Trade Association has warned this will damage the UK’s wine industry, which has already suffered from Brexit.
LONDON — Stock up your cellars while you still can — the Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) has warned that global wine production is set to fall this year to its lowest level since 1961.
The OIV said it expected global wine production to fall 8% in 2017, blaming “extreme weather” in countries like Italy, Spain and France. This year’s heat wave damaged vines, it said, and would reduce harvests.
“Following frost and drought across Europe, and wildfires across the USA, winemakers globally are facing a drastically reduced harvest this year,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
“As the bigger per capita importer of wine in an international market, the UK is bound to feel the effects of an increasingly challenging environment. Prices for consumers will inevitably rise,” he said.
Italy’s wine producers were worst hit by freakish weather this year — after temperatures rose to more than 40C in a heatwave nicknamed “Lucifer” — and output is predicted to slump 23%.
The fall in production is a “real concern” for UK wine businesses, the WSTA warned: huge containers of wine are shipped to the UK, bottled here and re-shipped around the world, it said, which generates 172,000 jobs and employs a further 105,000 people indirectly in the supply chain.
The UK wine industry has already suffered from the fall in the value of Sterling following the Brexit vote, rising inflation and political uncertainty. These challenges, the WSTA said, “come on top of the Chancellor’s decision to impose a hefty 3.9% increase in alcohol duties earlier this year,” which saw the average price of a bottle of wine rise 4% from last year, to £5.58.
The “last thing” the UK wine industry or British consumers need now, said Beale, is another rise in excise duty in the November Budget. The Chancellor should “take note and freeze duty,” he said.