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Workers collect white grapes in the vineyards of Chateau Haut Brion, near Bordeaux, southwestern France last month. Bob Edme/AP/Press Association Images

Wine shortage nearing as grape harvest hits historical low

Poor weather and shrinking size of land under cultivation means global wine production will fall to its lowest level since records began in 1975.

WORLD WINE PRODUCTION is set to fall to its lowest level since records began, as poor weather devastated crops from South America to Europe.

Output is predicted to fall from 264.2 million hectolitres in 2011 to 248.2 million hectolitres this year, said the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the lowest level since figures were first recorded in 1975.

Production is set to drop by 24 per cent in Argentina and 19 per cent in France, with Spain, Hungary and New Zealand also suffering reductions. Winter drought, hailstorms and heat waves all ate into French production, which is expected to fall to 40.5 million hectolitres. Italy’s crop also suffered, but the drop in output is expected to be just 3.4 per cent. That will leave Italy with 40.8 million hectolitres, meaning it will overtake France as the world’s largest producing wine country.

Production in Chile rose 15 per cent to 10.6 million hectolitres and by 10 per cent in South Africa to 10 million hectolitres, not enough to offset the drop in production elsewhere in the world.

“We’re dipping into the reserves for supply” Frederico Castellucci, the OIV’s director general told a press conference in Paris.

“There’s a lack of product in bulk. Merchants are starting to turn to the small countries for bulk wine, which shows there’s real tension”.

Column: How Ireland helped bring wine to the world>

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