Frost, mildew, drought: the meteorological cocktail of the year 2020 will have been difficult to swallow for French wine growers. In the presses, the grape juice flowed sparingly. After a rather late harvest, it is time to take stock. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), France would lose its traditional second place and would be demoted to third place in the world among wine producers.
In a report of world production published Thursday, November 4, the OIV estimates the collection in France at 34.2 million hectoliters, which represents a drop of 27% compared to the level of 2020. Even if its competitors traditional – Italy and Spain – have also suffered some climatic hazards, the note is, for them, much less salty. With its 44.5 million hectoliters (a volume down 9%), Italy keeps its crown of world leader. As for Spain, it saw its flow of harvests reduce by 14%, but, with a total of 35 million tonnes, it shouts courtesy to France.
In Europe, some countries have had better fortunes. Thus, Romania, Hungary, Germany and Portugal benefited from more favorable growing conditions and posted volume increases. Nevertheless, when the world’s leading trio garners a meager harvest, it is the whole of the world production of wine which toasts. According to the OIV, in 2021, it should be extremely low, at a level close to the historically low level of 2017. The average estimate is 250 million hectoliters, down 4% compared to 2020 .
In the southern hemisphere, it’s time for satisfaction
However, outside the European Union, vineyards have benefited from milder skies. In the United States, despite episodes of drought, volumes increased by 6%, to 24.3 million hectoliters, after 2020 marked by devastating fires in California. In the southern hemisphere too, the time has come for satisfaction: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Australia have refueled their wine vats. This geographical area posted a record production of 59 million hectoliters, up sharply by 19%.
Exports of champagne, bordeaux, burgundy and other rosés from Provence are booming again
Naturally, these estimates disseminated by the OIV refer to production volumes, and not value. If France is therefore usually in second place in the world ranking behind Italy, it takes first place in terms of valuation of these wines. A status that it should keep, even if it is downgraded in 2021 in terms of volume, especially as the exports of champagne, bordeaux, burgundy and other rosés from Provence are once again flourishing after the air gap of the crisis due to Covid-19. French winegrowers are crossing their fingers. Everything will depend on 2022. We absolutely must not let Mother Nature play them a bad trick again. Living on its reserves has its limits, the winegrowers know it well.
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France demoted to third world wine producer