Global wine output is drying up

To any wine moms or vino snobs who may be reading, make sure you’re sitting down with a chilled pinto grigio before looking at this next story. You might find it too upsetting. 

Driving the news: Global wine production is set to fall to its lowest level in over 60 years, according to a new estimate by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). 

  • Wine hubs in the Southern Hemisphere saw outputs drop by as much as ~30%, while most major European producers saw production fall, too. Of them, Spain, Greece, and Italy (which lost its title of world’s top producer) were the hardest hit. 

Why it’s happening: Extreme climate events are behind the drastic drop in grapey glugs. Be it cold snaps in B.C., flooding in Tuscany, or drought in Catalonia, vineyards around the world have been rocked by unpredictable and catastrophic weather this year.      

Why it matters: Your local liquor store won’t be running low on wine any time soon — in fact, countries like France and Australia are dealing with surplus issues — but this historic dip in production does not bode well for future outputs of not just wine but all kinds of crops. 

  • Wine grapes are sensitive to minute environmental changes, making them, as one climate researcher put it, the “canary in the coal mine” for climate change impact. 

Zoom out: Just like other food and drink producers, winemakers are looking at experimental methods to climate-proof their crops, from new types of grapes to marine microbes.—QH