The world’s total vineyard area has fallen to a 10-year low, yet global grape production has hit a 10-year peak, according to a new report published at this week’s World Congress of Vine and Wine in Izmir, Turkey.
In the last decade, vineyard land has decreased by 262,000 hectares and now stands at 7,585 thousand hectares (mha), said Federico Castellucci, director of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. He was speaking during a presentation on the main trends influencing the development of the wine sector.
However, Castellucci added that, thanks to an “upwards trend in yields, favorable climate conditions and continued improvements in viticultural techniques,” global grape production in 2011 was the highest seen in a decade.
In terms of volume, total world wine production was 265 million hectoliters (Mhl), which is lower than the average for the period 2006–2010, suggesting that 2011 was a difficult vintage for many regions. Europe remains the world’s largest wine producer, accounting for more than two-thirds of global output, even though it has been losing ground to New World producers in recent years.
Encouragingly, consumers were thirsty for wine in 2011, drinking 244.3 Mhl worldwide. France remains the largest consumer, imbibing 29.9Mhl of wine over the 12-month period. British and Chinese consumers have also given retailers something to smile about. Since 2000, the United Kingdom has increased its wine consumption by 32 percent to 12.8Mhl, while the Chinese supped 17Mhl of wine in 2011 – a 58 percent increase in just over a decade.
Castellucci was encouraged by these figures. “Despite the economic turmoil that brought some difficulties to the viti-vinicultural sector, consumers have regained confidence in vine and wine products, allowing for some optimism," he said.
In terms of land under vine, Europe retains more than half of the world's vineyard surface (56.9 percent) despite the continuing “grubbing up” campaign put in place by European authorities; this has reduced Europe’s vineyard area by more than 160,000 hectares in the past three years, as reported by Wine-Searcher last week. In that time, European wine production has fallen by 10.2 Mhl per year. These measures have been taken in an attempt to reduce the European wine lake.
While Europe has been working hard to reduce its vineyards, grapevines have been spreading across the Asian continent. The Far East now accounts for more than one-fifth of the world’s vineyard area. This increase has been driven mainly by China, which has nearly doubled its land under vine in the past decade (+89 percent).
The United States and wine-producing countries in the southern hemisphere account for a little over 20 percent of the world’s total, with New Zealand almost tripling its vineyard surface area between 2000 and 2011 (from 14,000 to 37,000 hectares).
*Corrections: Two figures published in Wednesday’s post were incorrect and have been amended as follows: the vineyard area has been reduced by 262,000 hectares in the past decade; and the vineyard area in New Zealand now stands at around 37,000 hectares.