Wine production in the European Union is set to fall 6% this year after steep declines in major producers Italy and Spain following adverse weather, the European Commission said on Monday, as the grape harvest winds down.
In its first estimate for this year's output, the EU executive forecast 2023 wine production of about 150 million hectolitres, with output in Italy and Spain falling 12% and 14% respectively from last year.
Extreme weather and fungal diseases hit vineyards in Italy so much this year that the country will lose its position as the world's largest wine producer, with France set to reclaim the number one spot for the first time in nine years, Italian wine lobbies said last month.
France's farm ministry estimated on Friday that wine output there this year would be similar to 2022 and 3% above the five-year average at 46 million hectolitres, though with big differences between regions. The Commission pegged French wine output at 45 million hectolitres.
A hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 litres, or 133 standard wine bottles.
In September, Fazil Dusunceli, agriculture officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), based in Rome, said global warming was causing more frequent extreme climate events that threaten vineyards, and contingency plans were needed.
Italy has already registered 2,664 extreme events so far this year, including heavy rain and large hail, according to the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) – against 3,192 for the whole of 2022 and just 787 recorded 10 years ago.
Dusunceli called for more investment in new, disease-resistant strains of grape, saying he was sure this year's plasmopara attack "will force many farmers to look for other types of varieties."
Article by Reuters, additional reporting by Hospitality Ireland.