Picture: 123RF/jeka81
Picture: 123RF/jeka81

Paris — Global wine output rose to near-record highs in 2018 after a sharp rebound from a poor harvest the previous year, though consumption stopped growing, says the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

After a 60-year low in 2017, when production was dented by extreme weather in Europe, including drought and storms, world output rose 17% in 2018 to 292.3-million hectolitres, the OIV said.

The growth was driven by steep rises in Italy, France and Spain —three of the world’s major producers — which all recorded output at least 13% above their five-year averages.

The figures confirmed an initial trend projected by the Paris-based OIV in October 2018.

A hectolitre amounts to 100 litres, or the equivalent of 133 standard wine bottles.

Wine output, excluding juice and new wine, also jumped in the southern hemisphere in 2018, with rises of 22.8% in Argentina to 14.5-million hectolitres and 35.9% in Chile to 12.9-million hectolitres.

OIV estimated that worldwide consumption was stable in 2018 at 246-million hectolitres, compared with 246.7-million hectolitres in 2017.

The slight drop could be linked to the decline in production the previous year, it said, adding that consumption estimates were tentative due to limited data.

Mainland China recorded the largest fall in consumption among the world’s top 20 largest wine consumers, with a 6.6% decline on year to 18-million hectolitres, according to OIV, without detailing the reasons for the fall. In Britain, consumption fell 3.1% to 12.3-million hectolitres.

French exporters estimate that wine and spirit exports to China tumbled 14.4% in 2018 after growth of 24.5% a year earlier.

In contrast, Russian demand jumped 6.9% in 2018 to 11.9-million hectolitres.

The global wine trade rose sightly in volume to 108-million hectolitres as a rise in volumes exported from the southern hemisphere helped compensate for smaller shipments from historical European leaders, OIV said.

On the other hand, nearly all European exporters saw better exports in value in 2018 as opposed to their southern hemisphere counterparts and the US.

Overall global exports rose 1.2% in value in 2018 to €31.3bn, the OIV said.

France was still the main exporter in value, with wine shipments totalling €9.3bn in 2018, up 2.8% on the previous year, OIV said.