As you lift that glass of Merlot to your lips — velvety with blackcurrant leaf, and perhaps a distinct cigar box spice — take a moment to consider how rare that taste might become. Besides the three-year drought that has battered the Cape winelands, wine production in much of the world is falling. In the US, fires have wiped out half of Napa Valley, and over in France and Italy, frost has ravaged the vines. The upshot is that prices are likely to rise accordingly. Last year, global wine production fell by 8%. The International Organisation of Vine & Wine calls it the worst wine shortage in 50 years. SA is the seventh-biggest wine producer and ninth-largest wine exporter globally, exporting 440Ml a year, alongside the 400Ml sold at home. This makes it responsible for 4% of global production. The drought will hit much of the industry hard. A smattering of rain this week won’t have radically altered the total dam levels in the Western Cape, which sat at 31% on January 1, compared with ...

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