Global Wine Production Is Collapsing Thanks To Climate Change


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call a metaphor. DMPForever/Shutterstock

You there, quaffing that Argentinian Malbec. Put down that glass of wine immediately and decanter it back into the bottle, because in a few decades it will be worth a heck of a lot more thanks to climate change.

Forget about all those super typhoons and megadroughts. Eject from your mind images of sea level rise, Arctic disintegration, and civil war, for a new report has revealed that as the world warms, wine production in certain regions will dramatically slow down.


The notion that the rapidly changing climate will detrimentally affect certain wine-growing parts of the planet was brought up by academics earlier this year, but now the wine industry has officially sat up and taken notice.

According to a report by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), the output of wine this year alone – the hottest since records began – was just under a measly 26 billion liters (5.7 billion gallons). This is the lowest production rate on record for the last two decades, and marks a global drop of about 5 percent compared to 2015. 

Although warmer climes may benefit some parts of the world hoping to grow some grapes, already warm regions – particularly those in South America – are suffering from temperature increases too fast for their crops to adapt. Fans of a good Malbec and a complex Carménère will be horrified to find out that production this year in Argentina and Chile has crashed by 35 and 21 percent, respectively.

South Africa, another nation hoping sincerely for the unrelenting pace of climate change to calm down a bit, is also likely to report a 19 percent drop in wine production rates. Semillon lovers – read it and weep.


2016's leading producers of wine, as measured in million hectoliters, where one hectoliter is equal to one hundred liters. OIV

On the other hand, despite suffering from a 2 percent drop in production, Italy is doing just fine from the balmy heat, having managed to conjure up the most wine this year. The country of Chianti is followed closely by France, Spain, the US, Australia, and China.

New Zealand will report a 35 percent increase this year, which places it near a record it set back in 2014. As Chile burns, New Zealand earns.

To be fair, it’s not just rising temperatures that are causing pandemonium for some plonk producers. The recent El Niño phenomenon, one of the most powerful ever recorded, brought both droughts and flooding to South America, and many crops couldn’t cope.


The situation is so dire that declining wine production rates actually formed part of the discussions at the signing of the groundbreaking Paris climate change agreement – in fact, the worst part about all this is that you can’t even drink your sorrows away as much as you used to.

[H/T: The Guardian]


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