World wine supplies are running dry

The world is heading for a wine shortage as vineyards struggle to keep pace with steadily rising demand, economists warn.

Last year the wine industry had its deepest shortfall in more than 40 years as demand for wine, including for use in blends such as vermouth, outstripped supply by 300million cases – about a tenth of total wine consumption worldwide.

A decade ago, the industry produced an excess of 600million cases, according to research by US financial services giant Morgan Stanley.

“Data suggest there might be insufficient supply to meet demand in coming years, as current vintages are released,” said the report.

Global wine production has been in decline since a 2004 peak, and supply been in balance or deficit since 2006 as makers deplete their stocks.

A fall in global “area under vine” – the total area covered by vineyards – has driven the decline in wine production. In the last 12 months, production from Europe, the world’s biggest wine-producing region, was hit by inclement weather.

Apart from a short dip between 2008 and 2010, wine consumption has been on an upward march, with booming demand in the US and China driving the rise, with the former poised to overtake France as the world’s No1 wine buyer.

Net wine exporters, such as Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand, stand to benefit from the shortage, with demand for exports likely to soar, pushing prices up.

– The Daily Telegraph

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