Global wine shortage? Not in Canada, producers say

A sommelier pours a glass of red wine in this undated file photo. Reuters/Isla Binnie

Global wine production this year is set to hit the lowest level since the 1960s sparking concerns of a wine shortage but there’s no reason to panic if you enjoy Canadian vintage.

Earlier this week, wine body International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), said wine production is expected to be down by eight per cent from last year thanks to harsh weather in Western Europe damaged vineyards in the world’s largest production area.

The OIV said Italy, France and Spain, the top three world producers of wine, are expected to see a sharp drop in production, with Italy facing a 23 per cent shrinkage.

Time to panic over a wine shortage?

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Reduced global production may erode a surplus over demand seen in recent years, when consumption was curbed by the effects of a world financial crisis in 2008.

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The OIV said it was initially assuming a consumption range of 240.5 to 245.8-million hectolitres based on medium and longer-term trends, but did not yet have firm demand data for 2017.

However, the impact of reduced production on actual market supply and prices depends on levels of stocks from previous years and the quality of wine in landmark regions.

Despite the report of global wine production being down eight per cent, Canadian wine makers say they’re in for a stellar year.

“It’s shaping up to be a bit of a banner year,” Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario CEO Aaron Dobbin told Global News. “We’ve got big fruit, it’s really good fruit and we’re taking it in now and it’s shaping up to be a quite a good vintage.”

Dobbin noted wine production is always subject to weather and the cooler climate has its challenges.

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“We had short crops in 2014 and 2015, so there were some challenges…but last year was a good year and this year is shaping up to be a really good year,” he said. “At our heart, we’re farmers so as farmers you have a certain reliance on the weather.”

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Though the harvest hasn’t wrapped up, British Columbia Wine Institute said the province is on track for a solid year.

“The fruit coming in this year is looking good, pure though the clusters are a little bit smaller but it’s quality fruit,” spokesperson Laura Kittmer said.

The OIV said the U.S. is expected to record another “high-level production for the second year running.” However, the OIV noted its estimates were made before the devastating wildfires ripped through California’s wine country earlier this month.

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California accounts for 85 per cent of the U.S. wine production average and the fires could result in a global shortage of California wines.

-with a file from Reuters

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