In the first year of the pandemic, wine consumption worldwide has declined by about three percent and is estimated at 234 million hectolitres. This is reported by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in its annual status report on the international wine sector. It is the third consecutive year that consumption has fallen and the lowest recorded consumption since 2002.
Global wine production is estimated at 260 million hectolitres (+1 percent) in 2020, slightly below average for the second year in a row. The area under vines in 2020 is estimated at 7.3 million hectares, stable since 2017.
The global wine export market is slightly down in 2020 in terms of volume, reaching 105.8 million hectolitres (-1.7 percent). In terms of value, it is down even more, at €29.6 billion (-6.7 percent).
Overall declines in consumption, with exceptions
The total or partial closure of the on-trade channel in many countries has caused a decline in sales in value and, to a lesser extent, in volume, only partially compensated by the increase in wine sales via e-commerce and large retailers. Sales bans and restricted travel also contributed to consumption declines. Finally, trade barriers such as US tariffs on some European wines, China's tariffs on Australian wine and the impact of Brexit were further barriers to trade.
For example, China (-17 percent) and South Africa (-19 percent) – the latter due to sales bans during the pandemic – saw the largest declines in consumption, but in Brazil consumption increased by 18 percent, mainly due to increases in e-commerce. In Italy, eight percent more wine was consumed.
Premium wine suffered most from the closure of restaurants and tasting rooms, while large producers who were able to use the off-trade channel did well. With the exception of Prosecco, sparkling wine is the wine category that suffered the most in 2020 – there was simply a lack of celebratory gatherings and events everywhere. In contrast, sales of bag-in-box wines have seen a strong increase in turnover, although overall volumes remain low.
OIV Director General Pau Roca stressed that this situation added difficulties to an already-complex system, and only those who built in continuous adaptation behaviour will hold their own. "The sector is highly concentrated and therefore risky. This tells us that diversification is necessary, starting with consumption," he said.
China's rapid growth, sustained for 20 years, seems to have come to an end. In addition to consumption, wine production also declined (-16 percent) and the area under cultivation fell by eight percent compared to the previous year and stands at 785,000 hectares. Nevertheless, "Asia, as a growing consumer continent, is one of the biggest challenges for the wine world," said Roca. aw