Thirsty, pricy times ahead for European wine drinkers

Latest estimates suggest that the region’s 2021 harvest will be significantly smaller than last year.

Harvest in the Loire valley / Credit: Stevens Fremont
Harvest in the Loire valley / Credit: Stevens Fremont

This year's EU harvest will amount to 147m hl. This is around 23m hl, or 13 per cent, less than in 2020. The fall in production is due to extreme weather conditions ranging from "frost to floods", according to the European Commission.

With 44.5m hl and a drop in production of nine percent, Italy will be the largest producer, followed by Spain’s 39m hl (-15%). France is the biggest loser in this scenario. Its 33.3m hl reflect a harvest reduction over a quarter. The EU’s estimate of a 27 percent loss in crop is actually larger than more recent figures from the French Ministry of Agriculture, but the difference will not be that significant and France is certain to be the third largest producer in Europe. 

Together, Italy, Spain and France produce about 117m hl - almost 80 percent of total EU- volume. The producers of the remaining 20 percent had varied experiences in 2021. Slovenia rivaled France, with a crop reduction of 26 percent, while Romania’s vineyards yielded 30 percent more than in 2020. Germany and Portugal, with increases of four and one percent respectively, were other exceptions to the miserable rule. 

These limited supplies, coupled with increased costs of transport and dry goods are bound to be reflected in price increases for most styles and regions.

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