Why 'climate hazards' might make your favorite wine scarce

Savor a good Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or chenin blanc?

Then 2017 might not be your year, thanks to a number of “climate hazards” cited by a group that monitors worldwide wine production.

The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) reports that “unfavorable climate conditions” have resulted in historically low production this year in Western Europe — not seen since the 1950s, most notably in Italy and France. OIV is a scientific intergovernmental organization focused on wine.

“In the European Union, exceptional weather events — from frost to drought — significantly impacted 2017 wine production, which was historically low,” the report states. “The harvest volume will be 15 percent less than the previous year’s levels.”

Most wine grape harvesting occurs from late August into October, so the data reflect that.

Production fell 23 percent in Italy, 19 percent in France, and 15 percent in Spain. They are the top producing countries in Europe.

Overall, worldwide wine production fell 8.2 percent compared with 2016.

Camera icon International Organisation of Vine and Wine
From the OIV annual report on wine production. The numbers are reflected in millions of hectoliters (mhl). One hectoliter equals about 26 gallons.

The good news? U.S. production appears just fine — at least as of August.

Although U.S. production dipped slightly from 2016, this year is still a good year.  The United States set a record for production in 2013, and the last two years have produced less than that.

But the report notes that estimated wine production in the U.S. is based on Department of Agriculture forecasts from August. So it does not take into account the wildfires that ripped through California’s wine country the last few weeks.