Bad news, vino lovers: A wine shortage is right around the corner. But before you go into panic mode and begin stocking up on your favorite $5 Target wine, here's what you need to know.
What's causing this world wine shortage?
Italy, Spain, and France — the world's top three wine producers — have dealt with bad harvests in recent months due to the weather, which has caused overall wine production to drop. Vineyards in Europe took a heavy beating from hailstorms and severe frosts this spring; some grape growers even had to wheel out fans and heaters to protect their crops. Then, those that survived the cold temperatures suffered from droughts in the summer months — especially vineyards in Sicily, where production was reduced by a third. Warm weather then caused the grapes to ripen earlier and smaller than normal.
In the U.S., the California wildfires have decimated parts of Wine Country — the fourth largest producer of wine — meaning these vineyards cannot make up for what's being lost in Europe. Though a number of boutique wineries have begun to pop up, they will not produce wine on as large a scale as would be needed to cover the difference.
Wine on the Decline
This year's harvest is expected to be the worst since 1982, according to the European Commission. Europe is predicted to produce 14.5 billion liters of wine in 2017, which is a 14 percent decrease from 2016. All three countries listed earlier are seeing declines in production between 15 to 21 percent, says CNN Money. Yikes!
"We still foresee a dramatic decline in wine availability going into 2018," Stephen Rannekleiv, a global beverages strategist at Rabobank, told CNN Money. "We expect the decline [in consumption] to be felt most tangibly in the lower-priced tiers." He later said: "It has not been uncommon for one of these three producers to have an off year, but rarely have we seen such poor harvests for all three simultaneously."
But take heart — there's still good news!
Though a lot of news surrounding the wine shortage takes a doomsday angle, not everyone is convinced that the wine shortage will really affect customers that much. Last year, following news that 2016 would see the world's lowest overall wine output, a spokesperson for the Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV) told the BBC that "very often wine producers and wine industries keep wine stocks in order to respond to such risks."
As of now, it seems like there isn't much good news coming from grape growers. If this downward trend in wine production continues, now would be a good time to start looking at at-home wine-making kits.
In the meantime, drink up while you still can!