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Recession has major impact on global wine industry
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(First appeared in La Journée Vinicole, edition 214, April 13) The picture painted by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) latest statistical compendium was rather bleak for 2009. With global consumption pursuing its downward trend, global commerce in wine also suffered from the recession and global wine production remained at a level unchanged since 2008. World wine consumption fell by a dramatic 6.8 million hectolitres compared with the previous year with particularly significant declines in the European Union. Affected by the downturn, global wine exchanges, at 81m hL, showed a 3.6% drop in 2009, the first fall since 2000. Countries that witnessed the greatest decrease in export levels included Argentina, the USA, Spain and France. Conversely, Italy, whose exports rose to 18.6m hL, strengthened its position as the world’s leading wine exporter. Chile and Australia also bucked the overall trend with 2009 wine exports reaching record volumes, though this was primarily achieved through a significant increase in bulk wines, causing a decline in average litre prices. The organisation’s managing director Federico Castellucci said the global wine market, relatively unscathed by the downturn, saw a reversal in 2009. “This is essentially due to a significant drop in demand in big producer, consumer and importer countries,” he said. “However, the level on international wine exchange continues to be an important share of the 2009 global wine consumption, i.e. 36.4%. “This means that over 3.5 bottles in 10 were consumed outside their country of origin in 2009.” Global wine production, at 265m hL, also decreased by some 1.4m hL in 2009 and remains at relatively low levels, on a par with those of 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008. Of the traditional producer countries in Europe, Spain and Germany showed a significant decline. However, France recorded its largest increase in wine production in 2009. The southern hemisphere, along with the USA and Switzerland, revealed a contrasted situation for 2009. While Chile and the USA witnessed a significant increase, production volumes fell in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Australia and remained virtually unchanged in Switzerland and New Zealand from 2008. As a result of Europe’s vineyard reduction program, the global area under vine fell by 1.2% in 2009. In the EU itself, vineyard area decreased by a further 2.5% in 2009 as the new subsidised uprooting program kicked in. Spain, Italy and France are most affected by the program.