World faces global wine shortage - report

Employees in a vineyard in Zenevredo, northern Italy (16 September 2013) Global wine production peaked in 2004, and is continuing to fall, the report says

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The world is facing a wine shortage, with global consumer demand already significantly outstripping supply, a report has warned.

The research by America's Morgan Stanley financial services firm says demand for wine "exceeded supply by 300m cases in 2012".

It describes this as "the deepest shortfall in over 40 years of records".

Last year, production also dropped to its lowest levels in more than four decades.

Global production has been steadily declining since its peak in 2004, when supply outweighed demand by about 600m cases.

'Main drivers'

World's largest wine consumers

Stacked wine bottles
  • France, US - both 12%
  • Italy, China - both 9%
  • Germany - 8%
  • UK, Russia - both 5%
  • Spain, Argentina - both 4%
  • Source: Morgan Stanley

The report by Morgan Stanley's analysts Tom Kierath and Crystal Wang says global wine consumption has been rising since 1996 (except a drop in 2008-09), and presently stands at about 3bn cases per year.

At the same time, there are currently more than one million wine producers worldwide, making some 2.8bn cases each year.

The authors predict that - in the short term - "inventories will likely be reduced as current consumption continues to be predominantly supplied by previous vintages"

And as consumption then inevitably turns to the 2012 vintage, the authors say they "expect the current production shortfall to culminate in a significant increase in export demand, and higher prices for exports globally".

They say this could be partly explained by "plummeting production" in Europe due to "ongoing vine pull and poor weather".

Bottles of aged wine in Tokaj, Hungary (October 2013) In recent years, production across Europe has fallen

Total production across the continent fell by about 10% last year, and by 25% since its peak in 2004.

At the same time, production in the "new world" countries - the US, Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand - has been steadily rising.

"With tightening conditions in Europe, the major new world exporters stand to benefit most from increasing demand on global export markets."

The report says the French are still the world's largest consumers of wine (12%).

But it adds that the US (also 12%) is now only marginally second.

It also states that the US together with China - the world's fifth-largest market - are seen as "the main drivers of consumption globally".

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