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Will the world's wine supplies run dry?

According to research released this month by Morgan Stanley, global wine production is decreasing, but we’re guzzling more and more of the stuff.

New Statesman
Photo: Getty.

It’s a sobering thought. According to research released this month by Morgan Stanley, global wine production is decreasing, but we’re guzzling more and more of the stuff. The report finds that wine production peaked in 2004 and has been steadily declining since to reach its lowest level in 40 years. Globally, wine consumption increased 8 per cent between 2000-2012. “The data suggests there may be insufficient supply to meet demand in coming years, as current vintages are released,” the report concludes.

Interestingly, wine consumption is decreasing in old world wine countries. Although in France in 1980 51 per cent of French people drank wine every day or nearly every day, in 2010 this proportion had gone down to 17 per cent and many more are opting for mineral water, soft drinks or juice instead. This trend is mirrored in Spain and Italy. Wine consumption has gone down slightly in the UK too, it’s down 4 per cent since 2007. But, this is offset by increased demand in countries like the US and China. In China wine consumption increased almost 150 per cent in the past five years.

The good news for wine-lovers is that a report published yesterday by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine suggests that this year wine production increased, and should reach 2006 levels. It does however say that the world’s vineyards are shrinking, so it’s hard to see how wine demand will keep up with supply in the long-term. Unless we all turn to vodka, or like the sensible French, mineral water.