Is the world running out of wine?

Posted at 7:52 AM, Dec 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-03 09:54:05-05

(CNN) — Global wine production is booming with vineyards springing up everywhere from China to the United States, Chile and New Zealand.

But when a recent report authored by Morgan Stanley Research predicted a looming global wine shortage, vinophiles took to social media to express their dismay over the bleak news.

The report stated that the international demand for wine outweighed production by 300 million cases in 2012 — dropping to its lowest point in over 40 years.

With worldwide consumption jumping by 1% last year, the researchers concluded demand could overtake supply in the coming years pushing the price of wine up.

As the viticulture chaos ensued, France’s International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) released their very own forecast report that countered Morgan Stanley’s analysis.

While Morgan Stanley’s figures weren’t incorrect, per say, their forecast did not take into account 2013’s production levels which actually show a return to 2006 production levels, a healthy state of production for the industry. What’s more — Spain, Italy, France and Chile produced record wine levels in 2013.

“It’s how you interpret those figures. For all intense purposes for those of us in the West who are consumers, no — there is not going to be a wine shortage,” says Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International magazine.

“The question is whether there is going to be a wine shortage for consumers in markets that are extremely price sensitive — like parts of Eastern Europe — because the cheaper wine that they drink will be diverted to bulk up wine that goes into big consumption markets.”

Carter echoes the OIV report pointing to the significant increase in production in EU countries like Croatia, Greece, Hungary and Romania and if vineyards from these areas could find stronger distribution avenues within the international market, there will be plentiful bottles to go around.

With poor wine harvests in recent years thanks to erratic weather from climate change, Carter acknowledges this could impact wine production levels. While consumers are not going to see a drastic price difference when purchasing wine from supermarkets, she says it all depends on the region of wine.

“The Burgundy harvest and the Bordeaux harvest this year have been abysmal … If you wanted wine from the 2013 Burgundy or some parts of France, you’re going to have a big problem. You will probably pay a lot more for those wines,” she explains.

“The question is can you substitute other types of wine for those? Now, the answer is yes.”

She adds: “Morgan Stanley, by the way, were not wrong in what they said. They did use very good figures and they do know what they are talking about but the world of wine is just so complex.”

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