Global Warming Is Threatening Wine Production

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Wine drinkers may want to start rationing their daily dosage of Merlot. According to a new report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine, wine production has dropped due to global warming.

Compared to last year, wine production in 2016 has dropped by five percent. This equates to one of the lowest production years in two decades, next to 2012. During 2012, wine production also dropped by five percent and resulted in a 300 million-barrel shortage.

A lot of this is attributed to increasingly warmer weather and a powerful El Niño season.

Image courtesy of star5112on Flickr
Credit: star5112/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Some regions and countries were hit harder than others. Brazil’s wine production dropped by 50 percent and Argentina’s wine production was down by 35 percent — bad news for Malbec fans. This dramatic drop could be due to the region’s increase in floods, storms and rising temperatures. Specifically, a torrent El Niño ripped through vineyards in South America with rains, flooded rivers and displaced residents.

Related: Compound in Red Wine May Boost Lung Health

However, some countries were not impacted by the erratic weather and have actually increased their wine production. Wine production in the United States increased by two percent, and Australian wine production rose to five percent more compared to the previous year. These increases were small and not large enough to make up for the dramatic drop in wine production from other regions of the world.

Wine consumption is up, specifically with millennials who are drinking more wine than ever. In 2015, millennials drank 42 percent of all wine in the U.S., according to a recent report.

But wine producers and sellers are trying to prepare for these kinds of shortages.

“We have other strains and cultivation techniques today, so I’m not worried in the short or mid-term on this question, which does not mean we should not consider the issue of climate change as a whole,” OIV Director General Jean-Marie Aurand told Reuters.

Many wine producers also keep stocks of bottles in reserve in case of low production.

Related: White Wine May Increase Your Risk of Melanoma

Danielle Tarasiuk
Danielle Tarasiuk is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published on AllDay.com, Yahoo! Sports, KCET, and NPR-affiliate stations KPCC and KCRW. She’s a proud Sarah Lawrence College and USC Annenberg alumn.