Adverse climatic conditions in 2017, including heavy hailstorms and hard frosts in the spring as well as drought in the summer, caused considerable damage to vineyards all over Europe. As a result, most of the wine-growing regions in Europe are expecting a very low harvest for 2017.
The major wine producing countries in the European Union are predicting significant drops in the size of their harvests: Spain expects the harvest to be 16% lower compared to the previous year, France 17% and Italy 21%. Some regions within these countries are expecting reductions even greater than these national averages. For instance Castilla-la-Mancha, a Spanish region, expects the harvest to be 19% lower than last year, whilst Sicilia in Italy expects a decline of 35%.
The situation is not the same across the whole of the EU, with some countries expecting an improvement compared to the previous year. Portugal, for example, is predicting a 10% increase from 2016, while Austria, which suffered also from frost last year, is expecting a 23% improvement. Romania expects 60% growth, a return to the level of 2013 and an increase of 35% compared to the fiveyear average production.
Across the whole of the EU, the 2017-2018 wine harvest is currently estimated to reach around 145 million hectolitres, some 22 million hectolitres (-14%) lower than the previous year and 5.5 million hectolitres lower than the 2012-2013 campaign, the previous record low harvest of recent years. These initial estimates of harvest size could change as the situation becomes clearer following the actual harvest; EU member states have to provide final figures to the European Commission by 15 March 2018.