Category: Wines

Extreme weather pushes EU wine harvest to historical low in 2017

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.