The world will not have wine enough

FREGONI-2007-BorgonovoThe global outlook concerning the evolution of world viticulture in the last 40 years allows wondering whether in the future there will be wine enough for everyone. This will depend on the extension of the areas planted with vines and, in relation to these, on both production and consumption worldwide.
Over the past four decades, all over the world the surfaces decreased from around 10 million hectares to 7.5 million hectares; the 2.5 million lost hectares were uprooted in Europe.
Wine production has dropped from 380 million hectolitres to 240 million hectolitres, while global consumptions remained almost stable, because they have declined in Europe, but have increased in other continents, which therefore represent the future of European wine production in terms of end markets.
Therefore, at present production and consumption are in balance, but if we take into account the amount of wine intended for distillation for the production of brandy (first of all Cognac and Armagnac), the production of juices, and other applications, already today we lack some million hectolitres of wine.
However, it is difficult to realize this, because the wine produced in different Countries with hydrolyzed sugars coming from agro-industrial starches compensates for this lack. International adulterations are made easier by false production statistics that, in such a year as 2014, estimated very high production capacities – in spite of the serious and widespread diseases – in the absence of controls in the field. The non-existent productions, which are just present on paper and allow selling the official paper production of DOP products and then of table wines, come on top of this. In addition, in the Countries of northern Europe, must is also enriched with saccharose from beet, so increasing its alcohol content up to 3.5 more degrees, with an increase in the volume of wine.
So, fair winegrowers experience that their grapes are paid at prices which are far below the production costs, and with substantial delay. Therefore, how is it possible to wonder at unceasing uprooting of vinyards? It will be the cause of decreases of European productions, which so far have not been balanced by increases in other continents.
Asia (China in particular) could further increase its vineyards, but the effects on the production of wine will be seen in the medium term.
Luckily the world exports of wine continue to grow, both in European Countries and in America and Asia. As a matter of fact, the exports increased from about 40 to 105 million hectolitres.
But in the future, with which wine will we be able to face the situation, if Europe, largest producer, uproots its vines?
Both world consumptions and exports are moving from common wine to quality wine and therefore the viticulture will have to become more and more terroir one and less industrial.
A great success has already been achieved, because the compulsory distillation of surpluses, which had generated methanol, has been forgotten, but the controls against adulterations and for safeguarding traceability of geographical origin should be improved, in order to give a connotation of seriousness to the whole sector, in terms of both production and market.

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