Wine is about to get really expensive. There are a multitude of factors that affect the supply of grapes worldwide, and many things combined this year to create a shortage of grapes that will limit the amount of wine that can be produced.
Severe weather and natural disasters are the main culprits behind a shortage of grapes this year. Europe as a whole is experiencing its worst grape harvest since 1982, which is big considering that France, Italy, and Spain produce more than half of the world’s wine. All of Europe is expected to produce 14.5 billion liters of wine, a 14 percent reduction from 2016, according to the European Commission. CNN Money reports that Italy has suffered the worst dearth of grapes, producing 21 percent less liters of wine than in 2016. France and Spain aren’t much better off, and are expecting to produce 15 percent less volume than in 2016.
Extreme frost and hail exacerbated by climate change damaged grapes during the spring, and droughts further contributed to the shortage this summer.
Another factor that will impact wine prices in the near future are the devastating wildfires in Northern California. Although 90 percent of the grape harvest in Napa and Sonoma was completed before the wildfires began, the remaining 10 percent of the harvest will likely be damaged or destroyed by fire and smoke. Some wineries were also hit directly by the fires, burning the equipment and product. California is the world’s fourth largest producer of wine, and the uncertainty surrounding the remaining 10 percent of the harvest compounded with the certain scarcity of grapes in Europe are expected to send wine prices up significantly.