There was both good and bad news for France in this week’s annual report on the outlook of the wine industry by the International Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV).
Although vineyards cover France from the Loire to Languedoc and from Burgundy to Bordeaux the country is not actually home to the largest area dedicated to wine production, not even the world’s second-largest area.
Spain leads the way on this front with 1.02 million hectares of earth given over to grapes. China now has the second-largest wine growing area with 799,000 hectares of vines compared to 792,000 hectares in France. In fourth place comes Italy with 690,000 hectares and then Turkey with 502,000 hectares. The United States is back in sixth place with 425,000 hectares devoted to wine production
But clearly size isn’t everything if we compare areas of wine production to how much plonk is actually produced.
On this front France are top dogs, pumping out almost 47 million hectoliters last year, thanks to an 11% boost in production compared to 2013. That puts France ahead of Italy which produced almost 45 million hectoliters, which reflected a 17% drop from 2013.
Spain came in third place with just under 42 million hectoliters and the US in fourth place on 22 million hectoliters. For the record China produced around 11 million hectoliters.
As to the main wine consumers in the world, US leads with 31,000 hectoliters – a 2% rise on 2013. Then came the French (28,000 hectoliters), whose consumption of wine actually fell by 3% and then Italy (20,400 hectoliters). Then came Germany (20,200 hectoliters), China (15,800 hectoliters) and the UK (12,600 hectoliters). Consumption of wine in China actually fell by 7% last year to around 15,800 hectoliters.
The wine export market is largely dominated by Spain, Italy and France, who represent more than half of the world’s wine exports in terms of value of sales as well as in terms of volume.
Whereas Spain exported the most (22.5 million hectoliters), a huge 21% jump on the volume of Spanish wine sold abroad in 2013, France actually made the most exports.
In terms of volume France exported 14.3 million hectoliters and made €7.7 billion from selling wine abroad, compared to Spain’s €2.4 billion. For its part Italy exported 20.5 million hectoliters and pulled in €5 billion in selling wine abroad. The US exported four million hectoliters at a value of €1.1 billion and Australia sent 7.3 million hectoliters abroad for a value of €1.2billion.
The biggest importers of wine last year were Germany, the United Kingdom and then the US. It might be a surprise to some, given that France produces so much wine, but the country actually came fourth in the table of the world’s biggest importers, ahead of Russia and China.