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No wine shortage, say exporters

US bank Morgan Stanley’s prediction of upcoming wine shortage ignores higher yields from smaller vineyards

WARNINGS of a looming global wine shortage by US bank Morgan Stanley are unfounded, according to industry experts in France.

In a much-publicised report released last week, the bank said a worldwide fall in production and growing thirst for wine among Chinese and Americans would send prices rocketing.

It said that demand far outstripped supply last year and predicted things would get worse as demand for exported wine would grow over the medium term.

However, the assistant director general of the Federation of French Wine and Spirits Exporters, Pierre Genest, said predicting a shortage was too strong.

"If you look at 2013, the level of production is higher than consumption," he said - a marked turnaround from the previous six years.

"It's obvious we're in a situation where the size of European vineyards is diminishing, but the size of vineyards in the rest of the world is increasing.

"And if the surfaces shrink, one would think that technological developments would allow for an increase in yields, which would make up for it."

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which deals with technical and scientific aspects of winemaking, corroborated Genest's comments and pointed to a report published earlier this week.

In the OIV report, the organisation says that "world wine production has increased significantly in 2013 and consumption is stabilising."

It says wine production has returned to strong 2006 levels "despite the persistent decline... of the global vineyard surface area, particularly in Italy and Spain."

The report points to increases in production in Italy, France and Portugal, and record production in Romania, Chile and New Zealand.

The organisation acknowledges that overall, between 2006 and 2013, some 300,000 hectares of vines, an area larger than Luxembourg, were lost worldwide.

But "the 2013 harvest has been fairly significant thanks to a productivity which continues to increase despite the abrupt stop caused by adverse climate conditions in 2012", said Federico Castellucci, OIV chief.

Text and photo: Afp/Relaxnews

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