Global wine output fell to its lowest level in 60 years in 2017 due to poor weather conditions in the European Union. Picture: EPA
INTERNATIONAL - Global wine output fell to its  lowest level in 60 years in 2017 due to poor weather conditions  in the European Union that slashed production in the bloc,  international wine organisation OIV said.

Wine production totalled 250 million hectolitres last year,  down 8.6 percent from 2016, data from the Paris-based  International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) released on
Tuesday showed. 

It is the lowest level since 1957, when it had fallen to  173.8 million hectolitres, the OIV told Reuters.      A hectolitre represents 100 litres, or the equivalent of  just over 133 standard 75 cl wine bottles.

All top wine producers in the EU have been hit by harsh  weather last year, which lead to an overall fall in the bloc of  14.6 percent to 141 million hectolitres. 

The OIV's projections, which exclude juice and must (new  wine), put Italian wine production down 17 percent at 42.5  million hectolitres, French output down 19 percent at 36.7  million and Spanish production down 20 percent at 32.1 million. 

The French government said last year production had hit a  record low due to a series of poor weather conditions including  spring frosts, drought and storms that affected most of the main  growing regions including Bordeaux and Champagne. 

I n contrast, production remained nearly stable in the United  States, the world's fourth largest producer, and China, which  has become the world's seventh largest wine producer behind  Australia and Argentina. 

Trends were mixed in Latin America, with a rise of 25  percent in Argentina after a very low production in 2016 and a  decline of 6 percent in Chile. 

G lobal wine consumption edged higher at around 243 million  hectolitres in 2017, up 1.8 percent from a year earlier. The  United States confirmed its position as largest world wine  consumer with 32.6 million hectolitres, followed by France at 27  million. 

Chinese wine consumption rose significantly for a third year  in a row with an increase in 2017 of 3.5 percent at 17.9 million  hectolitres.  

On the export market, Spain remains the largest exporting  country by volume with a global market share of 20.5 percent,  while France keeps its leading position in value with 9.0
billion euros ($11 billion) of wine exported last year. 

In total, global exports totalled 107.9 million hectolitres  in 2017, up 3.8 percent on the previous year, and 30 billion  euros in value, an increase of 5.1 percent on 2016.
- REUTERS