wine

Economic and climate changes reshaping world’s wine map

January 9, 2014 

What wine would you drink with a nice herring on toast in a Liverpool pub? Why, an English white wine, of course — maybe made from the bacchus grape by Biddenden Vineyards in Kent.

What would you order in a restaurant in China’s Szechuan Province to go with its signature beef spiced with ginger and black peppercorns? Try a hearty merlot by the Chinese wine firm Dynasty, grown in that country’s Ningxia Helan Mountain region.

Wine is going global — and faster than you may realize. Here’s the world wine outlook for 2014 and beyond:

• Most of the world’s Northern Hemisphere grapes are grown between latitudes 30 and 50 — roughly from Spain and Israel in the south to central Germany in the north. But this global swath also includes Afghanistan, India, China, even North Korea.

• Grape-growing regions are shifting north. Warmer weather due to climate change will expand grape production in England, China, Russia and Scandinavia by mid-century, The New York Times reports. At the same time, some fear increasing heat may hurt established wine regions in Bordeaux, Tuscany and Spain.

• England and Wales have doubled their number of wineries to over 400 in the past decade, the Mail Online reports.

• China, the world’s fifth-largest wine producer, is on track to double its grape production in five years to become the world’s largest producer, says Wine-Searcher.com.

• Chinese wine consumption will double by 2016 to 400 million cases a year, making the country the world’s largest consumer, Business Insider predicts.

• Russia joined the top 10 world nations in wine sales in 2012, according to the Meininger’s wine business website — but vodka and beer are still its national indulgence.

• Global producers recognize the shift in consumption. French champagne giant Moet-Hennessy has launched a new line of sparkling wines — “Chandon Nashik” — to be produced and drunk in India, says the Great Wine News website.

• Europe is lagging. In France, more than half of adults drank wine every day in 1980; today it’s only 17 percent, the BBC says. Per-capita wine consumption in Italy has declined from 29 gallons a year in the 1970s to 11 gallons today, says the Italian wine association Assoenologi. And Spanish sippers imbibe twice as much beer as wine.

• U.S. wine fans, on the other hand, are holding our own. Consumption grew 2 percent in 2012, maintaining for the time being our status as the world’s top wine-drinking country.

• A global wine shortage looms, says Morgan Stanley Research. Global consumption grew by 1 percent in 2012, while wine production fell by 5 percent to 2.8 billion cases due to bad weather in Europe and Australia. And some fear climate change could hurt California’s warmer growing areas as well.

Budget picks

An upcoming column will feature your suggestions of the cheapest wines you’ve tried that are good enough to drink. Send them to fredtaskerwine@gmail.com.

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