Economic and climate changes reshaping world’s wine map


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

• 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.

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