'Historically bad' grape harvest to send wine prices soaring as climate change hits sector

'Historically bad' grape harvest to send wine prices soaring as climate change hits sector

Climate change has caused havoc with grape harvests which is likely to increased to price of wine.

Wine prices may soar in the coming months as climate change has wreaked havoc on this year's harvest.


Check out our Sustainability and Climate Change Hub where you will find the latest news, features, opinions and analysis on this topic from across the various Irish Examiner topic desks and their team of specialist writers and columnists.

A "historically bad" harvest has hit Europe and yields have “dropped considerably”, the EU's agriculture groups Copa and Cogeca’s updated wine harvest forecast confirmed.

However, on a positive note, the bodies said that the wines produced this harvest are “excellent quality."

Most countries, and especially the three largest producing countries (Italy, Spain, and France), experienced a significant drop in production, comparable to the 2017/18 marketing year which went on record as a very bad year for the sector.

The spring frosts, summer droughts, some hail and occasional high temperatures in the month of September, along with plant diseases in some countries, are to be blamed for the low yields, the report said.

France is estimated to see a massive 27% drop in production between the 2020/2021 harvest and the 2021/2022 harvest.

Spain’s yield is estimated to drop by 14% while Italy is predicted to see a 9% fall in harvest output.

Greece is expected to see a 25% smaller harvest in 2021/2021 compared to the previous years.

However, some smaller wine producers are bucking that trend, with Germany seeing a 3% increase and Romania is projected to see a 32% increase in harvest yield.

“Climate change is, of course, one of the most pressing topics the sector is dealing with on a daily basis and in which it is making substantial investments,” a statement from Copa and Cogeca said.

Chairman of the Copa and Cogeca Wine Working Party, Mr Luca Rigotti, said at an event on the future of the sector: “The climate events experienced this year show the extent to which climate change is impacting agriculture and point to the challenges that the wine sector will be facing in the future.

“Winegrowers are well aware of these challenges and the sector has already put in place several sustainability projects that are being buttressed by quality certificates.

"However, to continue on this virtuous path and go beyond, winegrowers need adequate resources and time, accompanied by research and innovative technologies. These instruments are essential for maintaining the competitiveness of the EU wines on the international markets.” 

Coffee may also see hefty price hikes early next year due to climate change.

A particularly harsh frost in Brazil in July led to a third of the crop in the arabica-producing region being destroyed, which means the commodity is seeing its price skyrocket.

Irish coffee industry experts have warned that, combined with a global supply chain fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, and social strife in coffee-producing countries such as Colombia, drinkers can expect significant increases in the first quarter of the new year.

Chocolate prices may also be soaring. Changing weather patterns, partly linked to global warming, have decimated cocoa crops for many farmers.

Dried-up land is killing off cocoa trees in farmland that was once very productive.

Irregular rains and prolonged dry seasons are threatening Cameroon's cocoa economy, Africa's third-largest cocoa producer, Reuters has reported.

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