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Spain’s Number 2!


The OIV, a Paris based organization, recently published the State of Vitiviniculture World Report for 2005. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the OIV, they describe themselves on their site as:

â€Â¦an intergovernmental organization of a scientific and technical nature or recognized competence for its works concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins and other vine-based products.

Each year they release a report showing where wine production and consumption stands in the world. The report lays out in detail how much wine is being produced in each country, how much land is planted under vines, and how much wine is being consumed by countries worldwide.

Interesting facts and figures in this year’s report include:

  • Despite Spain’s ongoing effort to rip up old, unproductive and neglected vineyards, it still has the largest area under vine in the world. This year, Spain dropped from 1200mha (thousand hectares) under vine to 1180mha, while the rest of Europe remained relatively the same as the year before. In comparison, the second largest producer of vines internationally was France with 890mha, Portugal with 250mha and the USA with 399mha. Interestingly, most countries stayed the same or declined slightly in surface area planted. Worldwide, we are seeing a small growth in the number of vineyards planted. In total, 7930mha were planted in 2004, whereas 7943mha were planted in 2005.
  • Continuing onto wine production, we notice that Spain is in third place with a forecasted total production in 2005 of 35300thousand hectoliters (a hectoliter is 100liters of wine, or approximately, 133 standard bottles of wine). This figure places Spain 3rd in production behind France and Italy, and Portugal in 5th place just behind Germany. In an attempt to quell the over-production of wine in the EU, consequently hurting worldwide wine prices, the EU has successfully experienced a slight decline in production. In the USA, wine production continues to grow with 2005 forecasted to have produced 23500mhl.

The next two points I want to address go hand in hand, consumption of wine by country and volumes exported. It really comes down to the fact that if you can’t drink all the wine you produce, you better have someone to sell it to! So who’s drinking it?

  • For 2005, France remains King having consumed 32600mhl (down from the previous year by 541mhl); followed by, get this, Italy, Germany, and then Spain! Spain only consumed 13900mhl and Portugal came in 5th with 4710mhl consumed. On the other hand, look at the USA where wine recently overtook beer as the most consumed beverage – we are talking about 25,400mhl – making it one of the largest wine consuming nations behind France!

Spain made about 35300mhl of wine in 2005, and according to this report, they’ll only drink 13900mhl, leaving us with 21400mhl unaccounted for! This is where the final figure comes in!

  • In 2005, looking at the percentage of the world export market, Italy is still on top with 15.1million hl. Italy is followed by, and this is the exciting part, SPAIN with 14.1million hl; while France dropped to 13.9million hl. Interestingly, France’s wine woes as of late are finally starting to show up in the figures, and I’m sure France can’t be too happy as they see their neighbor begin to creep into their territory of historical dominance.

In the end, what does all this number crunching mean for Iberian wines? In short, Spanish wine is on the rise. Look for great values and new unexplored regions to come to the forefront as Spanish bodegas try to steal some market share in the coming years. Additionally, take notice as to how many vines Spain possesses, if you think for one moment that Spain can’t rise to number one in exportation, think again. Most of Spain’s vines produce grapes for brandy. If Spain wants to, they could produce wine from that juice, which would completely turn the tables placing Spain well ahead of France and Italy. Programs to pull out poor quality grape varietals in exchange for good quality varietals in better areas means that Spain is on the brink of altering the worldwide wine community perceives Spanish wine. Everyday I hear about a new winery or region that is starting to produce quality wines! For a country the size of Texas there is a ton of diversity here and lots of land capable of producing high quality wine.

If you don’t believe me, just remember things take time. Looking at all of the statistics before me, I’m confident that we are seeing a changing of the wine guard.

Till soon,
Ryan Opaz

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