There Might Be Another Wine Shortage Coming. Here's Why

So far, 2021 is turning out to be a year for the books for southern European wines. Unfortunately, it's for all the wrong reasons. Because of factors that include frost, unseasonal humid weather, and plant disease, a press release from Copa and Cogeca says the amount of wine produced by Italy, France, and Spain could fall by as much as 18% for 2021-2022 when compared to 2020-2021, or the same period last year. 

France is seen to be the hardest hit of Europe's wine-growing regions. In the Burgundy-Beaujolais region, hostile weather conditions that included frost and hail resulted in a drop in output that could see wine production halved this year, when compared to last year (via The Guardian). In the Champagne region, according to Decanter, 30% of its Chardonnay grapes were not only affected by frost, they were also plagued by summer rains which triggered the growth of mildew. Similar fungal problems have affected vineyards in Alsace, which sits on France's border with Germany.

Winemakers are expected to release reserves to make up for the shortfall

Beyond French wineCopa and Cogeca say it expects to see Italy's wine production to drop by about 9% for the 2021-2022 period, thanks to the coming of both spring frost and summer hail, which hurt vineyards in areas located in both northern and central Italy. Least affected is Spain, which the European farmers' groups say could have slightly smaller wine yields, but which has also resulted in what the groups are describing as "good quality fruit" — which we take to mean it these grapes will yield wines that are just as memorable. The same appears to be true of the grapes overall, which Copa and Cogeca confirms: "Notwithstanding the variability and the uncertain climatic conditions, the quality of the grapes overall are also considerably higher and bodes well for quality wines."

Before you rush to your wine store to stock up on your favorite labels, particularly in the case of French wines, do know that this year's shortfalls aren't expected to hurt supplies — at least not yet, because winemakers are expected to release supplies that they have had sitting in reserve (via The Guardian). But if you're on the market for what could be this year's prized, rare vintages, that could be another story.