GLOBAL HARVEST REPORT 2017

2017 comes to an end. It is time to have a general point of view on the harvest on the major wine countries. Historically, 2017 will be on the lowest harvests and OIV declared the global wine production is hitting a 20-year low.

Even if some countries came out on top with good volume, the question of price rises for consumers has to be kept in mind.

Harvest 2017

USA

The season began with rainfall that refilled reservoirs and replenished soils, ending a five-year drought. Harvests 2017 started early August, compared to 2016 and 2015, with a heat wave at the end of August and cooler temperatures mid-September, allowing late ripening for red grapes.

In California, 90% harvest just finished when massive fires started during the 9th of October. On the 15th of November, California wines Newsletter informed us that the state’s vineyards and wineries were not significantly affected.

2017 should be a qualitative vintage especially for early-season whites and later-ripening reds.

CHILE

After challenging weather conditions for Chile, in 2016 due to El Nino, drier episodes from La Nina made 2017 harvests started a month earlier. Berries were smaller but with a high level of ripeness. However yields are down by 21%-22%.

Some forest fires were declared in Maule and Itata with limited damages, smoky taste can be expected in some wines from there.

ARGENTINA

In Argentina the production grew by 25% rising to 11.8 mhl compared to 2016, even if some spring frosts caused important damages in many vineyards.

The drier conditions came as a relief after several years of above-normal rainfall, and boosted quality especially for Malbec in Mendoza.

SOUTH AFRICA

In 2017, South Africa’s volume remains stable with 10.8 mhl, compared to 10.5 mhl in 2016. Very good potential quality across the Western Cape can be reported. The drought offered as a result a great concentration of color & flavor.

However, 2018 growing season seems challenging for South Africa’s winemakers, as the Western Cape continues to suffer from a chronic drought and will have an impact of the grape growing/volume.

AUSTRALIA

The production in Australia increased by 6% compared to 2016 for the third year in a row, representing 13.9 mhl. According to Matt Smith (Bibendum Buyer):

“The 2017 vintage can broadly be summarized as a late harvest following a long cooler ripening period. This has led to wines of great finesse and quality. Whites are bright and lively with great elegance whilst reds are pure, fresh fruited and show huge potential.”

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand experienced a cool growing season, positive summer weather later followed by some challenges like wet weather before harvest, with some areas of exception.

Even if a decrease of 9% for the production with 2.9 mhl has been recorded, vintage quality is positive.

For example, high flavor concentration and great acidity can be noticed for grapes which were picked up early, especially for Chardonnay & Pinot Noir from Marlborough.

FRANCE

Heavy hailstorms and harsh frosts hit almost every wine region in France during April.

Hopefully for some areas the flowering was not impacted and harvest sometimes started mid-August, being 1 or 2 weeks than scheduled. The maturity and health of the grapes leaves growers hopeful that this vintage will be remembered for its quality, not just its rarity.

In general, quantity must drop by 19% and be the lowest since 1945! Meanwhile Burgundy saw one of its biggest crops since 2009.

ITALY

Italy suffered also from frost and from the “Lucifer” heat wave, yet ensuring absence of diseases and less use of treatment, giving healthier grapes and leading to a prediction of good quality (grapes were forced to draw on soil’s resources).

Nonetheless this harvest should be the smallest since 1957 with -23% in term of quantity.

SPAIN

Frost in the spring caused important damages with some North, Northeast region destroyed up to 60%.

Spain should also see its harvests reduce by 15% to reach 33.5 million of hectoliters.

Hovewer high quality reds can be predicted, thanks to slightly cooler weather in late summer. Prices for La Rioja and Ribera del Duero are expected to rise after several years of stagnation.