Among the major EU wine producing countries, only the production forecasts for Portugal and Greece have increased, though the increases came on the back of fairly low 2011 production volumes. Countries where output followed an upward trend are mainly in the southern hemisphere: Chile achieved a record level with 10.6 mhl (+15.5 percent/2010) and South Africa showed an increase of 4 percent (10 mhl). The United States posted a sharp upturn in 2012 wine production, but this was in comparison to the short crop of 2011 (20.55 mhl excluding juice and musts, +7.1 percent).
Some of the decreases witnessed this year can be ascribed to a fall in area under vine. A number of OIV member countries reported a reduction in vineyard areas between 2011 and 2012. Although the three-year period during which the EU offered grants for permanent vine removal has come to an end, further declines were nonetheless reported. At the same time, the growth rate of planted areas in the southern hemisphere and the United States remained positive, despite a slowdown in the overall rate. Within Europe, climatic conditions had a major influence on volume output.
Concurrently with this, growth in world wine consumption seems slightly shakier than it did last year. Available data suggests that current consumption ranges from 235.7 to 249.4 million hectolitres. The smaller figure casts doubt on the strength of the recovery witnessed from 2010 onwards. Low production levels this year, whilst seemingly positive in terms of price trends, may well cause consumption levels to decline as price hikes at source filter through to consumers in the more hesitant markets such as Russia and China.