Unfavorable climate changes have caused worldwide wine production to hit a 50-year low, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), an intergovernmental organization which tracks technical and scientific data pertaining to viticulture and winemaking.
The top three wine producing countries in the world — Italy, Spain, and France — all suffered sharp drops in output this year, Yahoo News reports. Production in Italy fell 23 percent to 39.3 million hectolitres (mhl); France dropped 19 percent to 36.7 mhl; and Spain fell 15 percent to 33.5 mhl.
The United States, which is the world’s fourth largest producer of wine, dropped about 1 percent to 23.3 mhl, although the OIV cautioned that those estimates were made before the devastating wildfires ravaged California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
Natural disasters aside, the unseasonably warm weather means that many grapes are ripening earlier and are smaller than usual. What does that mean for consumers? The earlier harvest and lower yield of grapes means higher prices for wine, with the prices of some wine varieties increasing as much as 10 percent this year, CNN Money reports.