In a series of article we will take a detailed look at the development of the wine sector in 2020. The first article is about vineyard surface, acreage of land planted with vines. Keep in mind that in some countries much of the grapes are used for other than making wine. The following will be about wine production, consumption etc.
Data comes from the OIV unless otherwise noted.
The world vineyard surface area in 2020 has decreased slightly
The world vineyard surface area in 2020 was just over 7.3 million hectares (Mha), or 18 million acres (Mac), in 2020. This is a small decrease from 2019 but, bar small changes, it has been stable since 2017, four years. The record years are 2002-2003 when the world vineyard acreage reached over 7.8 Mha (19.3 Mac). We have lost about 6% of vineyards since then.
These are the top ten countries in the world with the biggest vineyard plantings:
- Spain 961,000 ha (2.4 Mac)
- France 797,000 ha (2 Mac)
- China 785,000 ha (1.9 Mac)
- Italy 719,000 ha (1.8 Mac)
- Turkey 431,000 ha (1.1 Mac)
- USA 405,000 ha (1 Mac)
These numbers include all vineyard acreage, so it includes grapes for wines and juices, table grapes and raisins. It also includes young vines not yet in production.
Vineyard area in Europe is stable
Europe’s (mainly EU’s) vineyards are stable at 3.3 M ha (8.2 Mac), stable since seven years back. Within the EU vineyard plantings are subject to government controls (“planting authorisations”), the EU countries have agreed to limit growth to 1% per year. This is apparently not a growth potential that is entirely used.
Country by country vineyard acreage in Europe, with the change since 2019:
- Spain: 961,000 ha (2.4 Mac), -0.6%
- France: 797,000 ha (2 Mac), +0.4%
- Italy: 719,000 ha (1.8 Mac), +0.8%
- Portugal: 194,000 ha (479 kac), -0.2%
- Romania: 190,000 ha (470 kac), -0.4%
Growth countries: France, Italy
Declining countries: Spain, Portugal, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary
Since Europe is stable, the rest of the world has declined
The biggest wine producing vineyard country outside of Europe is the USA. Its vineyards have shrunk consistently over seven years and are now down to 405,000 ha (1,001,000 ac).
The South American vineyard area is also shrinking
- Argentina: 215,000 ha (531 kac), -0.2%
- Chile: 207,000 ha (512 kac), -1.2%
- Brazil: 80,000 ha (198 kac), -1.2%
South African vineyards are stable (well, down -0.7%) at 122,000 ha (301 kac). (Which is just a bit bigger than the vineyard acreage in Bordeaux.) This is good news for South Africa. From 2015 to 2018 they had a period of severe drought that resulted in a loss of 10,000 ha (25,000 ac).
The odd-man-out here is Oceania. Australian vineyards remain stable at 146,000 ha (361 kac). New Zealand, that has been very successful in winning new markets and establishing a premium reputation for wine, increased the vineyard area with 2% to 40,000 ha (99kac).
Special cases: China and Turkey
A few years back, China caused a lot of brouhaha when it became the country with the world’s second largest vineyard acreage, overtaking France and being second only to Spain.
This has now changed. China has now the third largest vineyard acreage in the world: 785,000 ha (1.9 Mac), after Spain and France. France has regained the position as the country with the second largest vineyard acreage. This happens although the Chinese vineyard acreage is estimated to have grown with 0.6% (+4,000 ha / 10,000 ac).
In fact, the “Third National Agricultural Census in China” has resulted in a substantial revision downwards of the vineyard acreage, says the OIV, pushing China down to third place. Presumably, this revision means that China never actually did have the world’s second largest vineyard surface.
Turkey, another country with vast vineyards but that make little wine, saw a decline in acreage: -1.1% to 431,000 ha (1.1 Mac).
Domination of the big countries
The top five of the vine growing countries – Spain, France, China, Italy, Turkey – represent 50% of the world surface area.
The top five of the significant wine producing countries (thus removing Turkey and adding USA) equally represent 50% of the world surface area.
The top twenty-five of the vine growing countries represent almost 90% of the world surface area. All the remaining countries that grow wine have, put together, a vineyard acreage of about the same size as France.
Grapes grown for other use than wine
As mentioned above, these numbers include all vineyard acreage, so it includes grapes for wines and juices, table grapes and raisins. It also includes young vines not yet in production.
So let us make an estimate of how much of this is used for making wine. NB: This is our estimate, not one made by the OIV.
The main countries that grow grapes to a significant extent for other purposes than wine are the following. The estimates of surface for wine is based on various sources, including the countries known wine production:
- China 785 kha (1.9 Mac) total, of which an estimated 190 kha (470 kac) for wine
- Turkey 431 kha (1.1 Mac), insignificant amount for wine
- USA 405 kha (1 Mac) total, est. 305 kha (754 kac) for wine
- Iran 167 kha (413 kac) total, insignificant amount for wine
- India 151 kha (373 kac), insignificant amount for wine
- Uzbekistan 112 kha (277 kac), insignificant amount for wine
- Greece 109 kha total (269 kac), est. 59 kha (156 kac) for wine
- Afghanistan 96 kha (237 kac), insignificant amount for wine
- Egypt 79 kha (195 kac), insignificant amount for wine
- Algeria 66 kha (uncertain number) (163 kac), 8 kha (20 kac) for wine
This means that the world surface area of vines not used for wine production can be estimated to: 1.8 Mha (4.4 Mac).
The total vineyard acreage to grow grapes used for making wine can thus be estimated to approximately 5.5 million hectares (13.6 Mac).
In other words: 75% of the world vineyards are used for wine. Maybe somewhat less since some other winemaking countries also have production of raisins, grape juice and other non-wine products. And 25% is used for “other”, for juice, table grapes and other.
Sources: all data comes from the OIV report “State of the world vitivinicultural sector in 2020”, unless otherwise stated.