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ROME - Global wine consumption rose in 2012 by 0.6% to 245.2 million hectoliters compared to the previous year, lifted by demand in the United States and China, according to the latest data released by the "Office International Du Vin".
China last year boosted wine consumption by 9% in 2012, while the US sales gained 2% in the year. European consumption meanwhile remained stable.
Despite the slight increase "2012 goes to confirm the negative situation of consumption as a result of the financial crisis, as the sector has yet to return to the growth levels it was enjoying in terms of global demand that existed prior to the crisis", the ODV said.
Good news is that Italy continues to be the worldwide leader as wine exporter although numbers showed how European wine makers lost out to southern hemisphere and US rivals last year as low harvests, caused primarily by bad weather, hit exports from the EU, new figures have shown.
The top five EU exporters - Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Portugal - saw their share of world trade in volume terms in 2012 drop to 62.3% from 64.5% in 2011, the International Organization for Vine & Wine (OIV) said late last week.
The US' share jumped 2.5 percentage points to 28.2% while South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina also benefited, OIV said.
The figures confirmed OIV estimates in October that said the global wine harvest will be the lowest in 37 years, reaching 250.9m hectoliters.
Exports were at about 101.4 million hectoliters, with Italy making up the largest portion with 21.5 million hectoliters and Spain and France following closely with 19.1 million hectoliters and 15 million hectoliters respectively.
Also General Director of Vinitaly Mr. Giovanni Mantovani showed his appreciation towards the stats, "Export of Italian wine has increased in 2012, which is a very positive sign and reflects the appreciation of the quality of Italian wine".
But numbers also showed some areas of concern, "We had a difficult 2012, mainly because of a sharp drop in production, but trade flows mostly held stable," added OIV General Director, Federico Castellucci, to reporters, referring to total wine exports which were stable at 101 million hLs after a long-term upward trend. Given the low harvests and economic crisis, the world wine business was broadly positive in 2012, he added.
The EU policy of digging up vines to end years of surpluses had led to a reduction of 269,000 hectares of surface area between 2008 and 2011, well above the targeted 175,000 hectares, contributing to a recent rise in prices, Castellucci said, adding that rising consumption also helped push prices up.
The wine market, however, continues to suffer the impact of the decline in production, especially in Europe. In 2012, the area of the vineyards in European countries has steadily decreased to 4212 million hAs, a drop of 0.8% between 2011 and 2012.
This decrease is however less important than that of the previous fiscal year due at the end of the European reduction of vineyards. Outside Europe the vineyard surface recorded a slight increase to 3363 million hAs (+ 0.3%).