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Northern Hemisphere Vintage Report 2018

Summary

Following on from 2017, where a combination of hail, frost and drought led to huge deficits in grape production in the key countries of France, Spain and Italy, 2018 provided much needed respite, with a return to more normal production levels. In fact, the biggest threat in 2018 was not the water shortages of the previous vintage, but an excess of rain and the associated threat of disease. Viticulturalists had to be especially diligent to keep their vines healthy.

France

Following the disastrous 2017 harvest, 2018 saw a return to form for many of France’s major wine-producing regions, and overall volumes were up twenty-five percent on the previous vintage. Some regions experienced rainy, humid weather in the spring and in June, giving rise to the risk of mildew, but the weather remained warm and dry throughout the key months of July, August and September, allowing grapes to ripen fully and for harvest to take place in ideal conditions. In general terms, the more northerly regions fared particularly well, but as a whole 2018 can be described in positive terms. The recent trend of consistently earlier harvests continued in 2018, indicating that climate change is starting to have a real effect.

Italy

Following the doom and gloom of 2017, 2018 has seen Italy rebound, with large, healthy crops in all of the major wine-producing regions. The total harvest came in 24% higher than 2017’s annus horribilis, back in line with an average year. In general, picking commenced around one week later than the exceptionally early harvest of 2017.

Spain

2018 was one of the coolest, wettest vintages on record in Spain and the total volume was in line with the long-term average, an increase of 34% on 2017’s poor harvest and the largest harvest since 2014. It is likely that this sizeable harvest will bring bulk pricing down, but pricing will likely remain stable across DO and DOC level.

You can find a full and detailed report, region by region for all of the major Northern Hemisphere wine-producing countries here.