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Grapes are grown in around 100 of the world's more than 200 countries. In most of them, wine is also produced from them to varying degrees. For the production of quality wine, certain climatic and weather conditions are necessary (see under winegrowing suitability). Areas with optimal conditions for viticulture are usually relatively small (see Origin). The following discussion deals with the worldwide areas under vines as well as the worldwide production of wine. The source for this was the OIV Bulletin of the year 2012 (the last year currently published there). The vast majority of vineyards are located in the vine belts from 40 to 50 degrees north latitude and from 30 to 40 degrees south latitude:

Rebengürtel - Weltkarte mit Weinbaugebieten

After strong growth until the end of the 1970s, the areas under vines were in constant decline, especially in Europe, until the end of the 1990s. The main reasons, from the mid-1980s onwards, were the grubbing-up programme imposed by the then General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (*1931) as a measure against alcoholism in the USSR, and the grubbing-up premiums in the European Union, which had a particular impact in Italy, France and Spain. The three-year period during which the EU granted premiums for the permanent abandonment of vineyards expired in 2011. Despite this, there was a global surplus production, which means that about 5 to 10% more wine was produced than was consumed. Within the EU, there were therefore prescribed countermeasures such as compulsory distillation.

In the period from 1998 to 2002 there was an increase again, but since 2003 the global area under vines has been declining again, although grape production has increased. This is due to higher yields, especially from Asian producers with the artificial irrigation practised there. In Europe, there was a reduction of 885,000 hectares (18%) from 2000 to 2012. The world area was reduced by 221,000 hectares (3%) in these 12 years. There was strong growth in Asia, especially in China and India with 377,000 hectares (27%) and America with 151,000 hectares (17%). In Asia, a significant share of the vineyards is devoted to the production of products not processed into wine, especially India, Iran, Turkey and Syria.


With regard to vineyards, a distinction is made between the area under vines (from which grapes are harvested), the area planted with vines (including the area not yet ready for production) and the total area under vines (including the unplanted fallow). The following figures represent the stocked vine area. Grapes are divided into wine grapes (wine gra pes), table gra pes and dried grapes for sultana production. In 2012, the global total of wine grapes was around 60%. The total vineyard area in 2012 of 74,870 km² is roughly equivalent to Austria (84,000 km²) or one fifth of Germany (357,000 km²). The area under vines in 1,000 hectares comparing the two years 2000 with 2012 (Oceania = Australia and New Zealand):

2000 7.708 = 100% 4.978 = 65% 320 = 4% 1.424 = 19% 869 = 11% 117 = 2%
2012 7.487 = 100% 4.093 = 55% 372 = 5% 1.801 = 24% 1.020 = 14% 200 = 3%

Wine production

In 2012, a total of 258 million hectolitres or 25.8 billion litres of wine were produced worldwide. This corresponds to 34.4 billion 0.75-litre bouteilles or a cube with a side length of 300 metres. However, only about half of this is actually bottled, the other half in other containers. Europe's high share of wine production with about two thirds in contrast to the area under vines with "only" 55% shows on the one hand the higher share of table grapes and sultanas in the other continents, and on the other hand the lower yields and thus higher quality wine quantities in Europe. About one third of the wine volume was exported (see wine trade). The wine production volumes in million hectolitres in comparison of the two years 2000 with 2012:

2000 273 = 100% 199 = 73% 9,1 = 3% 11,7 = 4% 44,8 = 16% 8 = 3%
2012 258 = 100% 165 = 64% 11,9 = 4% 15,5 = 6% 51,7 = 20% 14,2 = 5%

Wine-growing countries

A list of countries ranked by vineyard area in 2012 makes it clear that the ranking by wine production is in some cases completely different. For example, Turkey is only 32nd in terms of production, but 5th in terms of vineyard area. The reason is simply that table grapes or sultanas are produced there for the most part (also due to the ban on alcohol for devout Muslims). The biggest growth has been in China, where the area under vines has more than tripled in only 12 years. Many major wine companies are investing there to avoid climate change - because China is benefiting from it. Other big climbers since 2000 in terms of vineyard area were Australia, Chile and New Zealand in particular, while big decliners were Bulgaria, Croatia, Mexico, Tajikistan, Hungary and Cyprus.

YEAR 2000 2012 2000 2012
Spain 34.162 31.123 1,184.000 1,017.000
France 56.271 41.548 915.000 792.000
Italy 54.386 45.616 909.000 713.000
China 9.581 13.511 218.000 706.000
Turkey 311 546 584.000 497.000
USA (including California) 20.386 21.650 376.000 412.000
California 18.000 18.000 320.000 320.000
Portugal 6.828 6.327 257.000 233.000
Iran ? ? 274.000 226.000
Argentina 13.456 11.778 Full text

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Egon Mark

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Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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