Wine production to grow but less than forecast due to weather

  • Lusa
  • 11 September 2023

At the end of July, the Institute of Vine and Wine estimated an increase in production for the 2023/2024 grape harvest of around 8% for a volume of 7.4 million hectolitres.

Wine production in Portugal will grow this year, but less than expected due to bad weather, excessive heat and disease, ViniPortugal CEO Frederico Falcão said on Monday.

At the end of July, the Institute of Vine and Wine estimated an increase in production for the 2023/2024 grape harvest of around 8% for a volume of 7.4 million hectolitres compared to the previous harvest, but Falcão believes that the projection is out of date.

“After that, we’ve already had some climatic accidents, such as hail in the Trás-os-Montes region, in the Douro region, also a little in the Vinho Verde region,” he told Agência Lusa on the sidelines of a wine tasting in London.

Falcão also mentioned problems with mildew and diseases affecting vines in various regions and dryness due to very high temperatures, which should result in production losses.

“It’s very likely that we won’t end up with the 8% increase, but we’re still estimating an increase in production,” he said.

The president of ViniPortugal predicted, for example, that wine production in the Azores will grow, but below what was expected, as well as in Trás-os-Montes.

“The Douro is going to have some losses compared to what was expected. The Dão will grow better than expected. We haven’t done the maths yet, but there has indeed been an impact here,” he admitted.

Falcão recognises that it is difficult for winegrowers to reduce the impact of bad weather and heat.

“There are no great solutions here. There’s not much you can do after these big weather accidents, you have to pick the grapes quickly, the ones you can save,” he explained.

Frederico Falcão was speaking on the sidelines of the annual Portuguese wine tasting in London, which this year mobilised 23 producers to present around 200 wines, representing nine different wine-growing regions.

ViniPortugal (Interprofessional Organisation of Portuguese Wine) brings together associations and professional organisations linked to trade, production, cooperatives, distillers and farmers, with the mission of promoting Portuguese wines abroad.

Data from the first half of 2023 revealed an increase in the export of Portuguese wines to the UK, with a growth of 43.85% in value and 18.15% in volume compared to the same period in 2022.

The total value of these exports was approximately €43.5 million.

Part of this was due to a focus on promotion with independent wine shops and restaurants with wine lists or sommeliers to try and position Portuguese wines in a higher quality, higher priced range.

But the president of ViniPortugal recognises that the growth in exports was also due to the rush by some importers to increase stocks before a new tariff on alcoholic measures came into force.

Since August, the tax on table wine has risen by around 20% and fortified wine, such as Port, by around 44%.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to achieve such high growth. The hope is that there will be a bit of a drop or slowdown until the end of the year, but then that the market will adjust to the new prices” in 2024, he said.