Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

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Josh Grossman
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Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#1 Post by Josh Grossman » December 6th, 2019, 9:31 am


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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#2 Post by Brandon R » December 6th, 2019, 9:33 am

Stunning. I would have put the US certainly higher than Algeria and Russia! Shows how little I know...
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#3 Post by Josh Grossman » December 6th, 2019, 9:45 am

Brandon R wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 9:33 am
Stunning. I would have put the US certainly higher than Algeria and Russia! Shows how little I know...
Interesting how geo-political wine is to me.

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#4 Post by Anton D » December 6th, 2019, 10:22 am

Brandon R wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 9:33 am
Stunning. I would have put the US certainly higher than Algeria and Russia! Shows how little I know...
Go to the end, I don't wanna give away the ending, but it changes! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#5 Post by Mark Y » December 6th, 2019, 10:30 am

So russia falls off the map.. but otherwise it's italy/france/spain wire to wire for the top 3?
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#6 Post by PeterH » December 6th, 2019, 10:38 am

An interesting fact I read last week which you would not guess from that chart, is that more Washington State wine is sold in the US than French wine.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#7 Post by Markus S » December 6th, 2019, 10:43 am

Surprised Algeria still reigns so high. Being a Muslim country, how much of that wine actually gets drunk 'in-country' compared to what gets exported or 'Hermitaged'?
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#8 Post by GregT » December 6th, 2019, 10:47 am

So russia falls off the map.. but otherwise it's italy/france/spain wire to wire for the top 3?
Kind of.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has the top ten as:
  • Italy
    Spain
    France
    the US
    China
    Argentina
    Chile
    Australia
    S. Africa
    Germany
China has been moving up rapidly, but since China does not allow independent verification, their numbers are not necessarily accurate. However, they are planting more vineyards and as with everything, the government is behind it, so they'll become even larger. Also, India isn't on the list but they're investing a lot.

The USSR fell off the list because until 1991, "the USSR" included all the nations under the communists jackboots in Russia. And their production was mostly dreck, made to satisfy the production quotas of the central planners. When that broke up, Georgia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia entered the list independently.

Spain too still makes a lot of crap, but they've been improving by leaps and bounds. In the 1950s and 60s the bulk of their wine was distilled into cheap brandy, so it's not like all of the countries on the list are producing "fine" wine. They're just producing wine. I would look to see production in Chile drop over the next couple of years too.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#9 Post by Michae1 P0wers » December 6th, 2019, 11:24 am

GregT wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 10:47 am


The USSR fell off the list because until 1991, "the USSR" included all the nations under the communists jackboots in Russia. And their production was mostly dreck, made to satisfy the production quotas of the central planners. When that broke up, Georgia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia entered the list independently.
I also assumed that the USSR's relative strength in that map was due to large amounts of absolute trash being made, but why would the USSR's production figures have included Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Yugoslavia? Those were all separate countries, just Soviet "affiliates," right? Obviously Georgia would have been included. If you're correct I assume that explains it, but if not, I was wondering how they reached those numbers. Aside from Georgia, how many former Soviet republics had environments even moderately suited to wine production?

Also interesting that Algeria was so strong and dropped off so precipitously. Religious issues maybe? Loss of interest from Europe due to increased domestic productions?

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#10 Post by Dan Kravitz » December 6th, 2019, 4:40 pm

GregT wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 10:47 am
So russia falls off the map.. but otherwise it's italy/france/spain wire to wire for the top 3?
Kind of.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has the top ten as:
  • Italy
    Spain
    France
    the US
    China
    Argentina
    Chile
    Australia
    S. Africa
    Germany
China has been moving up rapidly, but since China does not allow independent verification, their numbers are not necessarily accurate. However, they are planting more vineyards and as with everything, the government is behind it, so they'll become even larger. Also, India isn't on the list but they're investing a lot.

The USSR fell off the list because until 1991, "the USSR" included all the nations under the communists jackboots in Russia. And their production was mostly dreck, made to satisfy the production quotas of the central planners. When that broke up, Georgia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia entered the list independently.

Spain too still makes a lot of crap, but they've been improving by leaps and bounds. In the 1950s and 60s the bulk of their wine was distilled into cheap brandy, so it's not like all of the countries on the list are producing "fine" wine. They're just producing wine. I would look to see production in Chile drop over the next couple of years too.
Greg,

AFAIK, "the USSR" never included Hungary, what was then Czechoslovakia, or Slovenia. Yes, they were controlled by the USSR (not exactly Russia, but close enough) but I do not believe that the production of those countries was included in USSR statistics. Also, you don't mention Ukraine, which was part of the USSR and has a significant industry. I don't know if your name is indicative of your ancestry, but Crimea has always been an important part of Ukraine wine production, with Massandra having a long history. I'm curious to hear your comments.

Also, why do you think wine production in Chile will drop? There's some political turmoil there right now, but AFAIK their industry is healthy. Obviously that industry is pretty dependent on export, as production is high and population pretty low, but if there are clouds on the horizon, I'd like to know what you are seeing.

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#11 Post by GregT » December 6th, 2019, 5:33 pm

Dan and Michael - you guys are right. I was just going by what my grandfather told me. He was a die-hard supporter. Although he was in East Germany, he considered it all part of the glorious Soviet empire. The countries in the USSR were:
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Estonia
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Moldova / Moldavia
Russia
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan

Of those, Armenia and Georgia are considered the top wine-producers, and may be the world's original wine producers.

The name is indeed indicative of my ancestry! It's a nice story too.

The reason I think production in Chile will drop is because the political unrest is likely to affect their economy. A few years ago, although Argentina's wine production was fine, their economy was so messed up that you couldn't get containers for exports. In addition, the government figured that if you own a business, you were exploiting workers, so they established a wealth tax. Finally, they wouldn't let you change foreign currency. You would sell your wine to the US, get paid in dollars, but had to change them through the government's banks and they gave you pesos - when they got around to it. So people started cutting corners and looking for cheaper grapes. The people I knew kept their money out of the country if they could. I'm worried that something similar is going to happen to Chile. I sincerely hope I'm wrong - those people have been through a lot of grief in the past thirty years and don't need more.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#12 Post by Markus S » December 6th, 2019, 6:23 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 4:40 pm
... Crimea has always been an important part of Ukraine wine production, with Massandra having a long history.
And don't forget Moldova!
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#13 Post by RichardFlack » December 7th, 2019, 8:33 am

Fascinating.
In the early going interesting to watch Italy and France trading places.
And the rise of Spain and US. ( and China but that’s another issue).

This presumably includes all “wine”. Would be interesting to see a similar chart for ‘quality’ wine, ie that is at least drinkable. Yeah, definition needed. In some of those countries a good chunk of that is WINO.

PS. Could the OP put a note under video to encourage people to press play for the real story.

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#14 Post by John Morris » December 7th, 2019, 11:37 am

GregT wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 5:33 pm
Dan and Michael - you guys are right. I was just going by what my grandfather told me. He was a die-hard supporter. Although he was in East Germany, he considered it all part of the glorious Soviet empire. The countries in the USSR were:
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Estonia
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Moldova / Moldavia
Russia
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan

Of those, Armenia and Georgia are considered the top wine-producers, and may be the world's original wine producers.

The name is indeed indicative of my ancestry! It's a nice story too.
But Armenia is tiny. Ukraine and Georgia no doubt accounted for much of USSR production.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#15 Post by John Morris » December 7th, 2019, 11:44 am

RichardFlack wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 8:33 am
Fascinating.
In the early going interesting to watch Italy and France trading places.
And the rise of Spain and US.
Up through ~1980 I think the Italian and French production figures often reflected weather. After Spain joined the EU in 1986, other factors came into play. Spanish wines cut deeply into the market for cheap French wines, both in France and in world markets. It was something of a crisis in the Midi (French farmers blockaded highways to prevent tanker trucks of Spanish wine from passing), and I think a lot of French vines went out of production.

Meanwhile, the quality of Italian wines was rising and they started displacing French wines abroad.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#16 Post by RichardFlack » December 7th, 2019, 12:04 pm

Interesting comment John. I think you’re right.

...

There was a comment somewhere here about Algeria too I think. I wonder how much Algerian wine wound up in bottles with other countries’ labels on. 😀

.....

Are there any stats that indicate by country what percentage of wine is drinkable. Probably impossible to define, (queue the Meiomi jokes) maybe just simple as a retail price of at least $4 or $5. I believe a lot of wine produced does not always get bottled and goes to other uses)

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#17 Post by Chuck Miller » December 7th, 2019, 1:30 pm

I love these timeline graphs. Not to take anything away from it, but the unit of measure used has got to be an error, listed as ‘million tonnes’, and them one country alone produced 6,900,000 units? That would be 6.9 Million Million tonnes, or to say it plainly, 6.9 Trillion tonnes. That's impossible, given that worldwide wine production was 293 million hectoliters in 2018 (per google), with one hectoliter weighing about 240 lbs. 9 hectoliters would be about 1 metric tonne, so only a little more than 30 million tonnes was produced in 2018.

While the unit of measure is wrong, I assume the relative amount are accurate.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#18 Post by GregT » December 7th, 2019, 3:44 pm

Chuck - there are zillions and zillions of tons of wine produced!

John - you're right about the vines going out of production and the chart should be reflecting the EU campaign to grub up so many vines just a few years ago. All that Carignan in France that produced loads of plonk. The people who did the blockades and overturned the trucks weren't generally making high-end stuff.
There was a comment somewhere here about Algeria too I think. I wonder how much Algerian wine wound up in bottles with other countries’ labels on.
The story of Algeria is really interesting. The Phoenicians made wine there but there was virtually no wine production for probably a few centuries.

Then the French invaded in the early 1800s and they introduced a few vines. When phylloxera hit France in the late 1800s, the French went crazy planting vines in Algeria and within a few years it was one of the world's largest producers and I think it may have been the largest exporter of wine in the world. Initially the French coped with the death of their own vines by importing wine from places like Italy and Spain, but they didn't want to do that and they considered Algeria their property anyway, so Algerian wine was OK with them.

Don't forget that after phylloxera Europe had a major depression and a world war. Just before those last two, France figured out the grafting thing and their home industry started to revive. The French producers who hadn't gone to Algeria but who were now able to produce wine again started getting priced out by the cheaper imports. In true French fashion, they rioted and vandalized Algerian wine shipments and eventually got a law passed that required wine to be labeled with the place of origin. After another depression and world war, that became codified as the AOC system in 1935.

And of course, the imports kept coming in and all kinds of protectionist measures were introduced - things like limiting new plantings of vines, limits on production, etc. But the biggest event was that Algeria revolted and fought for independence in the late 1950s / early 1960s. Acheiving it more or less killed their industry.

First, the local wine drinkers and market were the French and Europeans who were living in Algeria. They got out fast after independence. Then the government, in true socialist fashion, nationalized industries, including the vineyards, and appointed good bureaucrats to run them. As is always the case, the bureaucrats didn't know what they were doing and both production and quality went to hell. As part of the war settlement, France promised to keep buying lots of Algerian wine but a few more riots and protests put a stop to that. And for good measure, France passed a law that prohibited blending wine from another country into French wine.

Back during the cold war the Algerians were trying to set up a socialist government like the Soviets. Figuring the Soviets would drink anything that contained some alcohol, the Algerians made a deal to sell them millions of liters of wine. Apparently they should have studied market economics rather than socialist economics because they sold for such low prices that their vineyards mostly went out of business.

They still make wine and actually have a few appellations. Those are all in the north off the sea. I've only had one Algerian wine and it wasn't any good. The production is still managed by the government as far as I know. A French guy told me that the French went over, created an industry, left it to the Algerians, and the Algerians killed it. I kind of think that's too simple. The Algerians never asked the French to come over and create an industry that they had no interest in to produce a product that they didn't want. But it's an interesting story anyhow.
Last edited by GregT on December 7th, 2019, 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#19 Post by RichardFlack » December 7th, 2019, 4:43 pm

Great history Greg, thank you!

It’s interesting that indeed a lot of the industrial vines have been pulled up but at the same time plantings of quality wines have increased with expanded appellations such as Chablis.

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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#20 Post by John Morris » December 7th, 2019, 7:13 pm

Greg - Reading your delightful historical note, I was wondering why Morocco doesn't figure in the phylloxera-aftermath history. It produces some quite decent wines (including a syrah by Alain Graillot of Crozes-Hermitage fame). But it seems that it wasn't under French control until after WWI.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#21 Post by Chuck Miller » December 7th, 2019, 8:21 pm

GregT wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 3:44 pm
Chuck - there are zillions and zillions of tons of wine produced!
No, Greg, there were 293 million hectoliters of wine produced in the world in 2018. That is roughly equivalent to 38 billion 750ml bottles. The graph shows Italy alone produced approximately 6.9 quadrillion bottles.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#22 Post by GregT » December 7th, 2019, 8:37 pm

Chuck - is a quadrillion bigger than a zillion?

John - Actually slightly before WW1. It's an interesting question.

Napoleon was going to invade north Africa. When he was deposed, France restored her king. But pretty much everybody hated him. He had learned a lesson though, because the fact that everybody hated the king is what caused the revolution and the rise of Napoleon in the first place.

So he wanted to give the citizens some entertainment and take their minds off their problems. He figured the best way to do that is to start a war with someone. Britain, always the popular choice, was ruled out because they'd defeated Napoleon for him. So he decided to invade Algeria. Napoleon had planned to do it but was distracted by Nelson and the Brits. But he conveniently left some plans. Rather than re-thinking the issue, the king decided to use those plans and take over Algeria.

The Ottomans ruled it but they really only had the populated northern part of the country. The place was huge, with all kinds of desert nomads in the vast desert regions, who tended to fight with each other now and then, even though they were all moslem. The French got into an argument with the Turk ruler, who whacked the French ambassador with a fly swatter. The French decided that was sufficient pretext to blockade the Algerian ports. That totally didn't work because 1)the French were never really good at naval escapades anyway (see Nelson), and 2)the Algerians and north Africans had a history of piracy and evading European ships.

This all enraged the French so they invaded in force and took over the country. To keep the peace, the king tried a few ideas and then decided that brutal suppression of the populace was the way to go. That kind of smoothed the way for settlers to show up. So they flooded the place. Land was cheap, you could kill off the locals and increase your holdings, and all your buddies from back home were coming over too. There was a huge influx of Europeans into Algeria throughout the 1800s. And the French actually considered Algeria part of "greater France", despite the fact that Algerians just considered themselves Algerians.

Seeing how France was having so much fun in Algeria, other European powers wanted in. That limited what France could do. The Italians were interested in Tunisia and Libya, which made France a little more cautious there. And Spain was interested in Morocco, which made France cautious there. So while they were in, the French treated Morocco completely differently than they did Algeria. In addition, nobody questioned the legitimacy of the king, whose lineage went back to Mohammed. Therefore, rather than displace him, which would cause the populace to become rowdy and require brutal suppression, the French more or less left him alone.

While there were a lot more French in Algeria and more wine made there, phylloxera created exactly the same dynamic in both countries. After independence both continued to export and both were restricted by the French for the same reasons. Both countries nationalized the vineyards. When in the 1960s the European Economic Community decided to limit wine imports, both countries ended up closing down a lot of their production. So the aftermath was pretty similar in both places.

Both countries fought for and finally got their independence around 1960. The Moroccans set up a constitutional monarchy. Again, nobody questioned the legitimacy of the king and he wasn't despised as a puppet created by the Europeans. In Algeria, the army moved to take over and they organized a dictatorship.

The king was smarter than the dictators. He sent his son to college in France. The son graduated from the University of Bordeaux. He liked wine. Then he became king. In the 1990s, he asked the Europeans for help with the wine industry. Spanish and French wine makers went over, including Graillot, Magrez, and Albert Costa form Vall Llach in Priorat.

So Morocco is ahead of the game. They don't get along with the Algerians, so are unlikely to share any of their expertise.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#23 Post by Chuck Miller » December 7th, 2019, 9:41 pm

Greg, my apology. I thought you had referred to gazillions, not just zillions. Zillions is extremely precise, while gazillion and bazillion have a more nebulous meaning. A gazillion apologies to you.
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#24 Post by GregT » December 8th, 2019, 3:20 pm

Hey Chuck - I get those big numbers mixed up all the time!!

[cheers.gif]
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Re: Top ten wine producing countries ranked in million tonnes between 1961 - 2018

#25 Post by Dan Kravitz » December 10th, 2019, 6:54 pm

Greg, you wrote: "desert nomads in the vast desert regions, who tended to fight with each other now and then, even though they were all moslem."

[inquisition.gif]

In Europe, different tribes tended to fight with each other now and then, even though they were all christian. Seems some of them were Catholic and some of them were Protestant. Among the moslems, some were Sunni and some were Shia, and that's before we slice and dice the sufis, the salafists, the alawites, the deobandi and probably just about as many subdivisions as christians. And that's before we get into the tribal stuff.

I'll be so glad when we all have indeterminate grayish skins and are all agnostics.

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