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Natural disasters decimate global wine production

The well publicised 3-year drought in South Africa's Western Cape (that may lead to the city of Cape Town closing the taps this April) has had a massive effect on the region's agricultural yields. Particularly hard hit is the wine industry, according to the South African Financial Mail.

SA is the world's seventh-biggest wine producer and it's likely that its bulk wine exports will be hit hardest as the fine winemarket may well improve, given that the smaller grapes resulting from the hot, dry conditions are often more intense in flavour. That said, wine production in SA is likely to be down nearly 50% this year.

Other wine growing regions have also been hit hard by natural disasters – the wild fires in California's Napa valley and severe frosts in Spain, Italy and France have resulted in much-reduced harvests there.

Of course, in any situation like this there will be winners as well as losers. The winners in this case are likely to be bulk wine producers in Australia, Chile and China, whose total vineyard area is now the second-biggest in the world.

One thing we can pretty sure of, though, is that the British public are likely to be paying higher prices for wine in the next couple of years.

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