France Set to Take Back the Throne as Top Wine Producer in the World
Every year countries jockey for position, hoping to be named the top producers and exporters for their agricultural specialties. When it comes to wine, all eyes are on European icons like France, Italy, and Spain – the big question is always which one will come out on top. Last year Italy pulled ahead, but this year the numbers are all pointing to France as the top wine producer in both Europe and the world.
According to reports, France is expected to produce as much as 46.2 million hectoliters of wine by the end of 2014, putting it far ahead of Italy who is currently gunning for second place with an estimated 44 million hectoliters. But France’s rise to the top spot didn’t necessarily come easy. It’s been a tough year for industry in general – especially in Europe, where unusual weather has made for exceedingly unpleasant conditions. An unexpectedly wet and rainy spring and summer caused a 15 percent production drop in Italy between 2013 and 2014, and an even more drastic 19 percent production decrease in third-place contender Spain.
France, on the other hand, experienced damaging cooler conditions during the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons with unusual weather patterns like hailstorms doing critical damage to important wine production regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux; in contrast, this year the country’s wine industry has seen better conditions and production growth that has industry insiders feeling good about this year’s output:
Germany and Portugal should complete the top five producers in Europe, with their comparatively small industries offering 9.7 million and 5.9 million hectoliters respectively. For the entire world, those positions are expected to be filled by the United States and Argentina.
Ireland could create template for global food sustainability
Leveraging innovation could cultivate new agricultural breakthroughs, making Ireland the most responsible and sustainable food producer on Earth, according to a renowned local luminary.
Economist and author David McWilliams has insisted that Ireland can become a pivotal carbon-neutral, resource-efficient and sustainable food producer – possibly the most influential on the planet.
He does acknowledge, however, that there are considerable obstacles on the country’s trailblazing journey to complete energy-efficient and sustainable food production.
McWilliams also claims that the widely-held belief within the EU that reducing food production thus reduces carbon emissions does not tally.
“For the European Union to get an aggregate reduction in carbon emissions,” said McWilliams at the Alltech ONE Ideas Conference. “It would seem to me much more logical to favour those countries that have had an evolutionary, ecological or environmental gift, in order to actually produce more, not less, because your input-output ratio is so much lower than it is either in the parched Mediterranean or in the frozen tundra of the North.”
Reflecting on the situation in the US, McWilliams said its agriculture output had tripled between 1948 and 2015, with exponential gains in efficiency. Surprisingly, agriculture only contributes to 7.5% of total US greenhouse gases, far below the 30% attributed to cars.
“I think American culture is changing, at least when you see it from the outside,” said McWilliams said of President Biden’s approach. “He's saying, ‘There's no point being wealthy if the wealth is only in the hands of a small minority. The wealth has to trickle down to everybody else.’”
McWilliams concluded that for Irish agriculture to modernise and grow, it should use one of Ireland’s leading sectors – technology – as a frame of reference. It currently generates over $25 billion in exports.