Climate change 2016: How global warming is driving down global wine production

A woman leaning on her balcony railing holding a glass of wine

This year, the planet changed in ways that should worry even the most stubborn climate change deniers. We saw (and continue to see) the hottest months on record, witnessed the first mammalian extinction related to climate change and were hit with extreme flooding — all as the result of a warming planet. 

But now the planet faces another climate-induced scare, and this time it affects the world's wine.

Yes, wine production in 2016 may drop 5% compared to output last year, according to a new report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine. That would make this one of the lowest production years in two decades, next to 2012, when global wine production dropped by around 5% and accounted for a 300 million-barrel undersupply.

This year, inclement weather may have accounted for production drops by 35% in Argentina, 21% in Chile and 50% in Brazil. And considering the increase in floods, storms and global temperature, there's every reason for concern. 

Juan Karita/AP

The culprit, in this case, was an unusually powerful "super" El Niño season, which threw a wrench in the year's weather patterns, causing Pacific typhoons, flooding in India and overflow from the Mississippi River. In South America, El Niño pummeled vineyards with heavy rains, flooding rivers and displacing residents.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Not every production area was impacted by bad weather. Australian production and New Zealand production were both on the rise, the report said. However, those areas alone aren't enough to bolster demand across the rest of the globe. In fact, according to CNN, global wine consumption is expected to rise from what it was in 2015.

The point is, this could be one of the three worst production years since 2000. And that's a hard truth to swallow.