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Wine lovers watch out! A global shortage is coming next year

Who wants to be fighting over a bottle of the good stuff like it's the hottest new toy at Walmart on black Friday?
/ Source: TODAY

Nothing screams “I need a drink!” like rumors of a global wine shortage.

After all, who wants to be fighting over a bottle of the good stuff after a long day at work like it’s the hottest new toy at Walmart on black Friday?

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According to a CNN Money report, weather-related issues in Europe have been catastrophic for wine-growing regions throughout Spain, Italy and France, which produce more than half the world’s wine.

Some industry experts say that next year, wine production from these regions is expected to drop 14 percent compared to 2017. In addition, worries about the lingering effects of the California wildfires, which devastated wine-growing regions of Napa and Sonoma counties, have also fueled concerns about a true global wine shortage.

So should wine connoisseurs be stocking up their cabinets now?

Unfortunately, says Stephen Rannekleiv, a global beverage strategist, “the lower-priced tiers” (aka the cheaper stuff that's most readily available) will be most affected and may even experience price hikes.

“We still foresee a dramatic decline in wine availability going into 2018,” Rannekleiv told CNN Money.

Before you run to Costco and stock up on cases of your favorite vino like the Armageddon is coming, know that not everyone in the industry believes the hype.

“Europe has had an oversupply of wine for decades that they have been trying to reduce for years,” Gladys Horiuchi, spokesperson for The Wine Institute, a California wine advocacy group, told TODAY Food. “I am skeptical that there will be a wine shortage over there.”

And in California, while the wildfires destroyed residential areas — leaving people in dire straits — most of the vineyards were actually spared.

“Not to downplay the individual loss, [but] 11 wineries out of the 1,200 wineries in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino were burned down,” Horiuchi said. “Other wineries that had some damage are still operational. These three counties produce 12 percent of California’s wine grapes ... the other 88 percent of the grapes in other regions were unaffected.”

Even in the areas that were affected, Horiuchi added, 90 percent of the grapes were already harvested.

“While there may be a longer-term effect as damaged vineyards return to production, the wine business is accustomed to cyclical ups and downs,” Leslie Sbrocco, wine expert and author of “The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide” told TODAY Food. “Some years production is higher than others and that creates a surplus. We may see the surplus decrease but overall, I would not expect large price increases.”

Even if the Spanish, Italian or French wines that you love do end up being harder to find next year, there will still be enough affordable wine to go around. “With grapes planted from South America to South Africa, Washington state to upstate New York, and Australia to New Zealand, store shelves will remain stocked with plenty of choices,” Sbrocco reassures us.

But if you want to drink while making a difference (two birds, right?), one of the best ways to support California recovery efforts is to buy wines and visit wineries in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. Now that's slacktivism anyone can support!