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Published:  23 July, 2008

A global strategy to combat the dire effects of the growing surplus has been urged by Georges Dutruc-Rosset, director general of the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV). Writing in The State of Vitiviniculture in the World, 2000, a supplement to the OIV's bi-monthly Bulletin, he said: The balanced situation of the world market has been threatened since 1999. The development of planting and the ending of uprooting are leading to an inevitable increase in total production, with both a growth in surface area and a rise in yields. If world consumption does not grow at the same rate as world production, the difference will become more and more significant.' Dutruc-Rosset predicted that there will be growing competitive pressure on prices in the international wine market, notably for "premium" and "super premium" wines', and stressed that it is necessary to stop falling consumption in countries which are traditional consumers and support the development of moderate consumption in other countries. Producing countries should therefore combine their resources to develop a concerted communication strategy in favour of the "wine product" as part of a global generic approach which will emphasise its gastronomic, cultural, aesthetic and environmental importance, as well as the health effects of moderate daily consumption.' The rallying call was prompted by the latest confirmed global surplus figures. World consumption lagged behind production by 56,059,000 hectolitres (hl) in 2000, a rise of 0.4% (226,000 hl) on the surplus in 1999. Production was down 0.5% on 1999 (from 277,171,000 to 275,892,000 hl), but was still higher than at any other time since the late 1980s. Consumption fell 0.7% (from 221,338,000 to 219,833,000hl), having risen 0.6% between 1998 and 1999. As a proportion of production, the surplus in 2000 was 20.32%, as against 20.14% in 1999. Among the four largest producers, the top two, France and Italy, saw their national surplus fall slightly (from 41% to 40%, and 44% to 40% respectively), while the third and fourth, Spain and the US, saw theirs rise (from 58% to 67%, and -9% to 9% respectively). While the world wine market (total exports) grew 4-7% between 1997-1999, it shrank 4% in 2000.