Wine production to fall worldwide in 2016
Wine (Shuttershock)

Global wine production this year is expected to be among the lowest for 20 years, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine said Thursday.

Production is likely to reach 259 million hectolitres –- a decrease of 5 percent compared with 2015 -- which ranks among the three poorest years since 2000, according to the OIV's early estimates revealed at a Paris press conference.

But it said country production figures were "highly contrasting" and blamed the topsy-turvy picture on "climatic events".

Italy confirmed its place as the leading world producer with 48.8 hectolitres, having knocked France off the top spot in 2015.

France came in second with 41.9 million hectolitres in 2016, following a sharp fall of 12 percent.

Of the top three producing nations, the OIV expects only Spain to show growth in 2016, with a one-percent year-on-year rise to 37.8 million hectolitres.

The United States is fourth with 22.5 million hectolitres, a rise of 2 percent, and Australia is the world's fifth-largest producer after seeing 5 percent growth to 12.5 million hectolitres.