November 20, 2018 / 5:15 PM / 21 days ago

Portugal wine output sinks to two-decade low amid global rise

FILE PHOTO: Tourists visit Bacalhoa winery in Azeitao, Portugal, February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

LISBON (Reuters) - Wine output from Europe’s fifth-largest producer Portugal slumped by an estimated 20 percent this year to two-decade lows due to a heatwave in August and heavy rains that interrupted harvesting in October.

The National Statistics Institute said on Tuesday all the country’s wine-producing regions were likely to churn out just 5.2 million hectolitres, in a fall that contrasts with this year’s rise in global wine production to a five-year high.

A hectolitre is 100 litres, or the equivalent of 133 standard wine bottles.

Almost all Portuguese regions were affected, including the Douro Valley in the north, famous for its port wines and various fine reds. But the southern region of Alentejo, which produces quality table wines popular at home and abroad, managed to preserve 2017 output levels.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine said last month that global output rose over 12 percent to 282 million hectolitres - one of the largest volumes of the century.

Portugal, used to be mainly known for its fortified wines such as Port and Madeira, but advances in the quality of its table wines in the past two decades have won it accolades from critics, helping to boost exports.

Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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