This year, Spanish vineyards had a record grape crop, but it’s hardly good news. In normal times, this would have meant huge profits and more wine to be drunk at home and exported around the world. Due to COVID-19, however, wine sales have dropped dramatically, so the Spanish government is incentivizing growers to destroy part of their grape harvest. Lower limits were also placed on how much wine can be produced per acre.
This year’s grape crop was supposed to result in 43 million hectolitres of wine (1136 million gallons), which is about six million more than in recent years. Although this number already far exceeds domestic and international demand, the excess has become even more problematic since restaurant wine sales have fallen by 65 percent and exports by 49 percent since the pandemic’s start. World wine consumption is also down 10 percent.
According to The Guardian, the Spanish government will subsidize 90 million euros ($107 million) for growers to destroy parts of their crops or to have grapes being distilled into brandy or industrial alcohol.