NEWS » Italy faces one of the smallest wine harvests for 60 years

Italy faces one of the smallest wine harvests for 60 years

Italy faces one of the smallest wine harvests for 60 years. Drought, and frost account for the main reasons of this poor wine season. Italian wine body “Assoenologi” estimated that Italian wine production will be down by 25% on last year and coming in at 41.1 million hectolitres. Only the Campania region is likely to have a good production this year. The only consolation is that Italian wine is more than ever in demand abroad and drought might have favoured the good quality of grapes. 

Production will be less but probably of good quality because of better weather during flowering in several areas, and the long warm summer across much of Europe.  

High temperatures prevented the attack of parasites, and therefore reduced the need of chemicals, in some cases irrigation systems limited the damage, but in general, weather conditions penalised the production.   

Italy is not alone in this sad low production record: France is facing its smallest wine harvest since 1945, as it was reported by the agency AgriMer. The number of grapes picked in France is expected to decline by 18 percent from last year, after a spring frost wave.

In several Italian and French regions hailstorms and a heatwave known as “Lucifer” have combined to curtail the 2017 wine harvest size.

German winemakers are also facing the possibility of an underwhelming year. The country’s farmers' association expects the harvest to be “below average,” but there are no precise estimates yet.

In Italy, the worst yields, down by at least 30% compared to last year, were in Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia, Umbria and Abruzzo. Things were slightly better in northern Italy where Piedmont, Veneto, and Friuli were collectively expected to see a harvest 15% smaller than 2016, according to Assoenologi.

However, Italy is going to maintain the production primacy over France and Spain. Moreover, if Italian wine is scarce, prices will rise. The value of Italian wine exports in 2017 will increase by 6.3%, a historic record, after last year's 5.6 billion euros.

This could be a tough year for wine lovers. NBC news reported that, because of the speculation about this year’s harvest and reduced wine volumes, British consumers are already seeing 50 pence increase for a £5 bottle of wine.  

Giulia Lombardo

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