Beverage & Wine

Wine, Italy is still leader despite a poor vintage

Only 40 million hectoliters in 2017, but Italian wine production is higher than Spain's and France's. Less losses and better quality in professionally maintained vineyards

A very complex harvest, which has made it difficult to analyze all the vineyards of a country with so many different territories and vines. That’s how Ernesto Abbona, President of Unione Italiana Vini (Italian Wines Association), described the results of Italy’s 2017 vintage forecasts made by UIV and Ismea for Osservatorio del Vino (Wine Observatory). Global climate changes – Abbona added – are having a decisive impact on Italian companies’ wine practices. In most cases quality remains on high standards, although it is too early to define with certainty how it will evolve at the end of vintage in the coming months. In spite of an estimated 26% production fall, according to the forecast we remain above 40 million hectoliters, confirming Italy’s first position compared to Spain (38.4 million) and France (37.2 million).

A glass half-full

Italy’s Vice Minister of Agriculture Andrea Olivero spoke about A complex but exceptional situation that does not still allow for a final overview and shall be better evaluated. The glass, however, is half-full. Despite poor harvesting, Italy maintains the world’s top position. Innovation and professional care of vineyards allow for greater competitiveness, granting higher revenues to all players in the production chain.

Exports

According to Ismea, figures about wine production in 2017 show a fall at levels rarely recorded in the past, and an impact on product quality which varies depending on the area, due to the adverse climatic events that hit Italy. Italian wine has been showing good performances for many years now, especially in terms of recognizability and affirmation on foreign markets – stated Raffaele Borriello, General manager of Ismea. This year, Italian wine export sales have reached historic values. Data show a tendency growth of more than 6% in volume and value, envisaging reaching the threshold of six billion euros by the end of the year. Moreover, production downturn seems to spur the wine sector to work with greater determination in order to increase the value of Italian product and exports. In the first months of 2017 – said Ernesto Abbonawe noticed a recovery of the average price per liter which, however, is still not enough. We must take advantage of this trend to further improve it. That is the way to adequately respond to the general increase in the wine prices at source in different parts of the country. Keeping this growth rate, at the end of the year we could exceed the threshold of 21 million hectoliters.