Italy wine harvest down 15 percent, still beats France

BRESCIA - The Italian wine harvest is expected to decline between 10 and 15 per cent compared to last year’s 51.6 million hectolitre production, as estimated by Coldiretti, the Italian farmer’s union. This is still higher than France, whose first estimates for 2017 showed a sharp decline in production since 2016, for a total estimated at present between 36-37 million hectolitres due to late frosts.

The first grapes of the season have been collected from the Faccoli winery in the province of Brescia. This marks the beginning of the grape harvest, with Chardonnay grapes being collected for sparkling wines. This year’s exceptional heat and drought has brought about the earliest harvest in the last decade, ten days earlier than last year. 

Italy has achieved a personal best in Made in Italy export wine this year, according to Coldiretti, with 4.7 per cent more exports than last year, when sales reached 5.6 billion euros a year. 

The predicted fall in production this year is based on the bizarre climate with a dry and milder winter, as well as persistent drought and periods of hailstones. 

Much will depend on the months of August and September, but the current conditions, Coldiretti continues, suggest a vintage of good / excellent quality. The plant health status is generally good, the dry climate has not favoured the development of phytopathy and the sugary gradation will be on average higher.