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Harvest 2020: the overview of Assoenologi, Ismea and Unione Italiana Vini

Good if not excellent quality, quantity in line with 2019, but the eyes are all on the markets and the recovery in consumption

A good if not very good quality of the grapes, and in some cases excellent, for a vintage that promises to be interesting. A quantity in line with that of 2019 (-1%, at 47.2 million hectoliters), which, as never before, has been affected by the economic situation and the consequent voluntary reduction in yields implemented by the Government, in addition to those implemented by many protection Consortia. However, this should allow Italy to remain the world’s leading wine producer, followed by France, with 45 million hectoliters, and Spain, with 42 million hectoliters. This is the summary picture, net of any further adverse climatic events, of the 2020 harvest estimates, elaborated by Assoenologi, Ismea and Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), and presented today at an online conference, which was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova.
According to the dossier prepared by the joint working group, high quality and slightly lower quantity than the average of the last five years (-4%) contrasts with the particular international economic situation, which registers a significant reduction in the global wine trade (-11% in value and -6% in volume in the first half of 2020, on the same period 2019) and a contraction, the first after 20 years of growth, of exports of wine made in Italy (-4% in the first 5 months), although lower than that of the main competitors. These factors have led to difficulties among companies and an increase, albeit limited, in stocks of products with the denomination with consequent filing of lists of IGT, DOC and DOCG. In this still difficult economic context, the current harvest represents, for qualitative and quantitative characteristics, an excellent opportunity for the restart of the Italian product, even more so if supported by an adequate national and international campaign to promote the wine of Italy.
For the president of Assoenologi, Riccardo Cotarella: “the 2020 vintage is presented with grapes of excellent quality, supported by a substantially positive climate trend, which can only give us interesting expectations for the wines coming from this harvest. From a phytosanitary point of view - continued Cotarella - the vineyards are healthy even if the rainfall of the last few days requires continuous monitoring by technicians to evaluate the growth of the bunches and the control of potential pathogen attacks. Meanwhile, the first analytical results show medium-high gradations and a good sugar/acidity ratio, as well as an interesting aromatic picture for white varieties and medium-high polyphenolic contents in red grapes. A prelude to interesting and excellent wines. The high quality will be a determining element to face and overcome the difficult moment that the wine world and in general the world production system are living because of the Covid emergency”.
”The Italian wine sector has shown an extraordinary capacity for recovery and resilience - said Raffaele Borriello, dg Ismea - managing to withstand the impact of this unprecedented crisis that has hit the global production system. A sigh of relief comes both from the ceased duty alert to the U.S., which is instead penalizing our French and Spanish competitors, but also from a harvest that for quality and quantity meets the current needs of the sector. Of course there is concern - concluded Borriello - the downturn on foreign markets, after 20 years of uninterrupted growth, and the specter of a global economic recession, but the Italian wine system seems solid and able to return to the levels to which it had accustomed us”.
For the President of the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), Ernesto Abbona: “The forecast for the harvest is positive both for the widespread quality of the grapes, with several peaks of excellence, and for a slightly lower quantity than last year which will help us to manage the market in a balanced way. Important premises to enhance the price lists of a productive year that we expect to be very interesting. Now, therefore, it becomes necessary to support the recovery of the markets and of our exports with new investments, increasing for the next three years the endowment of the CMO Promotion, adequately orienting the resources and initiatives of the “pact for exports” and rapidly using the funds advanced by the latest measures of the Government to support the sector, reducing yields and crisis distillation”.
”In a normal year - said Ignacio Sanchez Recarte, Secretary General of the Comité Vins (Ceev) who spoke at the conference with a focus on the European grape harvest trend - we would all be focused on trying to get the most accurate estimate of the harvest, in order to better fix prices and plan the year; however, this is not a normal year and the Covid-19 crisis remains for the moment the most influential and disruptive factor for wineries. At the European Union level, and thanks to the increases in Spain and France, we expect - added Recarte - a harvest 2020 slightly higher (+ 5 million hectoliters) than in 2019 for the top 5 producers - Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Portugal - and close to the average of the last 5 years. With wine stocks still relatively high, the 2020 vintage will enter a market still strongly characterized by the uncertainty and deconstruction caused by Covid-19. It will now be crucial to focus all efforts and actions on market recovery at EU and international level. Without this recovery, more than ever, the sustainability of EU wineries will be at risk”.
The Minister of Agricultural Policies, Teresa Bellanova, reassures the world of wine by emphasizing her “attention and closeness to your sector, which has never been in question. This is highlighted by the ad hoc measures taken in these months of emergency and an interlude that, if possible, has intensified precisely in light of the emergency. I have already given a mandate to my offices to share first of all with the companies a precise analysis of the measures put in place. Also in today’s reports, among other things, the suffering due to the blockade of the on-trade and the difficult restart has emerged with great evidence. And it is for this reason, I repeat, that in August we strongly wanted the measure for the catering sector, worth 600 million euros in non-repayable grants, with only one condition: purchases of products made in Italy. An important measure, capable of generating turnover equal to four times the amount allocated to each company, and which will obviously have a virtuous effect on wine and in the segments of excellence particularly affected by the crisis. Now - concludes the Minister Bellanova - for the relaunch we are focusing on export and internationalization, defining strategies that will have to see the institutional and production chain closely allied and cohesive”.
The geography of the production year sees a slight increase in the North (+3% on 2019), while in the Centre and South the quantities should be reduced by 2% and 7% respectively. Veneto (+1%) will remain the first region with 11 million hectoliters, followed by Puglia (8.5) Emilia-Romagna and Abruzzo. Together the 4 regions add 2/3 of all Italian wine. Among the main production areas, Piedmont and Trentino-Alto Adige (+5%), Lombardy and Marche (+10%), Emilia-Romagna and Abruzzo (+7%). A decrease in production, instead, in Tuscany and Sicily (-15%), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (-7%) and Puglia (-5%). To date, September 3, 20% of the grapes have been harvested.

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