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Harvest 2023 in Italy, production estimated down -14% to 43 million hectoliters

The worst result of the century for the Center-South, with plunges of up to 50% for Coldiretti. Focus: soaring cost of glass for bottles: +54%

In a complex season from the weather point of view, the 2023 grape harvest in Italy has begun, as reported by WineNews, but paying a heavy price for the effects of climate change that, between bad weather and heat waves, have damaged vineyards with national production estimated, according to Coldiretti, to be down 14%, but with collapses of up to 50% in the Central South making it the worst result of the century for those areas.
Italian production is expected to fall around 43 million hectoliters compared to the 50 million recorded last season, making 2023 one of the worst years in the history of the Italian vineyard in the last century along with 1948, 2007 and 2017. Quality production is still expected in Italy, but for volumes, much depends on the evolution of temperatures and rainfall in the coming weeks and the impact of climate change, with winemakers having to be increasingly careful about choosing the right time for harvesting and processing in the cellar.
Based on early projections, in the absence of further adverse events, a head-to-head between Italy and France, which is coping with vine diseases and bad weather, is expected to win first place as the world’s top wine producer, Coldiretti points out, while Spain, where the weather has brought the harvest forward by at least two weeks, is expected to remain third with 36.5 million hectoliters and an 11% drop on 2022.
In Italy, in spite of the investments made by farmers to protect the health of the vineyards, with an increase in production costs weighing on company budgets, there are important regions such as Sicily and Apulia, which account for more than 1/5 of all wine in Italy, with losses between the rows of vines of up to 40%, while in some areas between Molise and Abruzzo there is a collapse of up to 60% of the bunches to be harvested. The situation is also difficult in Tuscany, but it improves moving north, where yields are stable or growing slightly compared to 2022. And if in Romagna the flood has dealt a blow to the vineyards, in Emilia, despite the hailstorms, production is holding up by following the entire ridge from Modena, Piacenza and Parma to Oltrepò Pavese and Astigiano. From Piedmont to Veneto via Lombardy, yields are stable despite cloudbursts and hailstorms that have hit in spots in recent weeks, in a North that is expected to produce 65% of all national wine this year.
A scenario that sees the harvest in Italy traditionally start with Pinot and Chardonnay sparkling wine grapes in a process that continues in September and October with Glera for Prosecco and with the great native red grapes Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo and even concludes in November with Aglianico and Nerello grapes on 658,000 hectares cultivated nationwide.
The Italian production, Coldiretti stresses, can count on 635 varieties entered in the vine register, twice as many as the French, with bottles made in Italy destined for 70% for Docg, Doc and Igt with 332 controlled designation of origin (DOC) wines, 76 controlled and guaranteed designation of origin (DOCG) wines and 118 Typical Geographical Indication (IGT) wines recognized in Italy, and the remaining 30% for table wines, demonstrating the rich heritage of biodiversity that Italy can count on, which boasts all along the Peninsula the possibility of offering local wines of the highest quality thanks to a millenary tradition. “With the grape harvest in Italy, a system is activated that offers job opportunities for 1.3 million people engaged directly in vineyards, wineries and commercial distribution, as well as for those employed in related and service activities”, explains Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini.
A heritage of culture, history, economy and work put at risk for Coldiretti by the entry into force of the Law on alarmist wine labels after the European Commission gave the green light by silent consent to the Irish proposal It is in fact a trade-distorting rule that is the result of an ideological approach to a food such as wine that is a full part of the Mediterranean diet and has ten thousand years of history and whose traces in the world have been identified in the Caucasus, while in Italy there are records in Sicily already 4. 100 years before Christ. “It is completely improper to equate the excessive consumption of hard liquor typical of Nordic countries with the moderate and conscious consumption of quality and lower-alcohol products such as beer and wine, which in Italy has become the emblem of a slow lifestyle, attentive to psycho-physical balance that helps to feel good about oneself, to be contrasted with the unregulated intake of alcohol”, Prandini continued in stressing that “the Union’s just commitment to protecting the health of citizens according to Coldiretti cannot be translated into simplistic decisions that risk unfairly criminalizing individual products regardless of the quantities consumed”.

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