The Covid-19 pandemic will not affect Italy’s leadership as the world’s leading wine producer. In fact, the 2020 grape harvest should reach 47.2 million hectolitres, down only 1% compared to 2019. A minimal drop which will still ensure Italy’s leadership in production in 2020, given that France and Spain are expected to reach 43.4 and 43 million hectolitres respectively, growing by +3% (France) and +13% (Spain).
The quality of Italy’s harvested grapes seems excellent and fuels the expectations of a vintage to be remembered. All this according to the key elements of the 2020 grape harvest estimates by Assoenologi, Ismea and Unione Italiana vini.
EARLY HARVESTING FOR HIGH-QUALITY GRAPES
According to the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the climate has been positive in the last 12 months with high rainfall in November and December 2019. This allowed the water reserves to be restored, while the following months continued without any particular climatic problems. This is why Italian grapes are healthy from a phytosanitary point of view: an indispensable prerequisite for quality.
Everywhere in Italy, there is an advanced vegetative cycle that will lead to slightly earlier harvesting of the grapes, although the harvesting should be completed between the end of October and the beginning of November with the later varieties: Nebbiolo in Valtellina, Cabernet in Alto Adige, Aglianico di Taurasi in Campania and Nerello Mascalese on the slopes of Etna in Sicily.
Italian wines and musts production in 2019/2020 (thousands of hl)
PRODUCTION DATA BY REGION
Among Italian regions, Veneto is still the top producing area with approximately 11 million hectolitres (+1%) followed by Puglia (8.5 million), Emilia-Romagna (7.7 million), and Abruzzo (3.4 million). These four regions together will produce around 30 million hectolitres this year, equal to about 65% of all Italian wine. Two areas with a great vocation such as Tuscany and Sicily both will record a -15% drop compared to the 2019 harvest. In Piedmont, on the other hand, a +5% growth is expected, whereas in the Marche region there will be an increase by +10%. Strong recovery in Sardinia too (+18%).
EXPORTS: THE SCENARIO
There are some concerns on the exports front, which in the first 5 months of 2020 recorded a -2.8% drop in volume (-4% in value), with above-average declines for Italian PDO wines (including sparkling wines), with a downward trend also in terms of average prices.