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September 14th, 2022

(Editorial team) A satisfactory vintage in terms of quantity and surprising in quality. According to the harvest forecasts of the Italian Oenologist Association (Assoenologi) Observatory , Ismea and the Italian Wine Union (Unione Italiana Vini), presented today at the Ministry of Agricolture (Mipaaf), the drought and the record heat of this year have not compromised the Italian vineyard which, at the start of the harvest campaign, promises quality grapes from good to excellent, with a quantity in line with the average of the last few years. In addition to the providential rains of August, the extraordinary work of research and application of the producers on a vine that is increasingly resilient to climatic and meteorological adversities guarantees the seal of the final product. According to the data presented today, 2022 production should in fact be around 50.27 million hectoliters of wine, the same amount as last year (50.23 million hectoliters of wine the 2021 figure) and + 3% compared to the average of the five-year period 2017-2021, even if the meteorological trend of the coming weeks remains crucial.

Favorable climatic conditions for the ripening of the grapes could in fact turn the forecasts in a positive sign, while an unsuitable climate for late varieties would negatively affect the harvest product.

“The harvest in progress is giving us a quality of the grapes that goes from good to excellent – explains Riccardo Cotarella, President of Assoenologi, -. Much depends on the reference areas, never as in this season the quantitative-qualitative judgment is totally patchy and this is essentially due to an extreme climate that has heavily influenced the months of May, June and especially July with peaks of heat that have exceeded 40 degrees and a prolonged drought. Fortunately, in August, in most of the country – except for a few exceptions – ‘intelligent’ rains arrived, that is, they did not cause damage, so as to allow the vine its vegetative restart and to bring the grapes to ripeness without stress. But to contain the negative effects of climate change was also the scientific approach that we oenologists have put in place to support the vineyards. Today, more than ever, science and research are fundamental in viticulture and in the cellar, there is no more room for apprentice sorcerers of wine, if ever there had been in the past. From here to the end of September we trust in sunny weather, just the right heat and perhaps accompanied by a light breeze, so that the grapes still to be harvested can reach perfect ripeness so as to go on to produce wines capable of imposing themselves once again on the enological scenarios. national and international “.

For the president of the Italian Wines Union, Lamberto Frescobaldi: “The vineyard has once again proved to be the pivot of the supply chain, demonstrating how, even with heat and drought, it is possible to make wines of high quality and satisfactory volumes. An applause goes to wineries and vintners, who once more have helped plants to cope in the best way with the adversities of the climate. But the game does not end with the harvest, because, especially in such a delicate economic phase, there is an increasing awareness that we can and should do better in terms of the value of our wine. The much-proclaimed production record is not in fact a sufficient condition to generate wealth: the “value yields” of the Italian vineyard record significantly lower performances than the French ones, which marks a triple profitability for each hectare cultivated (16.6 thousand euros vs 6 thousand) and for each hectolitre produced (294 vs 82 euros). There is still a way to go in order to guarantee a profitability directly proportional to the quality produced, with a path that starts from a more rational government of the industry in terms of designations of origin up to common wine. We must aim to write – or rewrite – a true vocational charter of our territories, anchored to real indicators, with few but clear rules for all those involved, from producers to control bodies to the trade and consumers “.

Climatic and vegetative trend

With a -46% cumulative precipitation from the beginning of the year to the end of July compared to the average of the last 30 years, 2022 stood out as the driest year since 1800 to date, also aggravated by the hottest temperatures of the last five decades.

An exceptional climatic situation, mitigated by the rains in August, which did not damage the Italian vineyard where, while maintaining a high level of attention to the weather in the coming weeks, a more than good year is expected with grapes characterized by medium-high potential alcohol content. Specific attention is paid to the polyphenolic contents of red berried grapes which determine potential expectations of excellence for aging wines. From a phytosanitary point of view, the situation of the Italian vineyard appears generally excellent, with very few pathogens attacks.

Vineyard geography Italy and Europe 2022

The ranking of the Italian Regions also remains stable, headed by Veneto which, with 11.5 million hectoliters, produces over 1/5 of Italian wine. Followed by Puglia and Emilia-Romagna, with respectively 10.6 and 7.4 million hectoliters, for an overall product of the three regions equal to 59% of the entire Italian vineyard. In terms of trends, the peculiarity of the season does not allow to formulate homogeneous forecasts even in the same area.

In the North West there is an important decline in Lombardy (-20%), followed by a more moderate one in Piedmont (-9%) and Liguria (-5%) while Valle d’Aosta is estimated to grow (+ 10%). ).

In the North-East, both Trentino Alto Adige (+ 10%) and Emilia Romagna (+ 4%) reported a recovery compared to last year, while small losses could occur in Veneto (-3%), with Friuli Venezia Giulia substantially stable.

In the Center of Italy there is a marked increase in volumes for Umbria (+ 10%) and Tuscany (+ 12%), followed by a more moderate increase in the Marche and Lazio (both at + 5%).

In the South, the slight increase in Puglia (+ 3%) contrasts with the slight decline in Sicily (-5%); stable production is expected for Abruzzo, Molise and Calabria. Campania (+ 4%), Sardinia (+ 15%) and Basilicata (10%) are also growing.

As far as quality is concerned, in general, top quality wines are expected in Trentino Alto Adige and Sicily, while they aim at the “excellent” in Piedmont, Val d’Aosta, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia and Sardinia, with Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria more cautious on “good / excellent” forecasts. Expectations for the Lombard and Venetian labels are “good”.

According to the production estimates reported today by the general secretary of the Ceev European entrepreneurs association, Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, in the Old Continent there is a high variability of production due to the climate. Overall, the European vineyard held up, with an average growth in France over the five-year period (+ 3.5%, to 44 million hl), while Spain is decreasing and is expected a contraction of -16% over the period. Production levels in Germany and Portugal are stable.

The market: first semester of Italian exports

With the 2022 harvest, Italy maintains its production leadership while that of turnover remains in the French house.

On the market side according to the latest calculations made by the Italian Statistical Institute, Italy closed the first half of the year with a record value of 3.8 billion euros (+13.5% on the same period of 2021) while the trend of volumes exported is flat: + 0.4%. Still and semi-sparkling wines bottled show a + 10.3% in value but lose -1.2% in volume. The performance of the sparkling wine sector was unstoppable and in the first part of the year reached one billion euros in value (+ 25.5%), with volumes at + 10.6%. The average price rose by 13.1%, with +18% in the United States, whose market is also supported by the strong dollar. is clearly growing – mainly due to inflation. In the first buyer in the world there is a clear inflation effect with +13.3% in value and – 3.8% in volumes.

According to Fabio Del Bravo, Ismea’s Head of Services for Rural Development: “In terms of markets, Italy closed the 21/22 campaign with price increases, especially in wines at the top of the qualitative pyramid. The first steps of the new campaign outline a still uncertain scenario where the many uncertainties about the tensions on costs and logistics, which started already last year and now are even more pressing. The good production results estimated, in spite of the summer fears about drought, mean that there will be availability of quality products also in this harvest and, while on the foreign front the demand seems to hold up even if not with the brilliant results of 2021, on the domestic one there are some signs of subsidence in purchases from modern distribution but the recovery of the away from home must be considered ”.

Dal 1982 svolge prestigiosi ruoli nella stampa nazionale, passando anche dalla radio e dalla televisione. Adesso è direttore ed editore di Euposia e The Italian Wine Journal.

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