If we think about grape harvest we automatically think about autumn season. In reality, the harvesting time is much longer and changes from region to region depending on the climatic situation. The harvest, in general, begins in August and ends in October, even if there are late grapes that are harvested even in November. In Sicily, for example, it starts at the end of July, followed by Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont and the other regions between August and September.
Grape harvest 2018 undergoes, in some areas, significant damage caused by heavy rains and high temperatures with the consequent influence of harvesting times. However, there is a record yield: AssoEnologi estimates, even a 20% increase in quantities, or 56 million hectoliters in total. To find such a rich harvest we need to go back 20 years: 58 million hectoliters in 1999.
The association of wine producers said: “the 2017 year has been among the poorest in the last fifty years, where the climatic events are fierce with an unusual and exceptional range; this year, however, we are back to the average values referred to years of full production.”
At the beginning of September, however, everything can still vary according to the climatic conditions of the months of September and October.
Downy-mildew and powdery-mildew
The heavy rains in May and June favored the proliferation of downy-mildew and oidium, which forced winegrowers to defend themselves with various treatments. The strong thunderstorms and hailstorms of July and August, however, caused quantitative abatement (defoliation and lacerations) in some areas, above all Puglia and Sicily, but also stimulated the production of a large number of clusters.
The quantitative estimates made thanks to the Oenologists Association have a positive sign for all the Regions. There are particularly significant peaks in the Center (+ 35% in Lazio and Umbria and + 30% in Emilia), precisely those Regions most affected by last year’s drought.
“A significant production growth that outlines a grape harvest 2018, overall, positive, even if with some criticality, especially in the South. Italian viticulture has been able to deal with this bizarre climatic trend with attention, promptness and professionalism, allowing our country to confirm once again this year its global production leadership.” With these words Ernesto Abbona, Unione Italiana Vini president, spoke at the press conference to present the forecasts for the 2018 grape harvest, prepared by Unione Italiana Vini and Ismea for the Wine Observatory.
During the same event, Gian Marco Centinaio, Italian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Tourism, says: “In order to exploit all the potential of the market, we need to encourage the growth of the sector by investing in research, innovation and focusing on simplification to make our companies increasingly competitive on international markets.”
“The current picture of the 2018 year presents a productive trend that bodes well for the entire wine sector – continues Gian Marco Centinaio – Wine is a product with a strong international appeal, ambassador of Made in Italy in the world, vehicle and symbol of the ideal of quality and uniqueness of Italian products. The path is still long – concludes – and the real challenge of the near future will be to emphasize the diversity and added value of Italian wine, investing in the differentiation of the offer and on quality, two elements that make our wine-making realities unique.”
Raffaele Borriello, ISMEA general director, states: “the lower availability of products in the past, associated with a substantial increase in prices, has determined, in the first 5 months of 2018, a reduction of 10% of wine volumes exported all over the world, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom for France, but we believe that the increase in production in 2018 will have a positive effect on the recovery of Italian exports in international markets, with the prospect of exceeding the 6 billion euro at the end of the year.”
For further information: DOSSIER-PRIME-PREVISIONI-2018