Report Highlights: 

Italy’s CY 2013 wine production is estimated at 44.9 Mhl, 12 percent more than the previous campaign thanks to ideal weather conditions that allowed for extended hang time and flavor development, especially of the white grape varieties.

Italy’s Wine Overview 

Production 

Italy’s CY 2013 wine production is estimated at 44.9 Mhl, 12 percent more than the previous campaign thanks to ideal weather conditions that allowed for extended hang time and flavor development, especially of the white grape varieties. Wine production increased by 30 percent in Apulia and Sicily; 20 percent in Lombardia; 15 percent in Piedmont, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, and Sardegna; 10 percent in Veneto, Abruzzo, and Campania; and 5 percent in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, and Marche. Only Lazio and Umbria registered a decrease of 20 percent, respectively. Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Puglia, and Sicily together produced approximately 62 percent of total output. The harvest started early August in Puglia and Sicily, and ended in November, reaching its peak during the last week of September and early October. November saw the last contributions to the 2013 harvest with Valtellina’s Nebbiolo, Alto Adige’s Cabernet, Campania’s Aglianico, and the late harvested native vines on Etna’s slopes. 

Reportedly, quality is excellent for white wines. However, there are some uncertainties regarding red wines produced from the grapes harvested early October, as the rainfall over the Peninsula thwarted the end of some varieties ripening and anticipated the harvesting of others. About one-third of Italy’s wine production is Controlled Appellation (DOC and DOCG) - mostly from the Northern and, to a lesser extent, Central regions. According to industry contacts, the most popular grape varietals for red wine are Montepulciano, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Tocai is the most popular choice of white wine and Montepulciano for rosé. In white wine, other popular grapes are Prosecco, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. In rosé, Pinot Noir and Negroamaro grapes experienced an increase in their popularity over CY2012. 

Consumption 

Wine consumption has been declining in Italy for decades. Causes for the trend include changing lifestyles and tastes, as well as anti-alcohol drinking campaigns. According to the Italian Association of Enologists (Assoenologi), Italy’s CY 2013 per capita wine consumption is estimated to be less than 40 liters, considerably lower than the 45 liters in 2007 and 110 liters in the 70s. Recent wine consumer surveys show that Italian origin and familiarity with the winery are the main elements in determining consumer choice. Despite economic austerity measures, Italian wine consumers are seeking higher quality wines but still in the modest price range. However, in general, consumer preferences are gradually shifting to other alcoholic beverages such as beer, liqueurs, and spirits. This trend is more noticeable when discussing occasional and out-of-home consumption than daily consumption, which is still centered on wine.

Trade 

Italy’s wine exports are expected to increase by 11 percent to $6 billion in 2013, thanks to increased exports to the United States (+10.4 percent), Germany (+10.5 percent), and the United Kingdom (+20 percent). The United States is expected to remain the leading destination for Italian wine, reaching $1.3 billion during 2013. The next most important destinations are Germany ($1.2 billion), the United Kingdom ($757 Mln), and Switzerland ($378 Mln). An interesting trend in international wholesale prices shows that there was a 12 percent increase in the average price of Italian wine per liter during the first 6 months of 2013, reaching €2.38 per liter. Italy’s wine imports are expected to increase by 9.3 percent to $384 Mln in 2013, thanks to the increased supply from Spain (+21 percent), the United States (+35 percent), South Africa (+3,163 percent), and Australia (+527 percent). France ($166 Mln), Spain ($107 Mln), and the United States ($58 Mln) are the leading suppliers to the Italian market, accounting for 85.5 percent of total imports.

Promotion 

In Italy, funds for promotion from the EU wine Common Market Organization totaled €49 Mln in CY 2011, €65 Mln in CY 2012, and €102 Mln in CY 2013. Funds have been used to participate in fairs, shows, workshops, and wine tastings in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan. Moreover, the largest Italian wine trade show Vinitaly also promotes Italian wines in foreign markets (U.S., Russia, Hong Kong, etc.) through Vinitaly International

Abbreviations and definitions used in this report 

Harmonized System (HS) codes: 

Grape wine total: 2204 

HL = Hectoliter = 100 liters 

Mhl = Million Hectoliters 

Ha = Hectares 

CY = Calendar Year; wine production of a specific CY refers to the wine made from the wine grapes harvested in that CY. I.e. 2013 production refers to wines made from grapes harvested in Fall 2013. 

DOC= Denomination of Controlled Origin 

DOCG= Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin 

PDO = Protected Denomination of Origin 

PGI = Protected Geographical Indication