Italy braces for smallest harvest since 1950

Italian winemakers are preparing for what could be their smallest harvest in 64 years with bad weather blamed for a drop in production across the country.

Mount Etna, Vineyard in Sicily, ItalyUnseasonably bad weather across much of Italy’s wine-producing territory could see production plunge to 41 million hectolitres in 2013, down 15% on 2013, the farmers’ association Coldiretti said on Tuesday.

The biggest drop in production is expected in the southern regions of Puglia and Sicily where yields could be down by as much as 30%, while production is also said to be down in all of the country’s northern wine regions.

Bad weather and excessive rainfall, with average rainfall across the country in July 73% higher than usual, have been blamed for lower production rates.

Wet weather during warmer summer months is particularly bad for grapes as it encourages fungal rot.

Coldiretti said the final yield will depend on the “climactic conditions” of the next few weeks, noting that 80% of the country’s grapes are yet to be harvest.

In comparison rival France is anticipating 47 million hectolitres, according to Coldiretti.

A poor vintage in Italy has far reaching consequences for the struggling economy in a country of 200,000 wine producers employing 1.25 million people with a combined turnover of €9.5billion (£7.64b).

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