Grape harvest Tuscany Italy

Wine: 10% reduction in grape harvest

Business News

The 2022 grape harvest in Italy kicks off at least seven days earlier than last year due to drought and heat over 40 degrees. The overly warm climate sees a cut in production by 10% nationwide.

Italy’s agriculture association Coldiretti, says vineyards were put to the test by hot nights and always very high minimum temperatures. These did not allow the bunches of grapes to take a bit of climate “breath” with the traditional temperature change.

Italian production this year, underlines Coldiretti, is estimated to be down by 10% at national level for a quantity of around 45.5 million hectoliters. However, a lot will depend both on the evolution of temperatures that affect ripening and on the absence of storms and hailstorms.  

READ: 2021 record wine exports

Good/excellent quality still expected

In Italy, however, a year of good/excellent quality is expected even if the trend of the grape harvest will be greatly influenced by the rest of August and September.

Despite the national decline, Coldiretti says Italy will remain the first world producer of wine. There is a challenge for second place between France and Spain, countries that have both suffered damage caused by drought and fires.

From north to south of the Peninsula, the harvest traditionally starts with the Pinot and Chardonnay sparkling wine grapes. It follows in September and October with Glera for Prosecco and with the great native red grapes Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Nebbiolo. It ends in November with Aglianico and Nerello grapes. In total, there are 658,000 hectares cultivated nationwide.

“With the harvest in Italy, a system is activated that offers job opportunities to 1.3 million people engaged directly in vineyards, cellars and in commercial distribution, both for those employed in related and service activities” explains the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini.

To protect the enormous Italian food and wine heritage, however, it is necessary to overcome as soon as possible the bureaucratic constraints that slow down the hiring of seasonal workers. To date in agriculture, according to Coldiretti, just 10,000 seasonal workers out of the 42,000 foreseen have started working in the countryside. From Trentino to Veneto passing through Emilia up to Basilicata the situation – states Coldiretti – has become dramatic.

“It is not possible that because of the bureaucracy,” emphasises Prandini, “that companies lose the work of an entire agricultural year after having also faced the damage of drought and a heavy increase in production costs caused by the war in Ukraine”.

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