Italian wine production set to hit slump yet exports to smash records

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    Italy's high summer temperatures are affecting this year's wine harvest, meaning production is substantially down. Yet demand for Italian wines abroad is at a record high.

    This year's wine harvest is expected to reap 24 percent less grape than last year. Experts estimate a total of 4.1 billion litres, one of the lowest totals on record since 1947.

    Yet demand for Italian wines is set to reach a record high, with a 6.3 percent expected increase in exports vis-a-vis 2016, when total sales receipts for wine abroad amounted to €5.6 billion.

    The harvest is not yet complete but has begun early due to this year's scorching temperatures.

    Despite the low estimated yields, Italy is set to maintain its position as the world's leading producer ahead of France, where harvests are also heavily affected by the scorching summer. 

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    Lazio and Umbria are the two regions where winemaking has dropped off heavily in Italy, with a 40 percent reduction, followed by Sicily and Tuscany, writes the agricultural producers union Coldiretti, Italy's largest. 

    More than 500 leading Italian wines, as well as several more 'house' wines, will continue to receive the Made in Italy stamp of quality.

    The Italian wine industry employs more than 1.3 million people and generates over €10 billion in sales alone, in Italy and abroad, every year.

    Eighteen different industries are linked to grapes – according to another Coldiretti study – from glass and cork production, to transport, accessories, biofuel and cosmetics. 

    Losses to Italian agriculture because of the summer's extraordinary temperatures are expected to rise to €2 billion. The grape harvest isn't the only one affected by the weather. Apple harvest yields are down 60 percent since 2016, says Coldiretti. 

    READ MORE: Researchers have found 6,000-year-old Italian wine in a Sicilian cave

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