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Italian wine producers expect 'quality' season in 2011

Volume may fall due to high summer temperatures

29 August, 13:22
Italian wine producers expect 'quality' season in 2011 (ANSA) - Rome, August 29 - Italian wine producers are predicting a season of "excellent quality" in 2011 although total wine volume may be 5% lower due to high summer temperatures.

The forecast came from the Assoenologi, the Italian association of enologists, and is expected to give wine producers a boost after a recent fall in domestic wine sales.

"There is a certain homogeneity in almost all the regions in 2011, but it's possible we'll produce a high-quality harvest," said Giuseppe Martelli, director general of Assoenologi.

"It depends on the weather in September. If it is sunny but cool with good temperature ranges at night, we will get fragrant white wines and well-structured red wines".

Early estimates for bulk grapes, wine juice and wines in all the Italian regions are expected to be between 5% and 20% higher.

"In 2010 bulk prices were equal to 2009, the year in which prices slid 30% because of the economic crisis," Martelli said.

Last year there was a 11% increase in total Italian wine exports, and an 11.9% increase in value.

Italy's grape harvest began early this year due to warmer seasonal temperatures and winemakers are expecting the season to reinforce the country's position as the world's leading wine producer.

Last year Italy produced 49.6 million hectolitres of wine, out of a total of 157.2 million for the European Union, compared to 46.2 million hectolitres made in France.

Italy beat France for the first time last year for the overall amount of wine produced. It had already surpassed France in the production of bulk unbottled wine.

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