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Growers in some regions are blaming "bizarre" weather for the downturn.

Mike Pomranz
August 07, 2017

Wine grapes can be notoriously fickle. That’s part of the drink’s allure. But the Italian farmers association, Coldiretti, suggests that grape yields in parts of Italy this year might fall below what most would consider the “fickle” threshold with some regions possibly seeing volumes down by as much as 30 percent.

Coldiretti blames the low yields on what it called “bizarre” weather, with many areas experiencing a mild winter leading to early vine shoots that were then hit by damaging late-spring frosts. That was followed by drought and, in some areas, hailstorms that gave way to early summer rain and heat, leading to an early harvest. As a result, the association warned that the well-known Chianti region and other denominations in Tuscany could see volumes fall by between 20 to 30 percent. Franciacorta is also in danger of seeing yields drop by 30 percent from last year. Overall, yields for this year are expected to be down about 10 to 15 percent from 2016.

The good news, however, is despite the lack of supply, the quality of the wine may still be strong. “Much will depend on the months of August and September, but the current conditions hope for a vintage of good quality, especially for vineyards that have undergone water shortages or where farmers have succeeded in Rescue irrigation,” Coldiretti said in a statement according to The Drinks Business.

And even if volume is down from 2016, last year was a relatively strong year for Italian wine production, resulting in over 50 million hectoliters of wine. Even a 15 percent drop in total production would be in line with some recent years, so though the numbers might seem troublesome, don’t expect to see an Italian wine shortage any time soon.