How coronavirus affects Italian wine exports, production

Harvest has started and production is expected to fall. World record at risk, it is head to head with France
How coronavirus affects Italian wine exports, production

Sales of Italian wine in the world are down 4%. This is an unprecedented trend reversal in the last 30 years, due to the coronavirus health emergency. This is what emerges from an analysis by Italian farmers association Coldiretti based on Istat data for the first five months of 2020.

The undergoing vintage in Italy is also currently influenced by the safety measures against contagion and by the difficulties of moving foreign seasonal agricultural workers who contribute significantly to the harvesting of grapes.

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Figures are worrying considering last year’s export sales historic record of 6.4 billion euros. The 2020 harvest is in fact the first to be marked by the effects of the world pandemic and international trade tensions.


In China, consumption of Italian wine bottles fell by 44% in value between January and May 2020, whereas in the United Kingdom sales fell by almost 12% also due to the uncertainties linked to Brexit. In France sales fell by 14% while exports to Germany and to the United States, two of the main markets for Italy, fell slightly (- 1%).

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Estimated Italian wine production for 2020 is close to 45 million hectolitres, down by about 5% compared to 2019 when there was an exciting head-to-head with France for the world record. And in France itself production is estimated at between 44.7 and 45.7 million hectolitres according to the French Ministry of Agriculture’s Statistics and Forecasts Service, while in Spain production it shoulb be between 43 and 44 million hectolitres.

Italian wine

Despite fluctuating weather conditions, Italy is expected to have a good or very good quality vintage. About 70% of Italian wine production will go to DOCG, DOC and IGT wines – with 332 wines with controlled designation of origin (DOC), 73 wines with controlled and guaranteed designation of origin (DOCG), and 118 wines with typical geographical indication (IGT) recognized in Italy. The remaining 30% of production will go to table wines.

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