Italy’s wine production falls 9 percent after year of extreme weather

Wine production in Italy fell nine percent in 2021, new data show, as winemakers across the country continue to suffer the effects of extreme weather.

According to the latest preliminary data released by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and distributed by the agricultural association Coldiretti, global wine production in 2021 will fall to 250.3 million hectoliters, seven percent below the average of the past 20 years.

This will be the third year in a row that total global wine production will fall below average, Coldiretti stresses, with the 2021 harvest just above the historic low of 2017.

OIV shared its data at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where world leaders are currently meeting to discuss strategies for dealing with the effects of the climate crisis.

The drop in production levels is due to “late spring frosts and general adverse weather conditions” associated with climate change, Coldiretti said in a press release Thursday.

Extreme heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, floods and storms hit Italy in 2021, damaging crops and creating havoc for farmers.

In October, the country was hit by 20 severe weather events in a single day, including tornadoes, hail, hurricanes and torrential rains that damaged cities and rural areas across the peninsula.

The storms “devastated fields, pastures, stables and farm vehicles, as well as blocked roads and caused landslides and rockslides in rural areas,” Coldiretti said.

The group estimates that Italy’s agricultural industry has lost 2 billion euros this year as a result of extreme weather events.

Despite the decline in wine production, Italy remains the largest wine producer in the world, followed by Spain and then France.

Wine producers in France reportedly suffered particularly heavy losses in 2021, when harvests were down 27 percent from 2020 after severe frost, summer rains, hail and disease.

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