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My View: Time for Italy to emphasise its quality

Published:  18 January, 2007

There is no doubt that Italy has experienced a difficult vintage in volume terms in 2007, with the post harvest Associazione Enologi Enotecnici Italiani report quoting overall figures 18%
down on 2006.

But although 2007 looks to have been one of the smallest and earliest vintages in the last 70 years, reports on overall quality are very positive.

The key volume-driving areas of the Veneto and Sicily at

the geographical extremes of Italy seem to have been among

the worst affected.

A wet and hot June/July led to rot in a number of well-reported cases in the Sicilian vineyards and volume predictions there are down as much as 40%.

This short vintage comes at a particularly interesting time

for Italy, which is facing an international surge in demand for its wines - at both entry and premium levels - coupled with high fuel costs, which are leading to inflation in the costs of dry materials.

One does not need too sharp a grasp of economics to

surmise that a commodity in demand but in short supply,

which is also becoming more expensive to produce and

package, is likely to experience price inflation.

However, it is worth pointing out that Italy is not alone in its predicament.

With Australia and parts of France in a similar position,

this may be just the opportunity Italy needs to emphasise its quality wine credentials as a counterpoint to the pursuit of pure volume.

Damian Carrington is head of marketing at Enotria