Italy’s “black harvest” 2014: enologist association’s bleak forecast

italy grape harvest data 2014Above: you can read the Italian association of enologists (Assoenologi) forecast for harvest 2014 in its entirety on Luciano Pignataro’s site. Click image above to enlarge. The data above represent the 2014 yield forecast compared with yield data from 2013 and average yields over the last five years.

“The year of the black harvest,” wrote Corriere della Sera wine writer Luciano Ferraro on his blog on Friday, a forecast of a “30 percent decrease” in some appellations.

He was referring to report issued by Assoenologi, the Italian association of enologists and eno-technicians circulated by the group last week.

Disastrous snow storms in Abruzzo in November 2013; an accelerated growing cycle prompted by an otherwise extremely mild winter throughout Italy; intense hailstorms in the spring in northern Italy; incessant rainfall in July throughout Italy and an unusually cool August in northern and central Italy.

There will be some bright spots, write the authors of the report, but the outlook is bleak for most growers and winemakers.

In his post, Ferraro synopsized the forecast region by region and I have translated his notes below.



Major hailstorms and peronospora [powdery mildew] in Barolo. Overall production will be good, with some spots in great condition but few excellent [wines].


Rainfall for 90 days out of 151. Gray rot has affected 15 percent of the bunches. In Valtellina, if the weather gets better, growers can hope for an interesting although late harvest.

Trentino-Alto Adige

Widespread damage from peronospoora, wind damage for Marzemino. Lower alcohol levels for Chardonnay in Trentino. Things are better in Bolzano province, where the wines will have lower alcohol levels.


Vineyards have been affected by vine diseases because of rainstorms and low temperatures. Amarone production within the norm. Glera grapes (for Prosecco) will have interesting acidity levels.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Slow ripening of the grapes because of cold. Decrease in production of Pinot Grigio, Friulano, Chardonnay, Cabernet France, and Merlot.


Widespread cases of acid rot and botrytis in hillside vineyards. The health of Trebbiano is relatively good.


If September and October will be favorable, the vintage will be interesting. Otherwise, there will not be great spots nor excellent [wines].

Latium, Umbria

July rains have compromised the health of the vineyards in all areas. In Castelli Romani and Orvieto province, harvest will not take place until the end of the month.


The overall quality of the grapes is relatively good. Harvest of Verdicchio, Trebbiano, Sangiovese, and Montepulciano will come a week late.


Enormous damage because of the snowfall last November but there is hope for an extremely interesting vintage for DOC wines.


The harvest will be completed in November when the Aglianico is picked. Late harvest with excellent promise for the grapes’ aromatic expression.


Primitivo harvest will begin next week. Good levels for the grapes, with yields restored thanks to August weather. In any case, the forecast is for a 20 percent drop in quantity.

Sicilia, Sardinia

In Sicily, the production will be 70 percent of 2013’s harvest [but] quality could be interesting. In Sardinia, the quality of the grapes is excellent [and] quantities have returned to the norm.

3 thoughts on “Italy’s “black harvest” 2014: enologist association’s bleak forecast

  1. Jeremy,

    What Mr. Ferraro forgot to say is that, according to Assoenologi, in 2012 Sicily has experienced a 30% increase of grape production compared to the average yields over the last five years

    What is happening, is that the production today is more balanced than last year. If you exclude 2013 from the statistics, you will see that 2014 is basically in line with what has happened during the past harvests and that the current decrease is normal yearly fluctuation.

    It is true that many vintners and winemakers from the northern regions of Italy are experiencing difficult times due to bad weather, but is also true that the situation in the southern regions is not bad at all. Quality is from good to very good here, with many peaks of exceptional quality. Peaks of quality that will be also present in the North among the most careful producers.

    Please, no drama.
    The message that occasional and less careful readers receive today from inaccurate reports flaunted all over the media for weeks now, is that in Italy the harvest is bad, thus the quality of 2014 wines will be bad. This will not be helpful for Italian wine, nor for Italian vintners and winemakers as a whole. There is no “black harvest” in Italy, but a difficult summer that we will overcome with all due diligence, hard work and attention in the vineyard as well as in the cellar, as we producers try to do every year.

    For more analysis and comments from Italian winemakers and bloggers please check the article I posted here

    Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Olive oil 2014 ! Azeite de olive 2014 ! | Via della Fonte

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