Assoenologi predicts that Italy will surpass France in volume with 2015 vintage as the group’s longtime director Martelli steps down

nebbiolo harvest 2015Above: Nebbiolo grapes in Barolo township (photo taken August 22, 2015).

With an increase of 10 per cent over last year’s harvest, Italy is expected to surpass France in the volume of wine produced in the 2015 vintage.

According to a report published by Assoenologi, the association of Italian wine technicians, Italy will produce up to 47 million hectoliters of wine with the 2015 crop, slightly more than in France where industry observers predict total production of 46.5 million hectoliters, a roughly 1 per cent drop with respect to last year’s total volume for French winemakers.

Some Italian regions will have a substantive increase in volume of wine produced this year, like Puglia, where 25 per cent growth is expected despite some zones that were affected by heavy rains late in the growing season.

In Sardinia and Lombardy, experts predict that yields will be roughly the same as last year while Tuscany is the only region to see a drop in volume (-5 per cent).

Click here for the Assoenologi graphic depicting the 2015 fine wine grape crop in Italy.

In terms of quality, “it’s impossible to make predictions that apply to all zones and microzones from Valtellina [Lombardy] to Etna [Sicily] because the effects of the climate are too varied,” according to Assoenologi president Riccardo Cotarella who was quoted earlier this month in a blog post by Corriere della Sera wine writer Luciano Ferraro (translation mine).

“It was the hottest July in centuries,” with an average of 3.5° C. above normal temperatures according to the Assoenologi report, which cites data compiled by Italy’s National Research Center.

Even though the authors call the 2015 vegetative cycle “ideal,” they note that temperatures in June and July were extremely high and in some cases “burning [hot].”

Emergency irrigation was crucial in maintaining the health of the vines in some zones, they write. But the warm, dry summer also reduced vine disease.

Final data will not be available, notes Cotarella, until harvest is completed in November.

As the 2015 harvest comes to a close, Giuseppe Martelli, who has led the body for 37 years, has announced that he will step down as Assoenologi director.

As the editors of the Luciano Pignataro Wine Blog wrote today, his retirement represents “the end of an era.”

Born in Novara province and an enologist and biologist by training, Martelli has led Assoenologi since 1978.

In a statement by the association published on the Luciano Pignataro Wine Blog, no reference is made to his reason for stepping down.

Earlier this year, Martelli’s nomination was confirmed for a second three-year tenure of Italy’s National Committee on Wine Appellations. He has been a member of the committee since 1984.

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