Northern Vineyards Grow while the South Declines

The most recent survey conducted by Istat (the Italian National Institute of Statistics) reports that from 2000 to 2006, the number of hectares under vine in Italy have dropped by 13,552 (2% of the national total), from 692,420 to 678.868.

In other words, the Italian vine had lost a surface area equivalent to the region of Umbria. Data show that the greatest decline has occurred in Central (113,451 hectares) and Southern (329,868) Italy. During the same period, Northern Italy has seen growth of 1.2% with a total of 235,549 hectares under vine.

In the north, Lombardy has seen notable growth (+3.5%), while Liguria (-4.1%) and the Valle d’Aosta (-11%) have dropped considerably. The number of hectares under vine in all of the other northern regions continues to grow, with Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the lead with a growth-rate of 100.2%.

In Central Italy, Tuscany has remained essentially unchanged (+0.7%) while Umbria has shown healthy growth (+2.5%). But the news from Latium (-1.1%) and the Marches (nearly -18%) is not so good.

In the south, the number of hectares under vine in Molise has grown considerably (+19.3%) and Sardinia shows some growth (+1.1). But the rest of the south reports steep declines: -4% in Apulia and Campania, -2% in Sicily and Calabria, -9% in Abruzzo, and a whopping -18% in Basilicata – the home of one of Italy’s greatest wines, Aglianico del Vulture.

Over all, Italian viticulture has show growth in production zones where producers have a healthy relationship with the market. Inversely, production zones lacking a healthy dialog with the market have reported marked decline.

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