An Italian farmers' group expects Italy's wine production, around 47 million hectolitres in 2008, to beat that of France, nabbing the top European wine producing spot that France has occupied since the beginning of the century.
Helped by good weather, Italy is set to overtake arch-rival France to become Europe's biggest wine producer for the first time this century, Italian farmers' group Coldiretti said on Thursday.
Sunshine and moderate rains will have helped Italy boost wine output to an estimated 47 million hectolitres in 2008, while bad weather in France will mean the poorest wine harvest there since 2000, Coldiretti said citing a report by France's Agriculture Ministry.
"Thus Italy wins the European primacy in wine production," Coldiretti, Italy's biggest farmers' body, said in a statement.
The rosy forecast contrasts with the downside of two investigations underway into the authenticity of two premium red wines -- Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano -- made by some producers.
And Italy's expected leadership of the European wine making club may soon be challenged by Spain which is set to overtake both France and Italy, according to a recent French study.
But Coldiretti said wine output per hectare in Italy was 70 percent higher than that in France and Spain and three-fold that of the United States.
France's wine output is estimated at 46 million hectolitres this year which would be 10 percent below an average of the past five years, according to the French Ministry report.
France, Italy and Spain are the EU's three leading wine producers by volume. They are also the world's top three winemakers, followed by the United States and Argentina.
Date created : 2008-08-21