ISMEA / UIV 2007 Italian Wine Production Forecast
Second of Six Parts
Staff Writer – September 10, 2007
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Starting from the northwestern regions of Italy, ISMEA and UIV speculate that the production deficit in Piedmont will be around 5%. The area around Asti appears to be the most affected, while in the province of Cuneo the loss in quantity could be compensated by the higher quality of the grapes.
Two hail storms hit the region, unpredictable as ever, in late spring, with damages causing early pruning, then again in August with less intensity, though it created problems with collateral effects, such as rot. Damage attributable to hail hit the production area of the Nebbiolo grapes used to make Barolo wines.
After an early blooming start and following phases, the variable weather pattern of August slowed down the run toward ripeness, reducing the early harvest gap to around two weeks.
The growing process though turned out to be favorable and the quality level expected is high, in particular thanks to the Piedmontese summer climate, with a high temperature variation between day and night, including in the hot months of July and August.
The sugar level of the grapes appears to be high, though not excessive. The white grapes from the province of Asti could produce must with alcohol level two to three babo higher, obviously provided that the harvest is done at the right point of ripeness.
Beside a few, scattered, oidium problems, the Piedmontese vintners did not have to face other adversities.
Lombardy, Liguria and Aosta Valley
In Lombardy the percentage loss compared to 2006 is expected to be 5 - 10%.
The high precocity registered during the earliest growing and blooming phases was decidedly reduced in all, the region, anticipating the harvest of 10 to 15 days.
In the province of Brescia the harvest of grapes for the Spumante in the Franciacorta wine zone is already completed, and it registered good quality as well as average quantity. In the province of Pavia the harvest started earlier than usual, for the Spumante grapes and other early varieties, while the variety which ripe at a later time may be harvested at their usual time.
The season has been particularly dry, though not sultry. The quality is good and no health problems have been reported. Oidium raised some concerns earlier on, but prompt intervention annihilated the attack.
Liguria as well registered a decrease of 5% in product. The early precocious development slowed down and the harvest started 15 days in advance.
At harvest time the balance of sugar and acidity resulted well balanced in the Levante production zone. The limited production compared to last year is totally due to the drought which reduced the size of the grapes. A few oidium and tignoletta attacks have been reported.
The Aosta Valley should have a production aligned with lasts year's. Harvest started 10-15 days early and few peronospora attacks have developed, but overall the quality is expected to be good.
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