Italian wine exports fell in volume last year due to strong competitive pressure from non-European markets.
The country’s wine export volumes dropped seven per cent to 17.8 million hectolitres in 2008, according to Unione Italiana Vini (UIV).
Despite this its value has increased by two per cent to €3.6bn ($4.57).
‘We are closing a difficult year, but our product has managed to hold on to the positions gained in the past,’ UIV Chairman Andrea Sartori said in a statement.
‘The challenge for this and coming years will be… to be ever more competitive, improving an average quality of our products and boosting communication about the value of Italian wine.’
Satori said that growing competition from the United States, Argentina, Chile and South Africa has also affected other traditional European wine makers.
The reputation of Italian wine was damaged in the United States last year by investigations into the authenticity of premium red wines made by some producers from Montalcino and Montepulciano in Tuscany.
Written by Suzannah Ramsdale