More Italian wines were shipped to the UK last year than French, and Italy could overtake Australia to take the number one spot by the end of 2010.
Figures released recently by the UK government show that, despite weak market conditions, imports of still wines from Italy grew by 28% between 2008 and 2009 to take a 17.4% share of UK trade.
This represents more than one bottle in six. Italy has moved into second position behind Australia whose share of imports is 20.7%.
If the current rate of growth is maintained, Italy could take the number one spot within twelve months.
In cash terms Italian imports are already ahead of Australia, having grown in value by over 32% during the same period.
The biggest volume growth was in everyday red and rose wines, which recorded an uplift of 298,438 hls (87%).
In whites, imports grew by 220,705 hls (44%).
The sparkling wine category including Prosecco recorded volume growth of 26,059 hls, a 79% rise.
UK import data is collected from importers by HM Customs & Revenue and published by its Uktradeinfo service.
Written by Hugo Rose