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Italy hopeful for 2011 vintage

Italian vintners are in positive mood, with high hopes for an excellent vintage in 2011.

Planeta: ‘ideal’ 2011

After severe heat and drought in the second part of August, which caused plant stress that greatly lowered yields, 2011 is expected to be 10-25% down in terms of quantity.

The pulling up of over 9000ha to reduce overall wine production is a contributing factor.

‘The Italian 2011 Harvest will probably be at an all-time low’ in terms of quantity, according to harvest reports just released by UIV (Unione Italiana Vini) and ISMEA (Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare).

UIV estimates that this year’s harvest will generate 42.3m hectolitres, 10% lower than 2010’s 46.7m hl.

The heat in the latter part of August also led to a very early harvest in much of Italy.

‘We started the harvest 20 days earlier than normal this year, the earliest ever for my winery,’ Pio Boffa of Piedmont’s Pio Cesare winery said.

Andrea Cecchi, whose family makes wine throughout Tuscany, says production will be between 10-25% lower this year. ‘Not only were there fewer grape bunches, but the yields from grape to wine are much lower because the grapes held less juice.’

As for quality, vintners are optimistic for an ‘excellent, vintage, with great structure and longevity’, as Boffa said.

Cecchi, agreed: 2011 holds great promise thanks to ‘naturally rich extraction and good structure’, he said.

In the south, Alessio Planeta of Sicily’s Planeta said ‘2011was ideal, especially for Sicily’s native grapes, Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Grecanico, which excel in hot, dry summers’

He compared 2011, at least in climatic terms, to the excellent 2001.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe

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