This year’s more abundant and better quality harvest helped the country produce 13 percent more wine than in 2014, enabling it to soar ahead of France and confirm its number one position.
According to data submitted by member states to the European Commission in September, Italy’s output stood at 48.8 million hectolitre, compared to France’s 46.4 million.
“The reason is simply climatic,” Denis Pantini of Wine Monitor, an Italian research company, told The Local.
“Italy and France take turns to lead the rankings for the top wine producer in the world, but this year Italy’s harvest was more abundant and of better quality.”
France and Italy are typically the main rivals for the crown, both in terms of quality and quantity, but a lack of rain and a heatwave caused a one percent decrease in French wine production compared to last year, relegating the country to second place. Spain, meanwhile, was in third place with 36.6 million hectolitres.
Italy now accounts for 28 percent of the wine produced in Europe, while exports exceed €5 billion.
Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina told La Repubblica that Italy has an “extraordinary asset and we want to further enhance the great work done by our companies in recent years.”
Sales in Britain of another Italian drink, prosecco, also managed to beat French rival, champagne, for the first time ever this year.
Sales of the sparkling wine jumped 72 percent in value in the year to mid-July 2015, reaching £339 million (€479 million), US research company IRI found.
By Ellie Bennett