Italy eclipses France in winemaking

Italy has overtaken France to become the world’s largest producer of wine, according to figures from the European Commission.

Italy eclipses France in winemaking
Italy is now the world's biggest wine producer. Photo: Fivi

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




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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?