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FRANCE

Italy knocked off podium of wine consumption worldwide

For the first time, Italy has been overtaken by Germany in wine consumption.

Italy knocked off podium of wine consumption worldwide
Photo: Jeff Kubina/Flickr

Italy is practically synonymous with wine and it leads the global export market, with one in every five bottles sold abroad coming from the Mediterranean country. But Italians themselves seem to be losing their appetite for the beverage.

The United States topped the list of biggest wine-drinkers in 2015, followed by France and then Germany, according to a new study from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). It’s the first time that Italians have been beaten to the podium by German drinkers.

However, figures from Italy farmers' association Coldiretti show that wine consumption in Italy actually saw a modest rise of 0.3 percent in 2015, whereas in France it fell by 1.2 percent. On the other hand, the US and Germany saw more dramatic rises of one percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

Germans drank 20.5 million hectolitres of wine last year, compared to 30.1 million in the US and 27.2 million in France.

Italy fell just behind Germany, with just under 20.5 million hectolitres downed – the equivalent of about 13.6 billion glasses of vino – however, it does have a significantly smaller population than the top three wine-drinking nations.

Recently Prime Minister Matteo Renzi risked an international fall-out by suggesting the country’s wine was better than France’s. Politicians from Italy's Left Ecology and Freedom Party even suggested introducing compulsory lessons about wine for schoolchildren aged six upwards.

But although the Italians aren't drinking more wine, Made in Italy drinks are becoming increasingly popular abroad, and particularly in the US and Germany, with Chianti and Prosecco among the best-loved varieties worldwide.

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ITALY

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?

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