This year has proved to be a challenging one for winemakers across the globe. It seems like every day that we hear about a new pest or extreme weather event threatening to wipe out a region’s crop, from unprecedented frosts in the Finger Lakes to devastating mildew in Bordeaux. Now, it seems like Italy is taking the brunt of summer’s challenges, with unfavorable weather and temperatures haunting its vineyards.

According to Italian farming group Coldiretti, Italy’s winemakers are reporting that they expect 2023’s harvest to be up to 14 percent smaller than that of 2022. This would mean that the industry’s production could drop to 43 million hectoliters compared to the 50 million reported last season, establishing 2023 as one of the smallest-grossing harvests of the last century, joining 1948, 2007, and 2017 as remarkably low-yielding vintages.

The growing season began with foreboding heavy rains in May and June, mostly around Sicily. Damage to vineyards continued as Sicily faced fires, and northern Italy has taken on intense hailstorms in recent weeks. Though these factors can lead to a massive loss of crop volume, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the remaining wines will be of poor quality.

“The 2023 harvest will be one of the most difficult of the last years,” industry-beloved producer Arianna Occhipinti told the Assovini Sicilia wine association yesterday. “Beside the recent big wave of heat, we had heavy rains in May and June, important for the flowering of our grapes. The start of downy mildew may impact our upcoming production for about 30-35 percent… [it] will be lower in quantity but higher in quality.”

Other Sicilian producers told the association that the altitude and winds that sweep their vineyards have helped ward off downy mildew for now, and producers remain hopeful that even if they see a decreased production this year, that the wines that do get made will still be incredible.

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