In the period from 11 to 16 December 2023, the wine industry in Italy recorded major changes in consumption, prices and production, bringing the sector into a state of fluctuation.

Reduction in Production Italian wine production for 2023 has been revised downwards, with a contraction that could reach between -20% and -24%, significantly lower than the -12% expected in September. This reduction was mainly caused by the decrease in the harvest in the main productive regions of the North, such as Veneto (-10%) and Piedmont (-17%), but also by heavily lowered estimates in other Italian macro-areas, such as Tuscany (- 30%), Puglia (-30%), Abruzzo (-60%) and Sicily (-45%).

Price Trends The price trends of wine grapes have been heterogeneous in Italy. The Central and Southern regions recorded a significant increase in the value of grapes used for the production of DOC and IGT wines, while Northern Italy maintained stable prices, partly thanks to production remaining at 2022 levels.

  • In Veneto, grape prices for Amarone-Recioto DOC and Lugana DOC fell by -2% compared to the previous year.
  • In Prosecco DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene there was an 11% drop.
  • However, great Tuscan reds such as Brunello di Montalcino DOCG have seen a 15% increase in grape prices, along with a modest increase for Chianti Classico DOCG (6% year-on-year).

Wine Labels Meanwhile, the European Commission has sought to address the controversy over new wine labels, caused by the decision to amend the text of the Regulation which would have come into force after 8 December. The controversy emerged when Brussels decided that bottles labeled before December 8 can be put on the market even without the QR code decided a week ago.

Wine producers protested, saying the QR code associated with the letter "i" could hide mandatory and misleading information for consumers. The situation has generated tensions between producers and the European Commission, with the European Winery Committee raising doubts about the consistency of EU decisions.

Italy's Agriculture Minister, Francesco Lollobrigida, has announced plans to cut costs for wineries, especially small ones, by offering support through national laboratories to ensure the necessary data is included in the QR code. However, millions of newly printed labels are expected to go to waste due to these regulatory changes.

In summary, the wine market in Italy is experiencing a period of uncertainty due to a drastic reduction in production and controversies over new labels, which is affecting prices and producers' strategies in the country. This situation is expected to continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.