Sicilia and Veneto are located in the northern and southern corners of Italy, and although they are both important wine regions in Italy, they have very different climates, terroirs and grape varieties.
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According to the harvest forecast report jointly released by Assoenologi, ISMEA and UIV, the Veneto Region is expected to produce 1% more wine in the 2020 vintage than in 2019, with good quality, and will remain the largest Italian wine producing region in 2020. The Sicilian Region is expected to see a 15% drop in wine production this year, but continues the trend of high quality to look forward to in 2019.
Veneto: Production continues to top 20 regions
According to the data reported, the 2020 vintage of the Veneto Region will have a slight increase of 1% compared to 2019, with more than 1.1 billion liters of wine production and excellent quality. In general, the sugar content, acidity and health of the grapes in the Veneto region this year are similar to last year"s levels. In addition, a number of new vineyards have been reclaimed in the Veneto region this year compared to last year, which may explain the slight increase in production across the region.
The weather in the Veneto region was generally ideal over the past year, with good grape growing conditions and no serious diseases. This year, the grape growing cycle started a little earlier than in 2019, with good weather conditions from March to June, and temperatures in the region from June to July were in line with the average summer temperatures of previous years. Towards the end of July, temperatures began to rise. During the summer, some areas in the central-eastern part of the Veneto were hit by extreme weather, including hail, but fortunately most of the areas did not suffer significant damage. The most affected by extreme weather was the area around Verona, where a violent hailstorm hit parts of the region on August 23, with some negative effects on places such as Valpolicella. However, in general, the weather in the Veneto region is relatively benign for 2020.
This year, the Veneto region is expected to see a decrease in production of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay grapes and a similar yield of Glera grapes to the average. At the end of August, Vicenza and Padova were the first to start harvesting Glera grapes for Prosecco sparkling wines, while in the second and third weeks of September, harvesting began in the plains of eastern Veneto, and in the hills, in the third and fourth weeks of September.
The early ripening varieties in the Veneto region, such as Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, ripen in turn in the second half of August. The later-ripening white varieties such as Garganega, Cortese and Trebbiano were harvested from the second week of September, while the red varieties were generally harvested later. Compared to last year, there are more late-ripening red grape varieties planted in the Veneto region this year.
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Sicily: 15% yield reduction Harvesting almost complete
This year, Sicilian wine production will be 15% lower than last year, one of the largest reductions of any Italian region and the same as that of Tuscany. While production is being controlled, the quality of Sicilian wines is expected to be excellent this year, with the mid-range and high-end reds having a strikingly good performance.
In general, the winter and spring of 2020 were less than ideal for the Sicilian region, with dry weather, while the summer was more moderate, with no extreme heat events. From the end of March, the low temperatures lasted for about 15 days and the grapes budded at a similar level to the average of previous years. The lower temperatures not only regulated the grape growth cycle, but also played a role in disease control. This year, the flowering period in Sicily was generally delayed by about 8 days compared to previous years, and some of the grapes had irregular fruit set and rotten grains.
The months of June and July were characterized by low rainfall, sunny weather and high temperatures, while at the end of July, the North Atlantic Gyre began to drop in temperature and the rainfall picked up, replenishing the vineyard soils with water reserves. The grapes are of excellent quality and the temperature has brought out the fragrance of the grapes.
The grape harvest in the Sicilian region starts at the end of July, with the first varieties to be harvested being Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. By the end of October and the beginning of November, the local red grape varieties will be harvested in the volcanic region of Etna in northeastern Sicily. By then, the grape harvest in Sicily will be complete for this year.