The latest figures released by Italian statistics bureau Istat on Tuesday showed that Italian agricultural production overall fell by 1.3 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Wine production was hit particularly hard, falling by 12 percent to reverse much of the 14.3 percent increase recorded in 2018
The drop in production “was mainly caused by unfavorable weather factors,” the Istat study's authors wrote.
Floods, storms, heatwaves and other unusual and extreme weather events hit the whole country throughout 2019, damaging crops and causing havoc for farmers.
A wine bottle floats in Venice's flooded St Mark's Square in November 2019. Photo: AFP
Agricultural group Coldiretti said the decrease amounted to a loss of “14 billion euros in Italy alone,” Italian media reported.
Olive oil, however, recorded a 32 percent increase in production – meaning the sector was returning to normal after suffering a difficult year in 2018.
And Italy's beekeepers complained in 2019 of “the worst honey harvest ever”, which they also said was due to unusual and extreme weather.
Jobs are thought to be at risk in the wine sector, and across in Italian agriculture in general, if the downward trend continues.
The Italian wine business is also bracing for the potential impact of Brexit, as well as the negative effects of the 100 percent tariffs on wine being threatened by the US, which is Italy's biggest wine export market.
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP