We have spoken about Italy’s ascent to the top of the pile when it comes to producing wine in previous articles and there are a number of news stories floating around the internet about the fact that the country has taken the hour of top wine producer in the world away from France.
While Italy’s fairly newfound status is no longer cutting edge news, there are likely many people who still don’t understand the many reasons as to why the country has been able to wrestle the top spot away from France, in addition to building its lead over the many other wine producing nations of the world.
Here we will attempt to examine some of the key factors that have played a role, some large and others smaller, in Italy’s triumphant ascent.
While we are by no means bemoaning the quality of wines produced in other countries – many of them are represented on our very own website for starters – the fact remains that there has been a steady increase in the quality of wines being produced in Italy over the course of the last few years.
There are many potential reasons for this. New producers are bringing innovative ideas to the table all of the time and the DOC is doing as good a job as it ever has done of regulating the Italian wine industry and ensuring that the wines you consume are of the appropriate quality.
Others may point towards recent shifts in farming methods, with many Italian producers now adopting organic and biodynamic methods that protect their land while also infusing the wines they produce with newer qualities that may not have been identifiable in years gone by.
Whatever the reason, you can rest assured that quality is always to be found in Italy’s wine industry.
Expansion Into New Territories
This ever-improving quality has been complemented by the industries efforts to expand into countries where wine – Italian or not – has not previously been consumed in large quantities.
Chief amongst these is China. With a population that numbers more than one billion people, China represents the single biggest growth marker for the wine industry in the world. Furthermore, the Chinese are also becoming increasingly receptive to new types of wine. After the lid was lifted and prosperous Chinese people began buying red wine because the colour carries a number of positive connotations in their culture, more people are beginning to learn more about wine in general, which has led to many distributors making greater inroads into the country.
The Italian wine industry was actually a little slower on the uptake than others, particularly the French, however, there is now a concerted effort to expand into China and other new territories taking place, which has resulted in the industry exporting more wine than it has at any other point in its history.
Outside of China, there are also a number of other new markets and emerging territories, with many in the industry now looking towards other Asian countries, such as India and Japan, as possible new areas where they can gain more exposure for their products.
These continued efforts towards expansion have helped greatly in Italy earning the accolade of top wine producer in the world and the really positive news is that there is still plenty of room for improvement in these areas, which means the industry is likely to continue growing.
As should be obvious to those who have learned about wine production methods in these very articles, the weather plays an enormous part in the quality and amount of the grapes produced by any given territory.
In recent years, Italy has had the upper-hand in this respect, as the fates have deemed fit to bless the country with favourable conditions that allow it to produce more grapes at higher quality than its competitors, most notably France.
The article we linked to above goes into more detail about this, but the crux of the change is that Italy, particularly the northern regions, was able to grow more grapes throughout 2015, which lead to an increase in wine production. Better yet, with demand increasing for new territories, as detailed previously, this increase in production is being met by people who want to purchase Italian wine, many of whom may never have sampled its delights before. With luck, such people will have developed loyalty to their favoured producers during this time period, which would make this advantageous weather extremely well-timed at a point where the industry is experiencing expansion unlike anything that has been seen since the dawn of the Internet age.
However, the main reason why the Italian wine industry is able to maintain, and indeed expand, its popularity is because of the deep and rich history that it has. Each producer has a story to tell or a tale to weave, many of which are capable of grabbing the attention of potential consumers to the point where they want to try Italian wines due to the level of passion that is put into their production by the many men and women who work in the industry throughout the country.
Coming back to the rise of the Internet, these stories can now be told like never before, with consumers being offered insight that they may not have been able to find prior to the Internet.
Not only does this mean they can learn more about the producers who create the wines they enjoy, thus fostering brand loyalty that has likely seen a number of retained customers recommending the Italian wines they try to their friends, but it also means that it is easier than ever before to find objective reviews of the wines produced in the country.
This information and history is all brought together in a singular package that allows consumers to make purchasing decisions blessed with more at their disposal than ever before. Truly, the passion that Italy has held for the wines it produces for so long can now be demonstrated on a grander stage than ever before.