Italy has done it again.
Despite all of the challenges that the pandemic presented, Italy has managed to come out on top as the country that produces the most wine every year. And of course, a country that produces the most wine does do because its wines are extremely popular with the buying public.
For several years now, Italy has stood at the top of the pile in this area of winemaking.
It is simply considered the best in the world by the people who really matter…
After all, it is the customers of wine companies who truly determine what are great wines. And those countries that sell the most wine do so because customers have collectively decided that their wines are the best!
The stats tell us just how much the world loves Italian wine.
In 2020, Italy produced 49.1 million hectolitres of wine.
Its nearest competitor, France, produced 46.6, with Spain coming in third at 40.7.
There is a reason why these three European countries are considered the main powerhouses of the wine industry. The fourth-placed producer, The United States, “only” managed 22.8 million hectolitres, despite being the largest of the four countries on the list.
Wine is part of the Mediterranean and European culture. And the stats show us that Italy is the leading producer today.
But why is that?
What makes Italian wine so special that the Italian industry has to produce so much just to keep up with demand?
We can think of a few reasons.
Reason #1 – Sheer Variety
We’ve talked about this plenty of times before in the pages of the Xtrawine blog, so we won’t delve too deeply into it here.
There is simply no country that matches Italy when it comes to the sheer variety of wines it offers. There are dozens of regions that each produce dozens of different wines, each of which has its own unique flavours and ideas. Even specific villages and towns have their own winemaking traditions, which influence their creations beyond the more general regional rules and ideas.
The simple fact is that any wine buyer is sure to find something that they like in the myriad of wines produced by Italy every year.
And that means that people are always willing to buy more and experiment with different varieties. After all, you never know when you’ll discover your next favourite wine.
Let’s put it like this…
There are over 2,000 grape varieties in Italy.
That alone should tell you how diverse the country is when it comes to its wine production.
Reason #2 – The Long History
Go to any winemaker’s website, no matter how new to the industry that producer may be, and you will inevitably find some information about the company’s history. For new companies, this history often focuses on the land that they use and anything else that allows them to establish themselves as players in the industry.
Older producers are able to draw in familial ties and decades, or even centuries, of producing wine.
This shows us one thing:
History is a crucial part of the wine industry.
Having a history with wine lends a producer instant credibility that they can use to sell more of their product.
And frankly, there are few countries that have as deep a history with wine as Italy.
Some of Italy’s leading producers have been creating wines for centuries. Wine has been one of Italy’s most important exports for just as long. And if we go back to the time before Italy was truly Italy, we can see evidence that wine was made in the country over 4,000 years ago.
Italy is the land of wine.
And that history plays into the country’s success as a wine-producing nation. That history lends Italy’s wine industry credibility. People buy Italian wines because they know they are buying from a nation that is absolutely devoted to the wines that it produces.
Reason #3 – The High Quality Levels
With such a deep history comes the need to maintain quality.
It would have been far too easy for Italy to allow producers to create their wines with no checks and balances in place. While this may have allowed for some interesting experimentation, it would also have created opportunities for producers to take shortcuts and create wines that are not of the quality expected from Italy.
But that isn’t what happens.
The nation of Italy has always rightfully paid very close attention to the quality of its wines.
The establishment of the DOC in the 1960s demonstrates this. The DOC puts specific rules in place for the production of hundreds of Italy’s most famous wines, ensuring all producers meet a set of standards related to production before their wines are ever placed on sale.
This devotion to quality ensures that far fewer poor-quality Italian wines slip through the net, ensuring that customers almost always have a great experience. And these great experiences lead to more purchases of Italian wine, which feeds into the perception that Italy is the best wine-producing nation.
The Final Word
There are many more reasons why Italy is seen to be the best wine-producing nation.
The rise of Prosecco should not be underestimated, as this sparkling Italian wine has led to many consumers experimenting with other Italian wines. We also should not underestimate the importance of Italian food in modern culture. So many places sell Italian food outside of Italy, and we all know how important pairing food with the correct wine is to Italians.
The desire to pair the right wines with the right foods has also played a part in Italy’s ascent as a wine-producing powerhouse.
However, it is the three reasons highlighted here that we believe are most important when it comes to explaining Italy’s popularity when it comes to wine. The simple fact is that Italian producers pour their hearts and souls into creating wines that are of an exceptional standard, all so that people like you can get a true taste of what it means to be Italian.
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