European "Lucifer" heatwave in Italy threatens supply of chianti and prosecco

 
Alys Key
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Prosecco and other wines are at risk due to drought (Source: Getty)

Supply of bubbly to the UK could dry up as it emerged that some European winemakers are facing a poor crop this year in the face of unusually hot weather.

The Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti has said that drought in Chianti and other popular wine regions meant volumes had fallen by up to 30 per cent.

Read more: Mon Dieu! French wine output may fall to record lows thanks to spring frost

A mild winter has also affected wine growers, prompting early vine shoots to grow. Sicily started the harvest three weeks early this year.

Any disruption in the Italian wine supply chain could be felt acutely by British drinks retailers. Wine exports from Italy are popular with UK consumers, especially prosecco which has grown by 72 per cent in the past five years.

The heatwave known as "Lucifer" could also affect other wine-producing countries like Spain and France.

Read more: Roll your barrels out: Revenues jump for fine wine merchant BI

Bad news for wine-loving Brits, but good news for Italy which is set to keep its credentials as the world's biggest wine producer.

Last year, Italy produced about 1.5 billion gallons of wine, and sales were over $12bn (£9.3bn).

But the effect of freak weather has yet to be fully realised. Coldiretti said that the quality of output will depend on conditions during August and September, and hopes are still high for a good vintage.

Read more: English wine bubbles up as turnover hits a record £132m

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