ROME — Bordeaux or Borolo? Burgundy or Chianti? Yes, please! Though some have distinct preferences, most wine lovers around the world wish nothing but success to French and Italian winemakers alike.
Still, the two European nations have something of an ongoing rivalry, both about the quality and quantity of the wines they put on the market. Well this year, as Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports, Italy has surpassed France to become the world's largest wine producer.
The European Union (EU) report states that Italian vineyards produced 48.8 million hectoliters of wine, ahead of France and Spain, with Portugal and Germany further behind. Favorable weather conditions in 2015 aided the Italian wine industry, increasing the grape harvest by 13%. French business daily Les Echos noted that French production was down 1% because of unusually high temperatures in wine-growing regions in France.
This is not the first accolade the country's prized industry has received this year. La Repubblica writes that earlier this year, Cantine Ferrari, a leading Italian producer of sparkling wine, won the "Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year" award, beating out the best of Champagne.
Rome's Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina welcomed the report and pledged to continue supporting the wine industry, calling Italy "the homeland of wine." The export industry is worth more than 5 billion euros annually to the Italian economy.
Italy's return to the #1 spot over its transalpine wine-producing rivals was made sweeter by the fact the report was announced in France, which had been the world's top producer in recent years.