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Italian grape prices collapse

Published:  23 July, 2008

Perhaps the most unifying factor in the Italian wine scene at present is the fall in grape prices, which seems to be happening from north to south and east to west.

Compared with 2004, itself a year of falling prices, grape values this year, with the vintage scarcely over, have fallen by up to 50%. The so-called wine crisis, with cellars so full they can scarcely accommodate the new harvest, is turning into a veritable emergency.

In Piedmont, Nebbiolo/Barolo prices are down a modest 10% (around e135 from upwards of e150 last year), but that could worsen with the questionable quality of the rain-soaked vintage. Barbera is harder hit, prices averaging around e45.

In Tuscany, Sangiovese/Brunello prices are down to between e100 and e120, perhaps up to e180 for top quality, while last year the highest prices hit e240.

Sangiovese/Chianti prices are down to around e50 from a 2004 maximum of around e90. In Abruzzo, Montepulciano is fetching a mere e35 maximum, while Puglia's Primitivo is peaking at e40. Sicily's Nero d'Avola is going at between e25 and e40.