Postcards from Italy

Italy’s Bottle of Truth

Winemaking, like all agricultural processes, has a long chain of “moments of truth”. The most satisfying for the imbibing consumer is, of course, the final moment, when corks are popped and the finished product carefully poured and sipped.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

But vintners know that this is just one of many important links in the chain. Before the pouring comes the bottling; before the bottling, the aging; before the aging, the fermentation; before the fermentation, the harvest.

And before the harvest, the weather.

2014 has been a particularly tough year for Italy, weather-wise. The summer was anything but Mediterranean – one of the wettest in half a century, and with abnormally low temperatures. Indeed, Rome seemed more like London and beach resorts were deserted for much of the high season.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Where the weather has hit hardest has been in agriculture, especially Italy’s vast acreage of vineyards from the northern Dolomites to the southern tip of Sicily. As recently reported in the press, the Bel Paese is looking at a drop of 15% in wine production this year, the worst since 1950 and so dramatic that the country risks falling behind arch-rival France (gasp!) in annual output.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

That said, the moment of truth chain hasn’t yet reached its final link. The autumn is forecasted to be warm and sunny, which may improve the harvest, and perhaps the situation will be less dire than once feared for the over 1.25 million Italians who are employed in some way by the wine industry.

For the rest of us, who show up at the tail end to reap the rewards of their hard work, it’s a reminder to savor just a bit more our bottles over the next year. Like all chains, the long one leading up to this moment of truth is bound to break every now and then.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore