According to Italian Wine Union (UIV) and the agricultural services agency Ismea, weather will remain a major variable, but the harvest looks goods and will no doubt be better that 2002 and 2003, which were the worst years in decades because of drought .
Wine growers had been concerned after sparse rainfall in June, but rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures in the first half of July, together with long and rainy winter, should produce healthy grapes for September .
According to an Ismea-UIV report, the situation is not uniform throughout the country. In Piedmont, for example, late spring cold reduced the Nebbiolo grape crop by some 10% .
In neighboring Lombardy, sufficient water supply permitted vines to withstand the June heat wave and the harvest will be good, even if just below the volume of last year .
Volume will also be off in Veneto and Friuli, but this will be due more to the abundance of last year's crop, the report said .
Production in central Italy is expected to be closer to that of last year in the Marche and Tuscany, while volume will be down in Lazio because of damaging hail storms last month .
An increase in production is forecast for the southern regions of Molise, Puglia and Sicily, while volume should be the same as 2004 in Sardinia .
Wine experts agree that it is still to early to make any plausible predictions on the quality of the 2005 harvest. However, there is guarded optimism on the part of some producers who recalled that climate conditions this year are similar to those of 2001, one of the great vintages in recent memory .