It’s a harvest alarm, government in the field against downy mildew but that’s not enough

Alarm among the vineyards, grape harvest losses from 20 to 50% up to 60%

Downy mildew, the killer of grapes, is attacking the Italian vineyard and the government is sending a signal to winemakers near the harvest, to save what can be saved by allocating one million euros. The figure allows “the activation of the compensatory interventions of the National Solidarity Fund in favor of wine-growing companies which, due to the particularly humid seasonal trend of spring 2023, suffered damage to grape production due to attacks of downy mildew” reports the press release from the Council of Ministers of 7 August which illustrates the measure prepared in the Assets and Investments decree.

The world of wine welcomes this intervention even if it is believed by many that it is a first step, but substantial resources would be needed to repair the damage suffered, we are talking about losses from 50% up to 60% for wine grapes, the accounts will be made at the end of the harvest which, among other things, has already begun in some areas of Sicily and Lombardy.

“We welcome the opening to the possibility of financing plant diseases such as Peronospora through the National Solidarity Fund, a critical issue that cannot be prevented through insurance” says the general secretary of Unione Italiana Vini, Paolo Castelletti, commenting with the Adnkronos the measure approved by the CDM. “We await clarifications from the government regarding the extent of the support and the methods of disbursement, taking into consideration in the first place the episodes of compromising loss of the crop”. And serious losses are estimated on the horizon based on a recent survey by the grape harvest Observatory of Assoenologi, Ismea, and the Italian Wine Union (Uiv). The pathogenic phenomenon is particularly affecting the areas of the Adriatic coast, starting from Abruzzo and Molise, with losses of up to 40%, but also many areas of the Marche, Basilicata and Puglia for which drops are expected in the order of 25-30 %.

For Cia it is a ‘small amount’ to find the resources necessary to compensate the companies

The situation is also difficult in Umbria, Lazio and Sicily and, in part, in Tuscany. In general, great suffering for the organic vineyard – which represents almost 20% of the Italian rows – which is largely compromised in various areas. According to the president of Assoenologi Riccardo Cotarella, a drop in production is announced with peaks of 40 – 50%, in some cases even 60%”.

“The government is giving a first, but small, response to the viticultural sector, wine grapes and table grapes, affected by downy mildew. In fact, the allocation of 1 million euros is a negligible amount to deal with, from North to South Italy, a problem which, according to the climate instability and the importance of the sector at a global level, is already an emergency” comments Cia-Agricoltori Italiani. “The million euros allocated by the Asset decree will go exclusively to Ismea to support the damaged agricultural businesses with an ‘interest account’ contribution – specifies CIA – against bank loans of up to sixty months, supported by them to carry out the activity”.

Also for the CIA, losses of between 30 and 40% are estimated for the next harvest and the president Cristiano Fini urges: “after the summer break and with the hope that the rain and heat will not continue to make us crazy, we will have to go back to work immediately to find the resources necessary to compensate the companies”. Even Confagricoltura is sounding the alarm, in almost all of Italy the harvest will see a decrease of 20 to 50%.