The Italian Almanac



Production of Italian spumante and prosecco will overtake French champagne for the first time ever this year, farmers` union Coldiretti announced. Italian vineyards are expected to yield 300 million bottles of bubbly this year against 260 million bottles of champagne. According to Coldiretti, champagne houses have been scaling back production for the past four years in the wake of steadily falling sales.

This year, champagne makers are expected to slash production by 44%. The drop in French champagne sales was for the most part for the `budget` brand names, which are the ones that feel the competition the most from Italian and Spanish sparkling wines. Coldiretti said that champagne exports fell by 41% in the first half of 2009 while spumante exports rose by 15%. In 2008, for the first time ever, Italy exported more spumante and prosecco than it consumed.