After a forgettable 2014 harvest in many regions of Italy, the 2015 vintage is a welcome arrival. Rain and cool weather at inopportune times during the 2014 growing season shaved almost 20% off the quantity that was produced in 2013’s bumper crop. Now, with fine summer and fall weather throughout the country, it appears that 2015 will be just a bit above average in volume and also above average in quality. As a result, Italy has regained the title of world’s largest wine-producing country, a position it has routinely held.
For 2015, the International Office of Vine and Wine (OIV) has estimated Italy’s harvest at 48.9 million hectoliters (1.3 billion gallons), the equivalent of 543 million cases. This represents 17.7% of the world’s combined total of 276 million hectoliters. (See the full table of production figures here.)
Italy’s closest competitors, France and Spain, were respectively second (47.4 mhl) and third (36.6 mhl) in total production—despite the fact that France produced more in 2015 than it did the year before when it was number one. The United States remained comfortably in fourth place with a volume of 22.1 million hectoliters (585 million gallons or 246 million cases).
The other members of the top ten were Argentina, Chile, Australia, South Africa, China, and Germany. Most of the top ten exceeded their five-year average (2010–2014) in 2015, with only Argentina and China significantly below average. Argentina was down more than 10% from 2014, while Chile—which has fluctuated considerably from year to year—was up 23% over the previous year. China, which ranked as high as fifth worldwide in wine production in 2012, has been stable at its current level since 2013 as it goes through a process of quality improvement in the vineyards with foreign investment and expertise.
The OIV will report more accurate figures for production, as well as statistics on world wine consumption and export volumes, in spring 2016.