Italian wine is produced in every region of Italy, home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, with an area of 702,000 hectares under vineyard cultivation, and contributing a 2013–2017 annual average of 48.3 million hl of wine. In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 % of global production, ahead of France (17 %) and Spain (15 %). Italian wine is both exported around the world and popular domestically among Italians, who consume an average of 42 litres per capita, ranking fifth in world wine consumption.
Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in Italy before the Romans planted their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. The Romans greatly increased Italy’s area under vine using efficient viticultural and winemaking methods, and pioneered large-scale production and storage techniques such as barrel-making and bottling.
Italy’s twenty wine regions correspond to the twenty administrative regions of the country. Understanding the differences between these regions is very helpful in understanding the different types of Italian wine. Wine in Italy tends to reflect the local cuisine. Regional cuisine also influences the wine. The 73 DOCG wines are located in 15 different regions but most of them are concentrated in Piedmont, Lombardia, Veneto and Tuscany.
Other notable wines that have gained attention in recent years in the international markets and among specialists are: Amarone della Valpolicella, Prosecco di Conegliano- Valdobbiadene, Taurasi from Campania, Franciacorta sparkling wines from Lombardy; evergreen wines are Chianti and Soave, while new wines from the Centre and South of Italy are quickly gaining recognition: Verdicchio, Sagrantino, Primitivo, Nero D’Avola among others. The Friuli-Venezia Giulia is world-famous for the quality of her white wines, like Pinot Grigio. Special sweet wines like Passitos and Moscatos, made in different regions, are also famous since old time.
Many international wine guides and wine publications rate the most popular Italian wines. Among the Italian publications, Gambero Rosso is probably the most influential. In particular, the wines that are annually given the highest rating of “three glasses” (Tre Bicchieri) attract much attention.