Italian wine harvest begins, productive year forecast

ROME — The Italian wine grape harvest season has started with Pinot and Chardonnay grapes in the northern Lombardy's Franciacorta region, with experts anticipating a better year after an especially weak 2017.

The Coldiretti agricultural lobby said Friday that it's expecting a 15 percent increase in wine production this season to 4.6 billion liters (1.2 billion gallons), from 4 billion liters (over 1 billion gallons) last year.

The higher production this year is due to a greater abundance of rain in key regions, while last year heat and drought combined for one of the lowest post-war yields.

Coldiretti forecast a 5.9 percent increase in wine exports this year. In 2017, export revenues reached 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion).

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