Sicily: data on 2018 harvest presented

Successful closure for the 16thedition of Sicilia en Primeur: the satisfaction of Assovini Sicilia 

The 16thedition of Sicilia en Primeur – held in Siracusa from May 6thto 10th– was the perfect opportunity to present data and trends of the 2018 harvest. During the opening press conference taking place on May 9thin Ortigia, the oenologist and Uva Sapiens founder and consultant Mattia Filippi told the specialized press from around the world that the vintage that has just finished will be remembered for its balancein all respects: weather and climate, production and quality. Nationally, the harvest resulted in a good production – a constant trend since 2015. Sicily is in line with this trend, even though 2018 is characterized by less extreme productions. The Island’s wine vintage 2018 – even if diametrically opposed to 2017 – remained substantially constant, in line with the average trend of the last years. In this respect, over the last 6 years analysed, Sicily remains one of the most balanced Italian regions, together with Piedmont and Tuscany in reference to the historical averages. Such a balance also results in a limited production per hectare (for the three regions), that is fundamental for quality, ranging between 6.5 and 8.5 t/ha, corresponding to 1/3 as compared to other Italian regions. As to weather and climate, at the European level 2018 was the year with the highest ever-registered temperature in over a century. The position of Sicily, at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, represents a huge and unique advantage compared to other European regions: no thermic excesses were registered in 2018 and the region was not afflicted by the strong weather anomalies involving other European regions.

As to quality, grapes benefited from summer rain in terms of water balance for the types of soil and the agronomic cultivations typical of Sicily. Furthermore, the harvest times were prolonged, thus ensuring a slower maturation and a more limited sugar accumulation. The cool temperatures registered during the harvest helped to preserve aromas and acidity in white grape varieties.                              

Overall, the analysis confirms the importance of the Sicilian wine industry that, according to the data disclosed by UniCredit, is worth 550 million. In particular, the Doc Sicilia(COD Sicily) wines are growing: for 2019, they are expected to exceed 100 million bottles. The trend of the wine sales value for 2018 is very positive and increased by 6%. In this context, the Doc Sicilia increased its sales by 15.5%. The analysis showed that the Consorzio Doc Sicilia wines feature a high potential for growth – a goal that can be achieved by exploiting the distribution channels that are still available.  

Again this year, Sicilia en Primeur was a valuable opportunity to introduce to the nearly 100 journalists from all over the world some examples of productions of excellence, visiting the main tourist attractions, discovering the gastronomic traditions and admiring the Unesco sites spread throughout the Island. Many sites, belonging to the Worl Heritage List, are located in various Sicilian provinces: architectural but also food and intangible heritages, because Sicily today is not only the guardian of the past, but also of the local cultivations – a flywheel for the economies of the whole Island. During this event, the raw materials typical of the region were celebrated and enhanced in the dish presented during the gala dinner held on May 9that Castello Maniace in Ortigia.                    Le Soste di Ulisse, the partner of Assovini Sicilia for this initiative, took care of the dinnercooked by 7 chefs, for a total of 8 Michelin stars. 

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