The Italian Vineyard
THE ITALIAN VINEYARD - ENOTRIA TELLUS
1. EVOLUTION AND TRANSFORMATION
This evolution, this change, stimulated by urbanization linked to the economic miracle of industrialization and by EAGF incentives (European Agricultural Guarantee Fund), has transformed viticulture from mixed-cropping to specialized, the latter being suitable for mechanization. (table 4.15 The historical evolution of the Italian vineyard; fig. 4.15 Evolution of oenology and vineyard surface per area).
The historical record for wine production reached at the end of this period, was 86,545,000 hl in 1980.
The change in Italian lifestyle in the 1980s led to an unstoppable decline in wine consumption; estimated at around 110 litres per capita in the 1960s and 1970s, it has fallen to the current 45-40 litres. This nosedive in consumption has caused production surpluses and massive intervention to support the market, also with distillation (scandalous compulsory distillation with the transfer of obligation between regions), culminating in 1984 with 25,108,800 hl of wine transformed into alcohol (fig. 4.16 Distilled wine in Italy).
This crisis, exacerbated by the methanol (methyl alcohol) scandal, - partly caused by compulsory distillation, - has led to a loss in profitability of the vine growing and winemaking sector. The considerable reductions in surface area and the stimulus to redevelop products firm up vindicating the territorial values of DOs and PGIs. However, other wineries have pursued the success of high-quality wines (Super Tuscans).