Following reports of an earlier than normal grape harvest in France, it has been reported that the Italian wine harvest has begun two weeks ahead of schedule.

Experts are predicting a fine vintage though not necessarily a large one in terms of volume. In fact, it could be as much as 10% lower than normal, some have predicted.

One reason for the harvest beginning earlier is that winegrowers were worried that the fine weather might break with torrential rainstorms. This is what happened last year when the rainstorms caused a huge amount of damage and reduced the harvest to 42.4m hectolitres, the lowest total for some 10 years.

It has also been reported by Agence-France-Presse that harvesting began in southwestern Germany on Monday, three weeks earlier than usual because of the very hot weather.