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Wine is driving force for Italian economy | Updated: 2014-04-10 09:16

Wine is a driving force for the Italian economy, figures released during the 48th Vinitaly, the annual exhibition dedicated to wine and spirits running on 6-9 April in the northern city of Verona, have shown.

Overall, the wine sector generates annual turnover of 12 billion euros (16 billion U.S. dollars) through about 450,000 wine-making and agricultural companies in Italy, according to Vinitaly's estimates.

With more than 4,100 exhibitors over a net area of 100,000 square meters, Vinitaly is regarded as a landmark for business and cultural promotion on global markets.

Organizers said that wine has become the spearhead for Italian food exports. Data of national statistics institute Istat processed by Vinitaly showed that in 2013 for the first time sales broke through the 5 billion euros (6.8 billion U.S. dollars) barrier, posting 7.3 percent growth over 2012.

Denis Pantini, Area Director for Agriculture and Food Industry of Bologna-based think tank Nomisma, said 2013 was "a confirmation that wine export is a driving force for Italy. Exports registered record-high levels, while the domestic wine consumption was continuing to fall back."

Some 10 years ago, Italy was exporting abroad around 15 million hectoliters of wine on an annual production of 45 million hectoliters, while currently the ratio was almost one to one on an annual production of 47 million hectoliters, Pantini explained to Xinhua.

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