(AGI) Rome, Aug 12 - Italy's wine production from this year's harvest is expected to be at least five percent higher than in 2015, when it totalled 47.5 million hectolitres. However, production varied across the peninsula due to bizarre weather conditions, with a 15 percent increase predicted in the Apulia Region and a likely drop of 10 percent in Lombardy, a scenario accurately described by Coldiretti (the Italian National Association of Farmers). The Association pointed out that this year's harvest began almost a week late compared to 2015, when very high temperatures and long dry stretches concurred to make that harvest the earliest in a decade. The first grapes to be picked this year were from the Faccoli farm in Cava a Coccaglio, near Brescia, in the Franciacorta territory, Coldiretti reported. They were Chardonnay grapes, used to make Italian spumante wine, traditionally the first to be gathered. All in all the end-result will largely depend on the weather in August and September, Coldiretti warned, but recent temperature swings, especially those on the lowest mark, increase the chances of a particularly good year after a mild winter and early germination. Spring temperatures were frequently below average, and late frost and humid weather waves hitting the country, especially the north-east, challenged winegrowers working to keep grapes healthy. Harvest in Italy kicks off with pinot and chardonnay grapes and will continue in September and October with the indigenous large red grapes of the Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and Nebbiolo variety. Aglianico, Nebbiolo, and Nerello grapes will be harvested as late as November. Coldiretti's estimates are a work in progress since much depends on the weather in the last few weeks before a harvest. In terms of quantity, Italy will likely top the list once again and outcompete France, where the first estimates of the year indicate a slight drop in production compared to 2015 due to late frost and fungal diseases. If no adverse weather conditions occur, Italy is expected to set aside over 40 percent of its wine production for Italy's 332 DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) wines and 73 DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wines, while 30 percent will go to the 118 IGT (Typical Geographic Indication) wines recognised in Italy. The remaining 30 percent will be used for table wines. (AGI). .