Italian Premier Enrico Letta says he will follow China's decision to launch a trade investigation into European wine "with maximum attention" given the importance of the sector for the country's economy.

China opened an anti-dumping probe into European wine this week after the European Union hit Chinese exporters of solar panels with anti-dumping duties.

Italy last year exported 31 million liters (8.19 million gallons) of wine to China with a value of 89 million euros ($117 million). The Federvini winemakers federation estimates Italy's wine sector generates 13.2 billion euros a year, just under 1 percent of GDP.

Italy's Coldiretti farm lobby says China has become the fifth world market for wine, consuming 1.8 billion liters a year.