Allegrini 2024

2022, a positive year for Italian wine: signals from Consortiums, from Franciacorta to Collio

Despite the crisis, signs of optimism. The trend of white and sparkling wines growing faster (than reds) is confirmed

Italian wine appears to have emerged unscathed from the difficult economic situation of 2022, despite inflation, increased raw material costs, and the war in Ukraine: this is confirmed by many important Italian Consortiums - from Franciacorta to Etna, from Collio to Alta Langa, from the Doc delle Venezie to the Maremma Toscana, to Garda - which trace the balance of the year that has just ended and confirm the trend, now widespread worldwide, which sees white and sparkling wines clearly rising in consumer tastes compared to red wines, with significant results in terms of sales and turnover, thanks to their lower alcohol content and ease of drinking, as well as greater versatility in combinations and a more convenient quality/price ratio.
Starting with Franciacorta, one of the most prestigious Italian wine regions, synonymous with high-level bubbles, 2022 ends with a decidedly positive sign: over 20 million bottles sold, a figure that exceeds 2019 and remains consistent with 2021. Volume breakeven is accompanied by a decidedly more positive trend in turnover, which showed higher growth rates in all months of the year, demonstrating that the average selling price (and thus the attributed by the market) is constantly increasing (+5.7%). Globally, the average price of a bottle on the shelf (without distinction of type) was 21.50 euros at the end of 2021, rising to 23 euros in 2022. In 2022, the internal Franciacorta market accounted for 88.5% of sales, a slight decrease (-2%) from the previous year. The remaining 11.5% is made up of exports, which instead recorded a growth rate of 11.3%. Switzerland maintained its lead among the various buyer countries, accounting for 20.3% of the total. Followed by Japan (13.7%), the United States (12.1%), Germany, and Belgium (10.9% and 12% respectively). Horeca’s growth among sales channels is being balanced by a drop in sales on the large-scale distribution channel, a phenomenon explained by the gradual return to conviviality away from home following the removal of pandemic-related restrictions. Lombardy is confirmed as the first region (35.9% of sales in Italy), followed by Emilia Romagna (10.5%). For the Franciacorta area, 2023 begins with a program full of activities, including festivals, participation in fairs, award ceremonies, and partnerships in Italy and around the world: “We are coming out of a difficult period, marked by the pandemic - explains Silvano Brescianini, president of the Franciacorta Consortium - data and numbers, however, reward the commitment of the producers and push us to do better and better. The rich calendar of events that we have drawn up for 2023 goes precisely in this direction, aiming at the enhancement and promotion of our territory, this year recognized as the “Capital of Culture”, together with the cities of Brescia and Bergamo”.
At the other end of the boot, there is also optimism in the Etna Doc area: here, if 2021 represented the year of the hoped-for recovery, with data in line with the years preceding the pandemic, 2022 clearly certifies the excellent state of the local wine (5.8 million bottles), with a growth of 28% on 2021. At the top are Etna Rosso and Bianco. “If the excellent data of 2021 could be seen as a normal rebound compared to the previous year, characterized by the pandemic - comments Francesco Cambria, president of the Vini Etna Doc Consortium - thanks above all to the reopening of the Horeca world, those relating to 2022 now certify irrefutably the great and constant growth in demand, both on the national and international market”. In terms of individual types, Etna Rosso, which accounts for slightly more than half of the total bottled, grows by 28.36%, while Etna Bianco, the second most bottled type, grows by 28.08%. Even on a smaller scale, the excellent performances of two types that are increasingly in demand and appreciated by consumers, Etna Bianco Superiore and Etna Rosato, which rose by 45.53%, stand out. Etna Spumante is consistently growing (+5.85%).
Good news also from Collio, an area known throughout the world for the quality of its white wines, which closes 2022 with growth, with a bottled volume higher than 2021 by 9% and higher than 2020 by 26%. Over 6.5 million bottles were bottled between January and November, a significant number given the country's summer water crisis and the energy and raw materials crisis, both of which impacted the wine sector. “The year that is coming to a close with a definitely positive balance - says David Buzzinelli, president of the Consortium Vini Collio - the new board of directors, elected in April, took up the baton by immediately starting to work to achieve new and important milestones. The heritage must also be protected with attention to environmental sustainability and wine tourism”. Indeed, the territory’s collaboration with the Consortium and its members continues in the context of the National Quality System of Integrated Production certification, as well as promotional activities such as “Enjoy Collio Experience”, laboratories that investigate the intriguing connections between the sensory and emotional spheres and wine, a format that will be repeated in 2023 for all tourists visiting the area.
The same optimism can be found in the Alta Langa: 2022 closed with a +40% increase in sales over the previous year, and production is expected to be 3 million bottles since the last harvest. A result that is substantially similar to that of 2021, with the slight decrease caused by the year’s specific climatic conditions mitigated by the introduction of new plants into production. The members also grow: another 18 join the Consortium, bringing the number of members to 134, including manufacturers and winemakers. “Year after year we have grown in terms of sales with double-digit percentages - says Mariacristina Castelletta, president of the Alta Langa Docg Consortium - now a new challenge begins: the next three years will be decisive for the future. The significant opening of the surfaces projects us into a double dimension in 10 years, compared to the current one”. In addition, 2023 will bring a strong sign of confidence in the future of the denomination, which wants to grow and establish itself: there will be a reopening of the vineyard tender, allowing the registration of 220 new hectares in Alta Langa Docg over the next three years, 2023-2025. And among the projects for next year, also a box set of books entitled “Alta Langa - Civiltà della Tavola e Genius Loci”, edited by Luciano Bertello, which contains the essence of 14 restaurants, taverns, and trattorias in the area, and a pilot project aimed at winegrowers to dedicate a portion of land to the planting of symbiotic trees of the white truffle: 150 plants have been planted among the vineyards of the Alta Langa, with another 30 dedicated to the black truffle.
In Veneto, the Consortium Doc Delle Venezie confirms itself as a pillar of the “Pinot Grigio system” of the Northeast, from which 85% of the Pinot Grigio produced in Italy arrives. The economic value also increased by 10% at the end of 2022, continuing a trend that began in 2020. Volumes fall by just under 12% in 2022, but this compares to 2021, the year record for quantity bottled since the denomination’s inception, which bottled 1.84 million hectoliters. However, the final data for 2022 confirms a positive trend for the Doc Delle Venezie, which has managed to ensure a good monthly average of 135,407 hectoliters bottled, in line with the five-year average trend. Overseas partners continue to support the denomination because they believe in its high standards and contribute significantly to its growth: large bottlers and foreign buyers from Germany, the United States, Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, and even France bottled 161,065 hectoliters in the last year, which is the equivalent of more than a month of bottling, citing the main countries of reference. The Consortium has included strengthening promotional activities and, as a result, presence on the national market, which currently absorbs about 5% of total consumption, as one of the main objectives for 2023. “We are increasing our commitment to increasingly retain the domestic market, certain that it can replicate the extraordinary success achieved abroad - comments Albino Armani, president of the Consortium Doc Delle Venezie - we represent the typicality of a style, that of Pinot Grigio Italian, which has conquered consumers from all over the world”.
The Maremma Toscana Doc wine market consolidates in 2022, with 51,000 hectoliters and nearly 7 million bottles, remaining consistent with 2021 and confirming itself as one of the best performing in the region. “Maintaining the levels of 2021, when bottled volume increased by 16%, is certainly a positive figure, according to Francesco Mazzei, president of the Consortium Vini della Maremma Toscana, because it indicates solid growth. Also, given the difficulties in material procurement in the second half of the year, particularly for glass, which may have slowed operations, I believe we can be satisfied with this result”. The main protagonist of this leap forward is still Vermentino, which increased from approximately 33,700 quintals claimed in the 2020 harvest to 37,150 quintals for the 2021 harvest and then to over 43,300 quintals for the 2022 harvest. So much so that Vermentino Doc Maremma Toscana accounts for 34% of all grapes claimed for the denomination in the most recent harvest. In addition to monitoring positioning in various sales channels and target markets via a specific Observatory (in collaboration with Maxidata), the process of amending the Vermentino production specification is expected to be completed in 2023, with the introduction of Vermentino Superiore.
Winning whites are also produced in the Garda Doc region, where 250 vertical producers and cooperative cellars produced 20.5 million bottles in 2022, more than half of which were exported. The United Kingdom is the leading reference market, followed by Germany. The economic value of the grape and wine designation is around 60 million euros. “2022 closed with a +5% on bottled compared to the previous year - highlights Paolo Fiorini, president of the Garda Doc Protection Consortium - a good figure that testifies to a trend of gradual and constant growth, alongside markets in a rather delicate and complex macro-economic context. We’ve been working for a long time to establish a strong link between our wines and the production area: the Garda region has always been viewed as a tourist destination, despite having all of the credentials to be perceived as an area with a high vocation for wine, in our opinion. In this sense, tourism and wine tourism are strategic to our activity”.

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