Allegrini 2024

Between Houston and Miami, Texas and Florida, Italy wine starts again in the U.S. (with Iem)

The “Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour 2024”, back on February 26-28, to re-energize Italian wine in its first world market
Between Houston and Miami, Texas, Florida, Italy wine starts again in the U.S., with Iem

Despite some difficulties in 2023, the United States is by far the leading market for Italian wine. After a record 2022, at €1.86 billion, 8.3% over 2021, in the first 11 months of 2023, imports to the U.S. stopped at €1.6 billion (down 6% over the same period in 2022, Istat data analyzed by WineNews). A negative figure, to be sure, but an improvement on previous months, waiting for the official 12-month balance, and largely due to the large inventories made in the past year by U.S. importers, which now, according to many operators, are beginning to unlock, albeit in a scenario that will most likely see smaller and more frequent orders over time, as opposed to more massive orders diluted over several months as in the past, net of logistics limitations, of course. In any case, the U.S., which is a market made up of as many different markets as there are U.S. states, between more liberal regimes and others of monopoly, remains fundamental for the development of the global and Italian wine business. And making stops in two cities symbolic of as many states in rapid ascent for tricolor wine, returns the “Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour 2024” by Iem-International Exhibition Management, led by Marina Nedic and Giancarlo Voglino, among the most historical and experienced realities from the promotion of Italian wine in the world, which will be in Houston, Texas, on February 25 and 26, 2024, and then make its way to Miami, Florida, on February 28 (Iem’s Miami initiative is realized with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and in collaboration with Agenzia Ice, ed.).
Many Italian wineries, from all over Italy: from Cesconi to Conte d’Attimis, from Ricci Curbastro, from Albino Armani to Cà di Rajo, from Valdo Spumati to Garofoli, from Terre Cortesi Moncaro to Umani Ronchi, just to name a few. With the usual “Walk Around Tasting” formula, of course, but also lots of in-depth discussions. On February 26, in Houston, led by wine writer Jeremy Parzen, under the spotlight will be “Delle Venezie Doc, a wonderful journey into the World of Pinot Grigio”, signed by the Consorzio di tutela dei Vini Doc delle Venezie, and “Federdoc Traceability & regulation of Italian Doc wines: Prosecco Dod - Passion in the bubbles”, directed by Federdoc and the Prosecco Doc Consortium. Focuses that will also be replicated on February 28, in Miami, with the guidance of Lyn Farmer, wine writer and wine educator who, in addition, will lead participants on a journey through “The Native Wines of the Marches”, by Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini.
With Italian wine, therefore, trying to return to growth, moving through a complicated framework. As data and observations from Ice in New York point out, in a context where “wine imports to America slow on the first half of 2022. From January to June 2023, Italy exported 1.7 million hectoliters of wine to America for $1.1 billion: over the same period 2022, wine exports to the U.S. decreased by -7.0% by volume and -9.4% by value. Notably, U.S. table wine imports outperformed the trend of overall wine imports with a 5.5% increase. Despite this, U.S. imports of Italian table wine underperformed by registering a -8.7% decline. Italy”, Ice Agency points out, “maintains first place in terms of volume, but ranks behind France in terms of value. In the table wine segment, the United States imports almost twice as many white wines from Italy as red wines”. And speaking of red wines, “the U.S. imported less red wine but in higher value in the first half of 2023. While improving its market share in both value and volume, Italian red wines rank second in value terms after France, which exports half the hectoliters to the U.S”. In contrast, “U.S. demand for imported white wine continues to grow, but Italian white wine imports are significantly underperforming the overall trend, contracting Italy’s market share, which still ranks as the top supplier. U.S. imports of white wines from New Zealand are steadily increasing and are a key growth driver in the segment”.
Looking at the third wine color, rosé, Ice further explains, it emerges that “the United States is importing more premium rosé wine, but the first half of 2023 saw significant year-over-year declines for Italian rosé wines. France dominates the U.S. market for imported rosé wines, but then competes with a robust domestic market”. As is well known, then, the first half of 2023 saw significant declines in U.S. imports of sparkling wine. Italians, however, in this case, have instead outperformed the trend in overall U.S. imports, especially in terms of value, increasing their market share to -36.9%. “French premium sparkling wine continues to account for more than half of the total value, while Italian sparkling wine, which is more affordable in terms of price, makes up about two-thirds of U.S. sparkling wine imports”. Organic wine imports to the U.S. are growing, however, “led by a solid performance of New Zealand wines, now the dominant player in the segment. The U.S. imported fewer but higher-value organic wines from Italy in the first half of 2023”. Trends to reckon with, then, while also taking into account the changing demographics of the U.S. consumer base, of wine and beyond.
Also according to the Ice New York analysis, “Gen Z” (born 1997 and later: 21.6% of the population), for example, are very attentive to the quality and origin of the food they consume. They tend to eat very healthy and buy locally produced food. They are discovering the pleasure of cooking at home and dining with friends. It should be kept in mind that this is the most multicultural generation that is present in the United States at the moment and the one with the lowest percentage of people of Caucasian race. “Millennials”, on the other hand, are the most exploratory: they are not very brand loyal and are drawn to health diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto, paleo) and alternative products such as plant-based meat. They desire to have something special to offer on convivial occasions. For a long time, millennials have been considered the hope for the agribusiness sector. However, this generation is still facing economic difficulties. They are very focused on packaging and sustainable solutions. “Gen X”, still, focus on finding the truth, are extremely pragmatic and analytical. They research the quality of ingredients, follow the advice of family and friends, and are interested in educational events. They are quite faithful in their choice of products. Finally, “Baby-boomers” have a fairly high disposable income and continue to maintain a good consumption of high-quality products. They are curious to try new flavors, appreciate ease of use (convenience) and buy on impulse. However, the generation is aging and purchases are moderately decreasing year after year, both in terms of volume and quality.

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