Allegrini 2018

Chianti Classico, 1 billion euro district. From July 1, 2023, “Uga” will arrive on the label

Messages and reflections from “Chianti Classico Collection 2023”. Territory in great health, with markets rewarding Gran Selezione and Riserva

A district economic value that, with wine as the pivot around which oil, quality agriculture, restaurants, hospitality and more revolve, can be estimated at around 1 billion euros; the Gran Selezione and Riserva growing and, together, are worth a little less than half of production and more than half of turnover; the “Uga”, additional geographic units (San Casciano, Montefioralle, Panzano, San Donato in Poggio, Castellina, Vagliagli, Greve, Lamole, Radda, Gaiole and Castelnuovo Berardenga), which, as of July 1, will finally be on the label, on the Gran Selezione: here is the present and immediate future of Chianti Classico, the queen wine appellation of Tuscany, with 7,000 hectares of vineyards and an average annual production of between 35 and 38 million bottles that go to 160 countries around the world, the U.S., Italy and Canada in the lead, the protagonist of the “Chianti Classico Collection” 2023. Showcase of the new vintages of a territory “that is in great health, growing on the markets, in volume and value, and also seeing a steady increase in average wine prices, and that looks to the future with optimism, with great anticipation for the Uga, which will arrive on the label from July 1, since the amendment to the specification has passed in the National Wine Committee and only the signing of the ministerial decree is awaited”, said, to WineNews, Giovanni Manetti, president of the Chianti Classico Consortium, which brings together 482 members, of which 345 bottlers.
The numbers, after all, are comforting, because 2022 closed with a balance of bottles sold that marks +6% over the average of the previous three years. But it is important to emphasize that, above all, the overall value of the denomination has increased, with total sales rising sharply, which, in 2022, registered +17% over the previous year and even +46% over 2020 (data: Maxidata Observatory). “In quantity we have practically duplicated the sales of a record 2021, doing just a little less, but with a value that has grown, and not only because of inflation”, Manetti stressed again. In any case, the value of the appellation is growing throughout the supply chain, including from the price of grapes and bulk: the average price per hectoliter of Chianti Classico wine in 2022 was 10% higher than the previous year, offering greater profitability even for companies that do not bottle. For the bottled product, the trend toward growth in the weight - in volumes sold and in value - of the “premium” types of Chianti Classico, Riserva and Gran Selezione is confirmed. In 2022, the two types jointly accounted for 45% of production and 56% of sales. With only Gran Selezione, the qualitative apex, of the pyramid, worth just 5% of volumes, but as much as 13% of value.
Looking at the markets for Chianti Classico, it is precisely the U.S. that, in 2022, saw a boom in sales of Black Rooster, confirming once again its first place: 37% of the bottles of Chianti Classico were sold on this market compared to 33% the previous year (+12%). Accomplice is the strong dollar, but also the continued growth in notoriety of the denomination on this market. Nearly stable, in second place, is the domestic market where 19% of the total Chianti Classico wines marketed are now sold; followed by Canada in third place (10%), a market that, in recent years, has given us great satisfaction and for which the Consortium still sees excellent growth potential. Also good is the performance of the United Kingdom, which ranks fourth (7%): a country where the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico will continue to invest in 2023 with various events and promotional activities. Then, again among the established markets, we recall Germany at 6%, a market that is and will be given special attention in the consortium strategy, together with Sweden and France (target countries within the three-year Meet project). This is followed by: Scandinavian countries (5%), Switzerland (3%), Benelux (3%), Japan (2%) and South Korea (2%). But a special note should be dedicated to France, a market with low sales volumes (1% of the total), but made up of attentive and experienced consumers, which, in 2022, recognized the highest average value to Gran Selezione wines, and increased in general sales of appellation wines, marking a +60% on the volumes of Chianti Classico purchased over the previous year. “Of the affirmation of Chianti Classico on the international markets”, says Giovanni Manetti, president of the Consortium, “and, in particular, of the positive trend in the United States and Canada and the resilience of all other historic markets for Black Rooster wines, we are very satisfied. For years the Consortium has been investing in strengthening its historical markets, also with some innovative activities that will allow us to have an increasingly constant and widespread presence in the various countries of reference”.
But the focus now is on the arrival of the Additional Geographical Units (Uga). “A very important project, which has, among its main objectives, to strengthen the communication of the wine-territory binomial and increase quality in terms of identity and territoriality. Attention to quality has never been lacking with us, and for Chianti Classico producers to try to produce wines that are increasingly “transparent” that is, capable of expressing more and more the territory in which they are produced, is of vital importance and is what the market also increasingly demands. The introduction of the name of the Geographical Unit on the label will serve to intercept and satisfy the interest of those consumers who, in increasing numbers, want to deepen their knowledge of the relationship between Black Rooster wines and their territory of origin”, Manetti said again. Who, speaking to WineNews about sustainability, added, “for some time the producers of the territory have been working on this front, which is very important. More than half of the denomination’s vineyards are conducted organically, two-thirds of the wineries are certified, but we are not stopping. Climate warming is an issue, although we have to remember that 65& of the land is forest, which cools temperatures and helps retain water. Also, Sangiovese is a variety that has late ripening, and that helps us manage it. In any case, although we are quite calm, we are working to understand how things will evolve and how to manage them, to protect the quality of our production”.
A territory in constant evolution, Chianti Classico, but with a glorious past, and with the legend of the Black Rooster that became a short film, and made by the Swally agency, between the Florence of the Renaissance and the Siena of the Middle Ages. To tell the story of an ancient territory that looks to the future.

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