Allegrini 2018

Combining wine, tourism, and promotion: Minister Centinaio from “Amarone Preview

The economy of Valpolicella: for Amarone in 2018 growth of the domestic market, but exports slow down. Sartori: “we can grow even with these phases”
The Minister Centinaio with Olga Bussinello, and Andrea Sartori

Italian wine needs a “permanent center of gravity” to coordinate its promotion abroad and make its action more incisive. The Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism is working on this, but it takes time. The good news is that the decree implementing the law on wine tourism is about to come out, which should create cooperation between agri-food and tourism, which represent for international visitors the most important experiential showcase of Italian food and wine excellence. These are the themes that emerged from the opening day of the Amarone Preview in Verona. “The relaxed faces of the producers because the exceptional nature of the 2015 vintage - said Andrea Sartori, president of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella, jokingly, opening the Amarone Preview, in the presence of Gian Marco Centinaio. A presence that underlines the attention of the Minister for Italian food and wine and tourist districts including Verona and its province is a prominent reality.
As Centinaio stressed, “My Ministry is at everyone’s disposal to enhance Italian excellence, even those who are left behind, without reducing the level, on the contrary elevating it to the reality of Veronese. The task, now that my ministry has been given the delegation on tourism, is to create synergies between food and wine and tourism to promote Italian excellence”.
Inevitable to speak of the famous Achilles heel of Italy, the promotion scattered and agitated by many bodies and institutions that do not create unique reference points abroad and therefore is not incisive. It is also inevitable to ask the minister what he intends to do. Already at the time of his presence in Verona at the opening of the last edition of wine2wine, the international forum on Wine Industry organized by Veronafiere-Vinitaly International, he was asked if - given the centrality of Verona as a district for the promotion of vines and home of the most important fair for Italian wine, which has become a brand - it is possible to think of Vinitaly as the ambassador of the Italian wine system in the world.
For too many years, “the Italian system has always been organized in a disjointed way - the Minister recalled - unlike our other competitors who, on international markets, are under the same flag, this is what wine and other sectors lack, the recognition of the Italian brand. With this awareness, we have already held a series of meetings with representatives of the other ministries involved and at this time the undersecretary Geraci is following more than anyone the development of the promotion of our country abroad. However, it is difficult to deny autonomy to those who have promoted and convince them to work in teams. It’s a kind of impossible mission and a very slow process. I believe that we have to go around the world to explain that we are Italy under the tricolor flag to tell everything together, products, territories, and people. We are proud of our 42 billion euros in exports of Italian food products, but we must bear in mind that for Germany, which, like other countries, is promoted as a whole, food products exports are worth 60”.

The centrality of Verona in the agri-food and food-and-wine field has been reaffirmed, numbers in hand, by the Councilor for Agriculture of the Veneto Region. “L’Amarone - Giuseppe Pan emphasized - is one of the best visiting cards of Italian wines in the world, a leading player in the success of the Italian tricolor export that has the first region of Italy in Veneto, which in the course of 2018 has broken every record in the export of prestigious bottles, achieving a total value of over 1 and a half billion euros, equal to one third of the entire national export. Moreover, Veneto is the region that boasts in the wine sector the highest number of labels with a designation of origin (no less than 53), of which 14 are DOCG, 29 DOC, and 10 IGT“.
“In the light of this - added Sartori - I think that Verona can be considered the Italian city of wine because it concentrates all the assets of a chain from production to an international fair, the ideal logistical position, and the University, up to tourism. That’s why we have the ambition to be the reference in Italy. I look to Bordeaux and the Citadel of Wine Culture and I think we need to think about this.
The development of wine tourism in Valpolicella requires everyone’s work, starting with the networking of producers, tourist agencies and areas with a high concentration of accommodation. Valpolicella still intercepts a too small percentage of the tourist flow arriving in Verona and on Lake Garda, which counts respectively 17 and 13 million presences per year”.
In a few days, the decree law on wine tourism will be released, which should make a qualitative leap in the sector. “Here we go. We have finished the bureaucratic part - explained Centinaio - and after sharing with stakeholders, an important phase in the success of the application, we will go to the signing and the Conference State Regions. The objective is that wine tourism becomes the strong point of this Ministry.
And in the combination of food and wine and tourism, the driving force is undoubtedly the wine. Tourists don’t move because of the bacon, but because of the wine: in front of a glass of nectar of Bacchus you can dream! We are investing a lot on wine tourism: in 2021 the Global Conference on Wine Tourism organized by the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations will take place in Italy”.
Focus - Amarone on the swing in 2018. Good domestic market and wine tourism, exports slow down
The domestic market is doing well, with strong growth in wine tourism, and exports in the economic downturn. This is the 2018 result for Amarone, analyzed by the Osservatorio Vini Della Valpolicella di Nomisma Wine Monitor. The performance on the Italian market was good, sales increased by 4% in terms of value, thanks in particular to the growth in demand from on-trade and wine shops.
Another rewarding factor is direct sales in companies, also generated by the increasingly dynamic wine tourism in the area. According to the data of the Sistema Statistico Regionale - Veneto Region - elaborated by Nomisma Wine Monitor, the presence in Valpolicella (excluding Verona) increased in the three-year period 2015-2017 by 21%: twice the overall regional average and 50% more than the significant increase in the city of Verona. Overall, in 2017 alone, there were about 300,000 wine tourists in the land of Amarone, compared to almost 115,000 arrivals. As for the market, the king of Valpolicella closes 2018 with a turnover of 334 million euros and a total negative balance of 6% in 2017 due to the slowdown on foreign trade in some key countries and due to the effect, between the other, of the poor vintage 2014 (-4.6% bottled). A balance that was affected by the poor performance in Germany (-40%), where however the exploit of 2017 (+ 45%) and a consequent surplus of product stocks was discounted. And if China and Japan are showing interesting growth signals, even with an emerging market share (5%), Amarone flies in the United Kingdom near Brexit with a + 15% in value. The US is also doing well, the second international market with + 3%, while sales fall in Switzerland (-5%), Canada (-4%) and Sweden (-6%). For the president of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella, Andrea Sartori, “after years of growth, Amarone, like other Italian still wines, has experienced a difficult economic situation in some traditional and mature markets, but at the same time it is collecting interesting signals in countries that represent the future of the denomination, first and foremost Asia. Unlike other international premium competitors, our economy is still young and the growth process also passes through these phases of reflection”.
Overall, Germany remains the top destination with a market share of 16%, now followed by the USA (15%) and Switzerland (12%). Then the United Kingdom (11%) and Sweden. In total, exports for Amarone account for 65% of sales.
Focus - Valpolicella, the numbers
2,302 winegrowers
1,736 producers members of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella
8,187 hectares of vineyards
14 million bottles of Amarone produced in 2015
600 million euros estimated turnover for Doc Valpolicella, more than half for sales of Amarone
65% export share in the value of Amarone
More than 500,000 euros per hectare for the value of land in valuable areas
Germany, USA, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom and Sweden are the main buyers of Amarone
Source: Consortium for the protection of Valpolicella wines

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