Allegrini 2018

Confagricoltura: "if wine does not restart, Italy loses employment, economy, culture and landscape"

Federico Castellucci, President of Federazione Vino: “we need liquidity and streamlined bureaucracy, or many will not make it through this emergency”

“Most of the small and medium-sized Italian wine companies do not sell to large-scale distribution, rather their main channels are traditional ones as well as direct sales on the farms, and in agri-tourism facilities, which have all been put on lockdown provided for in the restrictions of the DPCM, Italian Prime Minister’s decrees. The economic consequences would be very damaging if the wine sector collapses, such as enormous numbers of jobs lost, and disaster for the environment, as some vineyard areas could be abandoned without sustainable alternatives”. Federico Castellucci, president of the Wine Federation, Confagricoltura, (and former director of OIV, the International Organization of Vine and Wine, ed.) sounded the alarm about the crisis the Italian wine sector is experiencing.
The wine sector in Italy counts 356.000 farms, 1.3 million employees, over 650.000 hectares of vineyards, an annual production close to 50 million hectoliters for a value of 13 billion euros, Confagricoltura pointed out, and represents one of the top Italian excellences. It holds the world record for production volumes, and is also essential for the economy, employment, culture and landscape. However, the sharp drop in exports and the continued closure of restaurants, bars and wine bars into phase 2 of the Coronavirus emergency, is putting the survival of the sector at great risk. And, as we have repeated several times, increases registered in large-scale distribution sales and e-commerce, have not been enough to compensate losses due to the forced closure of restaurants. Indeed, 35% of wine is consumed in the HoReCa (hotel, restaurant) channel that weighs for 55% of the value of the sector, pointed out Confagricoltura. These activities will be in lockdown until the beginning of June, and since credit has not been retrieved for sales in the months prior to the emergency, wine companies will likely lose more than 40% of turnover.
Confagricoltura has proposed a series of interventions, such as debt renegotiation, suspension of mortgage and loan installments for 12 months, granting interest rate relief, activating a revolving credit line for wine, too, and developing credit guarantees. It has also actively promoted starting the green harvest, even partially, to support quality wines in stock, a possible crisis distillation, accompanied by an adequate reduction in yields per hectare.

“If we do not get an immediate, robust injection of liquidity, without too much bureaucracy”, concluded Castellucci, “many companies are really risking not being able to make it to the end of the Covid-19 emergency and will be outdistanced by competitors from other European and non-European countries”.
“Italian viticulture has ancient origins and more than any other country, is the image and substance of countless territories”, Confagricoltura continued, “and it has a solid link with the soil and climatic characteristics of each Region. These characteristics give our wines an absolutely unique value. Therefore, allowing Italian viticulture to collapse means condemning a sector that together with art, culture and gastronomy, constitutes the identity and wealth of our country”.

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