Allegrini 2018

Export 2018: a recession without sparkling wine. At wine2wine “Osservatorio Vinitaly-Nomisma”

The supply chain (Veronafiere, Federvini, Uiv, Fivi): “we need a unified promotion of Made in Italy”. Centinaio: “Let’s work together on this”

If Italian sparkling wines are increasing on the world industries, on the other hand, “still” wines, are in decline. For this reason, Italian wine, which in recent years has grown only thanks to exports, have to change its strategy with an inclusive promotion that focuses on the Made in Italy and on the many characteristics that the Italian wine industry express. A concept on which everyone agrees, from the Minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio at the top of Veronafiere and Vinitaly, the President Maurizio Danese and CEO Giovanni Mantovani, the leaders of the representatives of Italian wine, from Sandro Boscaini, President Federvini, to Ernesto Abbona, guide of Unione Italiana Vini - Uiv, to Matilde Poggi, leader of Fivi - Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti, today at wine2wine, the business forum of Vinitaly and Veronafiere.
The current export situation in our Peninsula is not the best one as certified by the estimations for the end of 2018 at the export Osservatorio Vinitaly-Nomisma Wine Monitor showed by Denis Pantini
. The forecasts tell about a substantial growth, albeit very slight, on 2017, with the total that should stand at 6.2 billion euros, historical record, but masked by the sparkling wines.
In fact, still wines, the heart of Italian production, are declining in all major markets, and will close with -1.9% in the USA (1.2 billion euros), -5.4% in Germany (621 million euros), -4.1% in the UK (370 million euros), -0,2% in Canada (300 million euros), -3.8% in Switzerland (273 million euros), -2.8% in Russia (163 million euros), -4.6% in Japan (129 million euros), an increase will only be in Sweden, +3% (95 million euros) and Brazil, +4.4% (31 million euros). A half disaster, if you think that still wines are the great widespread wealth of wine in our Belpaese.
A completely different situation for Italian sparkling wines, which, however, I refer to our Prosecco, if we talk about great values and volumes, and therefore a small, although very important, production area of Italy. For sparkling wines, the final amount will be largely up in the USA, 15% (386 million euros), UK, +12.6 (345 million euros), Russia, +10.2% (92 million euros), Switzerland, +10.9% (60 million euros), Sweden, +46.3% (46 million euros), Canada +8.7% (45 million euros), Japan, +5.2% (33 million euros) and Brazil, +13.6% (6 million euros). The only negative and significant remark is in Germany, -4.5% (84 million euros), a strategic country for Italian wine, whose consumers, however, are increasingly focusing on homemade products.
If the sparkling wine, bring a positive scenario in Italy, there is not much to celebrate, because our Peninsula will still grow less (+3.8%) than the main competitors, from France, which will touch the 9.5 billion euros of export (+4.8%), to Spain, which will exceed 3 billion euros (+5.2%)
Data from the Osservatorio show that there are also positive results, linked once again to sparkling wines, from Prosecco, which is opening up markets such as Australia or Poland, to Asti, which is recovering in Russia, to the consolidation of trends linked to organic products, sustainability, and premiumization, which play in favor of Italian wine. Although, there are also not very good estimations concerning strategic markets, such as the USA, where the strong growth of Provence rosè is replacing the Italian whites, Pinot Grigio on the top, or like China, where the import of wines is restricted because of the large stocks to dispose of, and countries such as Australia and Chile, which enjoy free trade agreements, are advantaged, through the United Kingdom, where Brexit is devaluing the pound, complicating things.
The scenario has been critically commented by the representatives of the Italian wine industry.
“We have to look more and more at our battle horses, which are the still wines that - underlines the president of Federvini, Sandro Boscaini- are suffering instead. Prosecco is still alive, but it cannot replace everything, and if in recent years there were alarm bells, nowadays, export marks the step on the products that make up the image of Italian wine in the world. There are always 5, USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada, where we have grown up with our promotion, but also with the cuisine that has helped us a lot, and that is still strong, but it is often no longer Italian since it also offers many foreign wines.
The Italian brand awareness has to be promoted because in their Italian spirit fifteen battleships have started markets and that open now the way to the diversity of our production. Certainly, there is a need for clear and continuous communication, addressed to the Italian recognition of wine, rather than fragmenting it by Regions and Denominations, which is important and beautiful but comes later. Ice and Vinitaly are strong references, even as recognition in the world, there is no doubt”.
“For years we have been highlighting this slowdown trend - added the president of Unione Italiana Vini, Ernesto Abbona - and the uncertainty of promotion and Ocm funds has also weighed in. We have been talking about simplification for years, but things are becoming increasingly complex. Certain things need to be changed, bilateral agreements are necessary, the one with Canada is excellent, as we think the accord with Japan will be. All territories are different, not everyone can go anywhere, there are denominations that in certain parts of the world may not have continuous success, and we must think about it. “Your point, Minister, is good when you say that regions that do not use resources will see them spread over worthy regions. It's a good thing, but it's too late,” Abbona added, “ we go towards the end of the year to spend resources. I join Boscaini, we need more courage to concentrate and address resources. Focusing on Vinitaly and Ice, and on the Agency for the International Promotion, it is essential that the new top executives are nominated as soon as possible”.
“Communicating and selling wine is becoming more and more a way to communicate and sell territory - said Matilde Poggi, head of Fivi - and therefore it is good that we have delegated to Tourism the Ministry of Agricultural Policies. Of course, on an international promotion level, we need a unique and univocal promotion, otherwise, the others will outdo us. In all the fairs that we visit, we see that other countries move together, carrying equally large and small companies. This is not our case!”.
“Discussing about these results in a year in which Italian wine has received great recognition from critics - said the dg Veronafiere, Giovanni Mantovani, referring to the double primacy of Sassicaia at the top of the “Top 100” of “Wine Spectator”, and Chiarlo, n. 1 of the “Top 100” of “Wine Enthusiast” - makes us reflect. As it should make us think that China will soon have its own wine rating system as well as Russia. Vinitaly in recent years has built an ecosystem of tools that companies can benefit, so that we can do more on international markets, in fact, in recent days we have approved an industrial plan that provides many resources for the development of Vinitaly and Italian wine on the markets. If we combine this investment with system harmonization, perhaps we will see the light. Italian wine has already been through difficult times, but today is different, for the quality it has, it deserves more”.
It is therefore essential for Italian wine to approach the markets of the world, and to promote it in a unitary and organic way.
“I think that on the promotion of our products, wine & food and tourism, we are not working in the best way - said the Minister of Agriculture and Tourism, Gian Marco Centinaio, encouraged by journalist Paolo Del Debbio - we speak to people who usually talk to a maximum of 3-4 subjects when it comes to business. We have the fairs, the Ice, Edit, the Chambers of Commerce, the Regions, the Municipalities, the Consortium, and also the private individuals who go for their own sake. When we travel the world, and we meet a Chinese, for example, who usually talks to a person for France, one for Germany and so on, in front of Italy he may think that we are not credible, and so chooses others. I have always said this, I feel like Jesus in the desert, everyone agrees with me, but then no one wants to give up a little of his “power”, no one takes a step back, and nowadays this is the problem. It is necessary to make sure that those who can do it, and I am not alone, sit everyone at a table and change the rules. Otherwise, nothing will change.
On this point, I would like to commit myself to convene the Ministers for Economic Development of Foreign Affairs as soon as possible in order to understand whether there really is a commitment to speak with one voice, beyond the interests of any party. It is right that everyone should have the opportunity to go abroad, with their peculiarities, with their territories, but under the name of Italy. Then, we also need to understand what our customers are asking for: if a market asks for sparkling wines we don't have to offer them a still red, if they ask for a still red, we don't go with sparkling wines, it means wasting resources”.

Another important key, for Centinaio, is the wine-tourism combination. “Wine is the leading sector of our agrifood - underlined the Minister for Agriculture and Tourism, Gian Marco Centinaio, encouraged by the journalist Paolo Del Debbio - and also tourism, for the simple reason that often a tourist comes in our country for culinary and wine reasons. Using wine as an engine driven by agrifood, but also by tourism, in the world, can become a strong point for the country. And it can also help seasonality of tourism.
The idea from which we start is a law on wine tourism that is effective, and through the collaboration with the Regions and Consortiums, provides Italy concrete tools. Many tour operators are asking us to have wine-related programmes, to have interlocutors on this, also for out-of-season tourism, and to enhance rural areas, which are becoming increasingly attractive”.

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