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First quarter 2023: Italian wine shipments at +3.8%, worth €1.77 billion

Volumes stable, certainties still come from Germany and the U.S., Britain recovers the gap, Scandinavian countries and Asia worry
Italian wine shipments in the first quarter of 2023

The first quarter of 2023 marks the recovery, at full strength, of Italian wine exports, which grew +3.8% in value, to 1.77 billion euros, as revealed by the latest Istat data, analyzed by WineNews. Moreover, at 489 million liters, volumes remain stable (+0.1%), held in balance essentially by bulk (+13.4%), which offset the decline in bottled (-2.4%) and sparkling wines (-3.2%): for both - it is important to emphasize - the trend in value is nonetheless positive, with bottled wines marking +2.8%, at 1.2 billion euros in turnover, and sparkling wines flying at +7.3% to 459 million euros.

The trends that characterized the first two months of the year are confirmed in the different markets: after the first quarter of 2023, thus, Italian wine imports in the U.S. and Germany continue to run, as well as in France and Russia, while the difficulties of Canada, Japan, China and, to a lesser extent, Denmark continue. In addition, although still behind on the same period in 2022, Great Britain recovers the gap, with an excellent monthly performance.

Proceeding, geographically, in order, Italian wine’s honeymoon with the wine lovers of France continues, where shipments grow by as much as +27%, to 72.3 million euros. Still stable, perfectly in line with the figure from a year ago, is Switzerland, at 104.5 million euros (+0.48%). Positive growth for Italian wine imports to Austria, which mark +6.6%, reaching 31.4 million euros. Germany, as mentioned, still represents a great certainty: here, Italian wine, in just one quarter, has already reached an import turnover of 278.7 million euros (+5.6%), although the March figure marks a slowdown of -2.6% compared to March 2022. Still on positive ground is the Netherlands, which, in the first quarter of 2023, imported 54.4 million euros of Italian wine (+6.2%), as well as Belgium, which comes in at 55 million euros (+3.8%).

The positive dynamic of Great Britain continues, where the figure for the first three months of 2023 is still negative on the same period 2022: -7%, for 158 million euros of imported wine in the period, but March marked a comforting +11.6% (67.7 million euros). The markets of the Scandinavian countries are cooling down: on the one hand there is the decline - which has become worrisome - of Denmark (-19.7%, to 36.4 million euros), on the other the substantial stability of Sweden (+0.6%, to 49.8 million euros), in the middle the slowdown of Norway (-4.4%, to 24.9 million euros). Always arousing some curiosity is the figure for Russia, a market that for Italian wine-despite the war in Ukraine, which drains resources and compresses in consumption-continues to grow: +41%, to 34.1 million euros, a figure significantly higher even than in 2021, when the Kiev invasion was still far away.

Overseas, the performance of the U.S. market is still gratifying, which, in the first quarter of 2023, marks +10.7% (446 million euros of imported Italian wine), a very slight slowdown compared to the February figure. It shows no sign of recovery in Canada, where the first three months of the year marked a drop in shipments of -20.4%, to 79.8 million euros: is this the end of the sparkling bubble? Hard to say, but private debt, among the highest in the world, as reported by the International Monetary Fund, risks triggering the deflation of the housing bubble.

Finally, the markets of Asia, still all in the negative camp. China loses 34.7%, and stops at 19.3 million euros of Italian wine imports in the first quarter of 2023; Japan, the country of reference for our wine exports, stops at 41 million euros (-7.1%); South Korea, which risks proving to be a flash in the pan, with 14.4 million euros of turnover, down 29.3%; Hong Kong recovers something, at 5.4 million euros (-6%), to which fine wine Italy always looks with some attention, as does Taiwan, which, in the first quarter of 2023, imported, however, only 3.9 million euros of Italian wine (-22.5%).

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