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In Italians’ summer, wine from small wineries beats big names

Partesa analysis: it’s time for outsiders, but consumers know what to look for, and prefer monovarietal, an expression of grape variety and territory
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Wine and more in the Italian summer

Summer is the season of light-heartedness, sociability, and travel: the days are long, the vacation air is in the air, the desire to get together grows, and opportunities to be outdoors and in company multiply. But between lunches, aperitifs, dinners and evenings, what will Italians drink in summer 2022? Whether it is wine, beer or spirits, the watchword is one: quality. Starting with wine, what emerges from the picture drawn by Partesa - a company specializing in sales, distribution, consulting and training services for the horeca channel, with a portfolio of more than 8,000 references - is that it is not so much the “big name” that drives the choice, but the quality of the wine and the story of the producer behind it. It is no coincidence that this is the time of the “outsiders”, small wineries that, thanks in part to effective use of digital media, are increasingly being chosen by new wine lovers. For that matter, just as often Italians know exactly what they are looking for from the glass: they know the appellations and grape varieties closest to their tastes and can match them to the dishes they choose to eat. Wine is no longer fashion, but true culture. A culture nurtured by curiosity and a search for novelty. Regardless of level of training, age and personal taste, the choice of quality wines is generalized, with preferences for monovarietals, which best express all the nuances of the grape variety and the territory in which they were born.

Between confirmations and new fashions, on what Italians will order in bars, pubs, restaurants, pizzerias and clubs, the choice of beer is extremely diverse according to occasion and place of consumption. The bottle trend is confirmed, born and established with takeout and delivery in the lockdown months, which many brands have ridden with innovative proposals. Then continues the trend of canned beers, a convenient and practical format for transport, made of aluminum, an easily recyclable material, which is gaining more and more space in the offerings of breweries. Whatever the format, these are always beers that have their own story to tell and quality, all with their own “twist”, their own particularity that makes them appreciated even by a younger audience seeking differentiation. Finally, the growth of the alcohol-free beer segment should be mentioned, under the banner of responsible drinking, a topic on which Italians are showing great sensitivity, thanks in part to the numerous information campaigns.

The world of spirits also continues to experience a moment of interesting evolution, where blending, localism and attention to craftsmanship are the main trends driving the growth of premium labels, and where the number of channels in which they are offered is increasing: alongside the classic bars and clubs, references in the category are increasingly found on the cards of restaurants and pizzerias, offered for aperitifs and the end of the meal. And it is precisely the aperitif moment that registers a particular exploit. Whether pre or after dinner, the most ordered cocktails remain the most popular, especially if they are gin-based, which is confirmed as the most popular spirit, with orders growing significantly more than all other references in the category, and preferably in combination with vermouth and bitters. And while in choosing among the increasing number of proposals from producers, consumers are being guided above all by the brand and by growing attention to territoriality and the ingredients used for distillation, venue managers are expanding their offerings with products that are versatile in mixing, of good quality and affordable. After all, as is happening with beer and wine, even in the world of spirits the search for quality is widespread and generalized: a sign, this, that indicates that the Italian consumer public is increasingly prepared and curious, as well as attentive to responsible consumption choices.

“The Italian out-of-home is changing shape, adapting to a new audience of Italians who, after two years of restrictions, are returning to going out and meeting. An evolution that sees managers committed to seize and take advantage of the new opportunities of the moment to consolidate the recovery: as confirmed by the recent study commissioned by the Beer Observatory to the Piepoli Institute, in which Partesa collaborated, venues are in fact more streamlined, offer delivery and take-away and cover more and more consumption occasions”, explains Massimo Reggiani, CEO Partesa. “And it is precisely the professionals who point to beer, wines, cocktails and spirits as the king beverages of the emerging trends of the new Italian out-of-home, with beer, including low and alcohol-free, at the center of the upswing: the survey finds that, in five years, beer will double the number of venues for which beer will account for more than 50% of business. And if the offer is wide and transversal, the driver of choice is only one: quality, in the sign of conviviality and product culture”.

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