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In the first five months of 2020, Italian wine holds up and grows (+10%), now comes the hard part

Waiting for the impact of the lockdown on consumption, WineNews analysis, with Denis Pantini, head of Wine Monitor
DENIS PANTINI, EXPORT, LOCKDOWN, May, NOMISMA, TARIFFS, USA, WINE, WINE MONITOR, News
The analysis of the numbers of Italian exports to the USA in the first 5 months of 2020

The publication of the new USA blacklist, which will hit European products for 3.1 billion takings, is just around the corner. In the short list, in this third “carousel”, there is still Italian wine, so far pardoned by the Trump Administration, which, in the dispute between the USA and the European Union on the controversy between Boeing and Airbus, mainly affected the countries of the European aeronautical consortium, i.e. countries, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. In the hope of passing unscathed once again the Caudine forks of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to hearten Italy’s wine industry are the data on overseas exports in the first five months of 2020, which WineNews analyzed and commented with Denis Pantini, director of the Nomisma Agrifood Area and head of Wine Monitor.
Starting from the general figure, in these first five months of 2020, according to customs data, imports of US wine lost 4% in value: if we consider the first effects of the lockdown, applied by the Governors, and therefore in a leopard’s spot, all in all, we can speak of a positive figure. They are, however, data, recalls Pantini, “influenced by the race for supplies in the first two months of 2020
, after the introduction of duties on French wine, which led to a boom in Champagne (+158% on the same two-month period of 2019) and small benefits for our high range wines.
Overall, the French lost 18% and Australians 12%, while Italy grew by 10%, but the best performer is New Zealand: +11%. Spain (-3%) and Chile (-7%) also lose something, with Argentina in positive territory (+2%). The monthly data, relative to total wine, tell us that in May 2020, on April, Italy grows by 19%, “always considering that in April imports were much lower than in January and February, for the reasons we said before,” says Prandini.
France, on the other hand, loses 30% in May over April, “and if we look at the trend, namely May 2020 over May 2019, Italy does +7%, unexpectedly, unlike the French, who do -59%. Italy, after the race for stocks, followed its route in April and May 2020. It’s not the effects of a stock run because of the fear of the August carousel which, in case, could be seen in June and July,” Denis Pantini explains. Italy has continued to ship its wines over the past few months, and this was not at all a foregone conclusion, given that New Zealand also lost 9% in April.
Looking at the numbers of bottled still wines, the trend does not change: in May 2020 they scored +22% on April, and +1% on May 2019. The painful notes, but not so painful, come from the analysis of average prices: remaining on still wines, in May on April, the average price lost 7%, and on May 2019 15%. “There is tension on prices, but a precise analysis must be made - explains the manager of Wine Monitor - because it is not as negative as one might imagine. Rather, reports a change in purchases: if in the first two months there was a strong focus on high-quality wines, also because of the fear of duties, as the on-trade has entered into difficulties, the off-trade has grown more and more, showing that Italy and its wines enjoy an important presence on the shelves, where they are the first in terms of turnover and the second, behind the Australians in terms of volumes sold”. France is also bad, losing -2% on April and -26% on May 2019, that is, before the duties came into force, which justifies such a drop in the average price. Therefore, volumes are growing: by +32% in May over April, staying on the still bottled, and by +18% in May 2020 over May 2019. Definitely worse is France, which loses 16% in May over April and 39% in May 2019. “The other countries - Pantini resumes - have also let themselves go a bit on prices, with volumes increased from Australia +9% on April, Argentina even +56% and Spain +11%. The average price of French wine, with the justification of the duty, in May 2020 showed an import for still wine at EUR 6.7 per liter, compared to EUR 9 per liter in May 2019, and Italy dropped to EUR 4.9 per liter compared to EUR 5.7 in 2019. These are falls that fit, also linked to the exchange rate”. To understand, finally, how the great wines of the Belpaese have performed, it is interesting to analyze the PDO trend of the three main regions (stopped, however, in April 2020, ed), from which it emerges how the PDO reds of Tuscany (Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Chianti, Nobile di Montepulciano), have passed, in April 2020 on April 2019, from 8.5 to 8.3 euros per liter (-3%), the PDO reds of Piedmont (Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and many others) have even grown, from 9.7 to 11.2 (+15%), while the PDO reds of Veneto (excluding Amarone, which often exceeds 15 degrees, ending up outside the customs statistics) have gone from 3 to 2.5 euros per liter.

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