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Italian Classic Method seeking exports, Franciacorta is leading the search

The Lombardy bubbles, the “mountain” bubbles of Trentodoc, and the Alta Langa bubbles are the “strong” sparkling wines in Italy, looking to conquer the world
Italian Classic Method seeking exports, Franciacorta is leading the search

The value of exports of Italian sparkling wines totaled more than 1.6 billion euros between January and October 2023. The breakdown was 1.3 billion euros linked to the Prosecco world, 138 million euros to Asti, while all the other denominations, together, totaled a value of just over 81 million euros (the Italian statistics agency, ISTAT data, analyzed by WineNews). These figures explain a lot about how much work needs to be done on the value and International tendency of the great Italian Classic Methods, from Franciacorta to Trentodoc, and Alta Langa, for example. Not counting size, obviously, since Prosecco, between DOC and DOCG, counts around 800 million bottles and Asti DOCG around 50 million, while Franciacorta, at 19.5 million bottles, Trentodoc (12 million bottles) and Alta Langa (3 million) all together don’t even reach 40 million bottles.
Nevertheless, International critics and consumers are acknowledging more and more the virtues of excellent quality, and the Italian Classic Method sparkling wines. These bubbles, to their advantage, are very strong on their own territories and all over Italy, and are gradually growing on foreign markets. Franciacorta’s export share, for instance, achieved 12.1% in 2023, up +1.5% compared to 2022, thereby crowning a year of significant growth, thanks to value, since the yields of the 2019 harvests and 2020 were so scarce. Last year, as a matter of fact, the sales volume closed at 19.5 million bottles as well as a considerable increase in average shelf prices, which grew + 6.4%, from 22.9 euros to 24.4 euros. There was a slight decline in volume in 2022 (-3.4%), then offset by + 2.8% increase in value, and the Franciacorta Consortium, led by Silvano Brescianini, emphasized that comparing the data to the pre-pandemic period (2019), it turns out to be quite significant (+26.5 %). To go into further detail, the domestic market represented 87.9% of sales at the end of 2023, down 4.1% compared to 2022. Exports of Lombardy’s bubbles made up the remaining 12.1%, and a positive note, equal to +1.5% compared to 2022. Switzerland is one of the main importing countries, and is definitely and firmly in first place, followed by Japan, Germany, the United States, and Belgium.
Export growth performances are especially interesting compared to the pre-pandemic period. Sales volumes in Switzerland grew + 41.3% compared to 2019, while in Belgium they grew + 23.3% and in the United States +17.4%. In terms of typology, Franciacorta represented 77.7% of global sales, followed by Franciacorta Satèn (12.2%) and Franciacorta Rosé (10.1%).
Alta Langa, while consolidating Italy is first and foremost, is also working on establishing itself abroad, but they are not in a rush ( they have begun working together with Barolo, just like recently happened in Grandi Langhe, ed.). Alta Langa is a small enclave of the Piedmont Classic Method, which has always aimed at very high quality and value, given its small size (3.2 million bottles in the 2023 production), and a growing export share, but to date, only 10% of the total. “Our sales trend has grown naturally and production has grown as well. A few years ago we wouldn’t leave Langhe and Monferrato, then we had the opportunity to grow, and we started to spread throughout Italy, with events in Milan, Turin, Naples, Genoa, Rome and Verona. Exports, it is true, still represent a very small portion, but over time we will grow. Our production is growing, even though our numbers do not allow us to satisfy the entire demand for products of our denomination, which is attracting more and more interest”, Maria Cristina Castelletta, president of the Alta Langa Consortium, told WineNews.
It is the same story for the “mountain bubbles” of Trentodoc, the first acknowledged DOC of the Italian Classic Method. While we are waiting for the 2023 data, we registered 180 million euros in turnover in 2022, counting 13 million bottles and demand growing + 7%, the Observatory of the Trentodoc Institute, led by Enrico Zanoni, explained. The “mountain bubbles” have been highly rewarded by critics, as confirmed by the repeated successes at Tom Stevenson’s “World Sparkling Wine Championship”, reverberating a great International echo, and in all likelihood, will help the territory to increase the 15% share of Trentodoc, which is now known all over the world.

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