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Italian wine exports close 2020 down by 2.3% to 6.28 billion euros

WineNews analysis on Istat data: Germany is growing, the USA is slowing down, Norway and South Korea continue to rise

The curtain falls, even in official Istat data, on 2020 Italian wine abroad, which, in the last month of the year, confirms those signs of recovery already seen in previous months, closing at the end with a balance of -2.3% on 2019, at 6.284 billion euros. A good result, both from the perspective of the overall foreign trade figure, which saw Italian exports lose 9.7%, and from the point of view of the wine sector, which in October 2020 had closed at -3.4% on October 2019. Confirmations, with respect to what was anticipated to WineNews by Denis Pantini, Nomisma Agribusiness Area Director (Wine Monitor), also arrive on the front of the individual markets, where there are no major shocks or reversals compared to the November figure.
The WineNews analysis, as always, starts from the United States, the first market for Italian wines, which lost something in December 2020, closing at 1.453 billion euros, down by 5.6%. It goes better in neighboring Canada, where shipments reach 346 million euros in December, up +1.5% on 2019, confirming the good things seen in previous months.
In Europe, Germany is confirmed as the first EU destination for Italian wine, with a turnover that in 2020 reached 1.074 billion euros, an increase of 3.7%: a surprise up to a certain point, for a country that historically concentrates sales on the large-scale distribution channel, the best performing during the pandemic, and on bottles with a good quality/price ratio. Encouraging signs also came from Great Britain, which at the end of the day closed with a -6.3% drop in wine imports from Italy, to 714 million euros, while waiting to understand the impact of Brexit.
Switzerland is confirmed, sailing on the exact same levels as last year: in 2020 Italian wine imports closed at 382 million euros, 0.3% more than in 2019. Imports from France continue to fall, finally marking -13.6% to 178 million euros, and it could not be otherwise for a producing country that, on foreign markets, has had much more difficulty than Italy.
The news coming from Scandinavian countries is quite different, starting from Sweden, where the Systembolaget system guarantees great stability and further growth for Italian wines, which close with 189 million euros of exports: +5%. Norway, as we had already seen with the data of November, does even better, growing by 29.8% at the end of 2020, to 122 million euros. Austria, on the other hand, lost a little, closing the year with a 2.3% drop to 104 million euros. Russia recovers a little, where the drop stops, at the end of 2020, at -3.6%, with 126 million euros of wine imported from Italy.
Overall, Asian markets fared badly, with only South Korea closing the year in positive territory, further proof of how well Seoul has been able to manage the health crisis better than any other country in the world, suffering very little from the economic one. Here, Italian wine grew by 30% in 2020, to 43 million euros. In China, on the other hand, December put a brake on the collapse of imports, which nevertheless closed with a 26.3% drop, to 98 million euros. Japan also reared its head, limiting the damage to a loss of 15.4% on 2019, at 154 million euros. Finally, Hong Kong, privileged gateway of Italian and French fine wines to the Far East market, which leaves on the ground, at the end of 2020, 9.4%, closing the year at 24 million euros of imported Italian wine.

Focus - Italian wine exports quarter by quarter by Qualivita
The result is the fruit of contrasting trends between the various periods of the year: 2020 had in fact started extremely positively compared to the already excellent 2019, with a +5.2% in the first quarter (1.51 billion in the first three months of the year compared to 1.44 in 2019), while from the following month the effects of the Covid-19 emergency began to be felt more strongly with a sharp drop in exports (in May it reached -24.3%) for an overall result of -12.6% in the second quarter (1.38 billion in 2020 compared to 1.57 billion in 2019). The third quarter with -1.9% began to show resilience, with an overall result of 1.56 billion compared to 1.59 billion in 2019. Positive signs, however, came especially in the fourth quarter of 2020 with +0.7%, with exports growing strongly in November and December 2020, and with an overall result of more than 1.84 billion compared to 1.83 billion in 2019.

Focus - Wine export values in 2020 Region by Region
Among the top 5 regions for wine exports, 3 show a growing export result in 2020: Piedmont (+2.6%), Trentino-Alto Adige (+4.3%) and Emilia-Romagna (+3.4%). On the other hand, Veneto (-3.3%) and Tuscany (-3.2%) are in decline. The regions with the greatest drop in wine exports are Lombardy (-11.7%), Puglia (-7.6%), Sicily (-11.9%) and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (-8.9%). Results were fairly stable for Abruzzo (-1.9%) and positive for Lazio (+8.6%).

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