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Italian wine exports return to growth in February 2023: +3.6% to €1.05 billion

WineNews analysis: reassuring U.S. and Germany, still worrying Canada and Britain. Volumes recover, at 297.6 million liters (-0.8%)
Italian wine on foreign markets in the first two months of 2023 (credit: Max Tutac)

The path of Italian wine on foreign markets is once again quickening the pace of its steps and, after an essentially flat January, exports grew by +3.6% in value to €1.05 billion in February 2023, the latest Istat data, analyzed by WineNews, reveal. Good news also on the volume front, with a sharp halt to the negative trend in terms of volumes, lower than the first two months of 2022, but only -0.8%, to 297.6 million liters. Also on the volume front, the drop in sparkling wines should be noted, which lost 4.6% (63.4 million liters), for a turnover that nonetheless grew sharply, by +6.1%, thus reaching 276.3 million euros, accounting for 26.3% of all Italian wine exports in the first two months of the year.

Looking at individual markets, February 2023 broadly confirms what we saw in January: on the one hand, the U.S. and Germany, the first partners of Italian wine, continue to grow steadily, but slightly less than in January; on the other hand, Canada and Great Britain, after the glories of 2022, are unable to break out of the downward spiral of a difficult start to the year, trying, however, to mend the rift. The North American country that recently revised, positively, the growth forecast for its economy, while London has to deal with inflation still in double digits, with food prices touching +20% price hikes.

Proceeding in order, Italian wine imports to France continue, surprisingly given the demand for massive crisis distillation, to grow: up +24% in February, to 38.8 million euros. Substantially stable was the figure for Switzerland, at €60.5 million, with neighboring Austria increasing purchases by 3.5%, to €18.5 million. Reassuring, as anticipated, is the figure for Germany, which imported 169.7 million of Italian wine in the first two months of 2023, 11.7% more than the same period in 2022. The Netherlands also did well, marking +6.9% in the period, coming in at 32.2 million euros of imported Italian wine, with neighboring Belgium at 34.3 million euros (+2.6%).

The sore points come, however, from Great Britain, which, in February 2023, stops at 90.6 million euros of Italian wine purchased, with a thunderous drop: -17.2%, slightly recovering from the -19% in January. In the Scandinavian markets, Denmark loses a little (-3.4%), at 22.7 million euros, but both Sweden (+5.7%) and Norway (+7.7%) grow, thus reaching 30.9 and 15 million euros. No longer a surprise among European markets is the growth of Russia, which, after a few months of settling down, has returned to look with its usual interest at Italian wine, which grew +7.2% to 21.3 million euros.

Moving overseas, imports of Italian wine to the United States, the locomotive of our exports, accelerate; in the first two months of 2023, they mark an excellent +11.6%, at 262.8 million euros. The other side of the coin, on the North American market, is Canada, where shipments of Italian wine mark a drop of -22.3%, to just 48.1 million euros, i.e., the same level as in 2021, when, however, the world was in the midst of a pandemic, and wine shipments, globally, recorded a generalized collapse.

Then there are the markets of Asia, which, after a nightmarish January 2023, are showing signs of awakening, although they all remain in the negative camp. Japan loses 3.5%, stopping at 25.8 million euros of imported Italian wine; China marks -40%, at just 8.9 million euros of turnover; South Korea loses another 22%, ending the first two months of 2023 with 8.3 million euros of imported Italian wine; and Hong Kong marks -11.7%, at 3.4 million euros of imports.

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