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Allegrini 2018

Italian wine is growing beyond pandemic and war. The numbers from Valoritalia, No. 1 certifying body

Price and brand awareness first criteria for consumer choice, but value of organic and sustainability certifications grows

A surprisingly healthy Italian wine, given the general economic and geopolitical context, with the value of “certifications”, whether related to appellations, organic or sustainability, becoming increasingly important. This is the picture that emerges from the “Annual Report” 2022 of Valoritalia, the most important Italian wine certification body, today, in Rome. From which it emerges that “despite the difficult years, with sometimes catastrophic forecasts, sales are growing in double digits in volume (+12%) and not only thanks to the surge in online sales. A surprising balance in many ways”, stressed Francesco Liantonio, president of Valoritalia, “if we take into account what has happened in the last three years. Our denominations of origin have achieved an extraordinary performance, recording record growth, the result of the ability shown by our companies to seize every opportunity, cover every space, manage their potential to the fullest, and optimize resources and relationships”. Results that instill optimism, not only among industry players. Leading the way remains the Northeast, with Pinot Grigio delle Venezie and the so-called “Prosecco System” (which includes the Prosecco DOC and the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Asolo DOCGs), with an overall growth that, in the two-year period 2020-2021, touched 22.7%, for a total of just under one billion bottles. But, also of note are the soaring figures for other prestigious appellations, such as Brunello di Montalcino (+40%), Barolo (+27%), Gavi (+23%), Franciacorta (+12%), Chianti Classico (+11%), and Nobile di Montepulciano (+10%).
“There is truly a great deal of interesting data emerging from our Annual Report”, commented Valoritalia’s managing director, Giuseppe Liberatore, “a mass of information produced by a staff of 231 collaborators and 1,250 qualified consultants, distributed practically throughout the country. A close-knit team that daily analyzes carefully 47 DOCG, 134 DOC, 37 IGT and manages 5,000 types of wine. Today we certify almost 20 million hectoliters, equivalent to 56 percent of the national production of all Do, for a total of almost 2.1 billion bottles (for a value approaching 10 billion euros, ed.). Our system handles the movements of 95,000 operators representing a large part of the entire wine sector. An extremely sophisticated organizational machine, unique in its kind, which constitutes a kind of worldwide benchmark”.
A capillary work for the realization of a volume that in this edition is enriched with new content. For the first time, in fact, the chemical-analytical profiles of 56 Doc and Docg wines are made available. An in-depth study that has generated 60 tables whose base consists of 176,000 analyses, carried out between January 2017 and March 2022 by a network of accredited laboratories. A very valuable tool that can provide information on the main indicators that characterize the different vintages of each appellation, such as average alcohol content, acidity and dry extract. However, the future goal of Valoritalia is to progressively make usable to entrepreneurs, researchers and specialists, primarily oenologists, a complete and systematic data base of the analytical profile of all certified appellations, including the different types. A tool that will help define the specificities of each wine and accurately attribute vintage characters.
Finally, the Nomisma survey reserved an interesting space for the comparison between Italian and German consumers. This was not a random choice, taking into account that the Teutonic one remains, after the U.S., the main reference market for our wines, with an export value that, in 2021, reached 1.1 billion euros. In Germany, our labels beat those of France in the frequency of consumption (64 percent of Germans have drunk at least one Italian wine in the last 12 months), while we rank behind our transalpine cousins in the challenge on the perception of quality. The survey also shows that, in both countries, elements such as brand awareness, organic labeling and certification of sustainability, with marked sensitivity to production methods that respect environmental resources, origin and traceability of the supply chain, are what direct consumers' choices. Finally, there is no shortage, in Germany as in Italy, of more sensitive consumers, who point the spotlight on the company’s social and economic responsibility. A message that the Italian manufacturing world seems to have grasped and that has been determining the strategies of companies for some time, both in terms of production and communication and marketing. And the future, at least according to 75% of the 141 companies surveyed by Nomisma, belongs to sustainable and organic wines. A percentage still in the minority, but still growing compared to previous years, then points to low-alcohol, vegan or even alcohol-free wines.
“The survey, conducted on a sample of 1,000 Italian and an equal number of German consumers, shows several similarities”, explained Denis Pantini, Nomisma Wine Monitor Agribusiness Manager, “but also decidedly different approaches: for example, in home consumption both look mainly at territorial origin and brand awareness. But when leaving home and consuming in a restaurant or winebar, things change. For Italians, there are few differences from indoor consumption, while the German consumer prefers to be guided by the owner or wait staff. Italians focus a lot on geographical indication, Germans more on grape variety”.

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