Allegrini 2024

Oscar Farinetti: “wine is on the upswing; it’s time to stop complaining and learn to live with Covid”

The founder of Eataly, and wine producer with the Fontanafredda Group told WineNews, "high quality and low prices will do well. But in between ... "
Oscar Farinetti at the Fontanafredda winery

Oscar Farinetti is one of the most visionary Made in Italy entrepreneurs, and the founder of Eataly, the only true outpost of Italian wine & food in the world. He told WineNews the wine sector is recovering in a real and tangible way, especially in the US and Asia, while hand in hand with managing the Covid-19 crisis, recovery is going much slower elsewhere, which will be the trend until the end of the year. He said that we should learn to live with Covid, and be aware that, with all due respect to the fans of "resilience", nothing will be the same again, not even in the wine sector. It will be more and more extremes, that is, those who make very high quality, and lowest prices will do well, while everything in between will do poorly. Farinetti is the founder of Eataly - whose CEO is one of Oscar's sons, Nicola Farinetti - but he is also a wine producer, at the galaxy that revolves around the Fontanafredda Group, directed by his other son, Andrea Farinetti (Fontanafredda and Borgogno, in the Langhe, Le Vigne di Zamò, Friuli, then the Cantine of the Castle of Santa Vittoria, Roero, San Romano, in Dogliani, Brandini in La Morra, and Serafini & Vidotto, Veneto, as well as Il Colombaio di Cencio, Chianti Classico, and Palmento Carranco, in joint venture with Tornatore, on Etna). He likes to define himself as a producer and a merchant, and has a global vision like few others, and whom WineNews interviewed at VinoxRoma.
Although there is conflicting news from Italy and many countries around the world about the Pandemic getting worse, Farinetti has no doubts. “The wine market is definitely picking up, but I’d say even more, it has never really closed down that much; other sectors have done much worse. Clearly, producers very closely linked to the HO.RE.CA. and catering markets have suffered, but people have been drinking at home a lot, in recent months. So, those who were on the mass-market retail and used direct sales, for example, sold a lot. Now that things have started up again, let's stop complaining and think about the future”. Oscar Farinetti has a clear vision, though as often happens, divisive, about the near future, which the Pandemic will still dominate. “We must learn to live with Covid, and stop the taboo of death. It is true, we die, but we have lived. Maybe I'll die too, but I have lived so well...”
There is no uncertainty that there are differences in the areas around the world restarting, as the words of the Piedmont entrepreneur confirm, “North America is fine. The US is a country that switches off and on suddenly, and in the USA we have seen the same numbers as in 2019. All of Asia is doing very well, while Europe is the "Old World", and like all old people is a little slower to react, so we are in trouble. It will take a long time here, and I don't see anything too positive, at least until December”.
According to Farinetti, the certainty is that despite a lot of talk about "resilience", i.e., the ability to return to exactly what life was before the Pandemic, nothing would ever be the same. He has a very cutting vision indeed. “The “hourglass effect" will be more and more central, Farinetti explained, “that is, the best will become even better, and the worst will show that there is no limit to the worst. This is what it will be like for everything, even for wine. Those who produce quality and clean wine will sell much more, and those who make top price wine will also sell a lot, while those in the middle will sell nothing. We have to choose which side of the hourglass to be on”.

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