Allegrini 2024

Pinot Grigio delle Venezie has conquered the market. Now we need to narrate its territory

The Consortium has planned strategies to promote and enhance the white wine from Triveneto, according to Wine Intelligence, Vivino, Wine Folly, and more.

The popularity of Pinot Grigio is definitely undisputed the world over. Among others, this has been confirmed by data and evaluations of Wine Intelligence, preferences and research identified by VIVINO, and the education data platform of Wine Folly, as demonstrated at the International Forum, organized by the Consortium for the Protection of Vini DOC Delle Venezie, held recently in Verona. However, the last mile is still missing. That is, the uniqueness of the Triveneto of the Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie territorial origins is not yet sufficiently widespread and well known, not only abroad, but in Italy as well. The gap needs to be filled by working on multiple aspects to increase its reputation, based on Italian style, which has made it successful all over the world. We need to point out, though, that today, the Denomination boasts numbers that go against the sector trend in the not so rosy economic situation. In fact, the denomination grew +10% in bottled volumes in September, while stocks decreased 15% over the same period in 2022, of a wine characterized by primary aromas of fresh fruit, such as lemon, lime, pear, peach, white nectarine and apple, honeyed or floral notes, hints of minerals and nice acidity, and that takes on different nuances based on the cultivation area and the producer’s intervention.
The world production of Pinot Grigio is 50% Italian, and 250 million bottles, of which 233 million (in 2022) are “Delle Venezie” DOC. It is a pillar denomination of the Italian wine economy, number one in terms of extension - 27.000 hectares in the province of Trento, in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is in second place in terms of number of bottles produced. The total turnover is more than 1 billion euros, exporting 96%. Therefore, these numbers at hand, it cannot help but pay close attention to the dynamics of the markets and consumption, to be able to decipher the prospects and develop positioning strategies especially on the main markets but also in Italy, where this wine is not as popular as it is abroad.
The USA is Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC’s number one market, at 37 % of consumption, followed by the UK (27%), Germany (10%) and Canada (7%). The United States counts 80 million regular consumers. “Analyzing the United States market is quite complicated”, Lulie Halstead, founder of Wine Intelligence and Non-executive Director IWSR- International wine and spirits research, pointed out, “because regular American consumers are not a single entity. In the 30 years that I have been dealing with wine, market and consumption dynamics have changed a lot. Producers no longer think about strategy and results on a range perspective, but have moved to a value perspective. In view of the decrease in volumes of wine consumed in the USA, from 2019 to 2022, value has consequently increased, and therefore a process of premiumization is now underway. As far as Generation Z is concerned, the percentage of abstainers is higher than that of consumers who have reached the age to drink alcohol (54% vs. 37%). Wine consumption, though, between 2010 and 2023 decreased only in the 21 to 24 year old range, while it is stable in the over sixty-five range, and has increased for all other age groups. Due to the decrease in volumes, there are more wine consumers who drink less in quantity and frequency, and who also drink other beverages. The demand for Pinot Grigio is stable and remains very high on the US wine market, at 42% in 2022, second only to Chardonnay, demonstrating how much American consumers love this grape variety. Our forecast is that in the future, consumption growth in the USA will be linked to premium quality products”.
VIVINO is the most important wine community in the world, counting more than 60 million people. It is a privileged observatory to grasp what the actual perception of Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie. The Protection Consortium has started a partnership together with VIVINO, which will make it possible to raise consumer awareness by generating culture and obtaining marketing research data to monitor the perception of the Denomination and understand consumer requests in greater depth. “Based on the app’s traffic over the last 12 months”, Kristi Paris, Head of Global Partnership VIVINO explained, “Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie is in fourth place in the USA, behind Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc from California, and Pinot Blanc from New Zealand. In terms of global positioning, Russia, Ukraine and Canada are the countries that have scanned more codes of Pinot Grigio over the last 12 months than other white wines. Its popularity is growing exceptionally well in Sweden, Holland and Australia. And, compared to the previous 12 months, there has been an increase in label scans in the USA and Canada. Further, over the last year, there users’ quality evaluations have improved, now placing it above average, especially in the USA and Brazil”.
The topmost important objective for the Consortium is understanding how to promote and increase the popularity of Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie around the world, in spite of some critical issues that have surfaced, such as price positioning. David Gluzman, CEO of Wine Folly, Canadian co-founder of many businesses not only in the wine sector, has an extraordinary observatory. Wine Folly is a platform founded in 2011, which deals with training, as well as producing area guides and maps. It counts over 20 million users a year and has sold 500.000 copies of its wine guide. “The younger generations, over the last year, have shown an impressive increase in interest searching for content related to Pinot Gris and, above all, Pinot Grigio. This emphasizes not only the popularity and ever-increasing appreciation of the grape vine, but also their interest in discovering its characteristics. The point, though, is how to make Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio well known and also loved. New generation consumers are less interested in scores, and more interested in local knowledge. Americans know Italy, but not the Triveneto area, so we need to focus on training and push experiences, tourism and maps that indicate the “cool”, wineries, restaurant etc., young people are looking for, relaunching on social medias and traceable through searches”. “Searching for “Pinot Grigio” on the Nexis database in all European languages has shown that Pinot Grigio is talked about a lot”, Felicity Carter, co-founder of the podcast and content “Business of Drinks”, confirmed. “It is interesting to note the associations that come about between Pinot Grigio and companies, such as Wine.com, which sells a lot of Pinot Grigio, and with famous people as well. All of this contributes to simultaneous promotion on the Internet. It is interesting to observe that Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie’s “neighbor”, Lugana, has achieved success in Germany, its current leading market, thanks to German tourists who have always been attracted to Lake Garda where they find it and love to drink it, then buy it and take it home. This is a strategy that Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie must focus on.
Daniele Cernilli, the wine critic, also confirmed all the suggestions to promote and enhance Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie at the Forum. “Pinot Grigio, together with Pinot Bianco, is a sort of “fraternal” twin of Pinot Noir”, he underlined, “which explains its genetic origins, as illustrated by Riccardo Velasco. We are talking about a less colorful version of the same grape variety and it is the protagonist of several paradoxes. It is an Italian wine, originating from a French grape variety, which has had extraordinary success in the USA, where it became enormously popular and has consolidated over the years, up to the present day.
What we must do is link this grape vine to the Triveneto territory, through the dynamic work of Delle Venezie DOC, since Pinot Grigio has found its uniqueness here. The beauty of these places are a value to present to the world”. All the suggestions were warmly welcomed by he Protection Consortium, “which has before it”, the president Albino Armani, concluded, “ the future of communication to make the characteristics of Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie clear and well known the world over”.

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