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Allegrini 2018
WINE AND TERRITORY

Prosecco Docg, a “cultural” product flying towards 100 million bottles in 2021

The Report of the Consortium led by Elvira Bortolomiol, with reflections by sociologists Enzo Risso (Ipsos) and Aldo Bonomi (Aaster)

If Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, which originates from the Unesco hills, has held its own in 2020 during the height of the pandemic and has returned to growth in 2021, it is because it is increasingly perceived as a cultural product, linked to its territory, in tune with the spirit of the times, which wants, in every field, products that have stories to tell, that are the expression of the work of a community and the bearers of values that, in this case, they are first and foremost the symbiosis with its territory and its inhabitants, the result of many investments over the years in environmental and social sustainability, but also the embodiment of a lifestyle, that of Made in Italy made up of beauty, which can be found in the landscape shaped by man's work, and goodness, which can be found in bottles that are sold all over the world. This is, in a nutshell, the picture that emerges from the Economic Report commissioned by the Consortium led by Elvira Bortolomiol and directed by Diego Tomasi, with contributions from, among others, sociologists such as Enzo Risso, director of Ipsos, and Aldo Bonomi, founder of Aaster. The data, illustrated by Professor Eugenio Pomarici of the University of Padua, is clear: after 2020, in which more than 92 million bottles of Prosecco Docg were sold for a value of 526 million euros (with an increase in Rive, the most characteristic type of wine in the area, which grew by 14% in volume and 36% in value), the 2021 figures (updated in October) show growth in certifications of 12% over 2020, with an estimated closure, now certain, of more than 100 million bottles. “And this”, Pomarici emphasizes, “after a 2021 harvest without any quantitative restrictions with respect to the specifications, stocks released and inventories at a minimum, and bulk values that are not as high as in 2017-2018, but still important, at around 2.6 euros per liter”.
As Pomarici himself points out, this success is due to the ability of the Consortium and the companies to push for market diversification, supply control based on demand, but also sustainability and digitalization. But if Prosecco Docg is a wine that is able to tell the story of Made in Italy, as evidenced by its presence, the only wine consortium in Italy, at the recent table of the “Stati Generali della Lingua e della Creatività Italiane nel Mondo” (States General of Italian Language and Creativity in the World) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as recalled by economist and professor at Bocconi University, Severino Salvemini, today this wine represents something more. “The growth of Prosecco Docg”, said Enzo Risso, director of Ipsos, “is part of a context in which, despite the many problems that still exist, consumer confidence in the world has grown over 2020. But also in a period in which, according to our surveys, people in Italy are thinking about important changes in their lives, especially among women. But also in a context where climate change, cyber security, pandemic and instability, resource risks and social conflict are among the most widespread concerns. And where there is a growing desire to buy local, something that 63% of families now do (5% more than in the pre-pandemic period), which is closely linked to an increasingly global vision of sustainability on the part of consumers, which looks at the environment but also at the relationship between companies and their employees and the community in which they operate. And also in a context in which”, adds Risso, “wine consumption is polarising, with growth in the price bands below 6 euros per bottle and above 10 euros, while those in between suffer.
In this context, Prosecco Docg has a top wine value profile: 74% of Italian consumers know the designation, and for 80% it is a wine that makes you feel good, inspires friendship, is born in symbiosis with the territory, is trendy and is perceived as a cultural product. And it is perceived as an elegant, traditional, authentic, cheerful and fresh wine. All these characteristics are in line with the trends that will guide the evolution of consumption in the next few years: the search for naturalness, for products that embody the “genius loci”, for refinement in pairing with food, for “limit editions” and so on”. Prosecco Docg’s success was built by what was “a community of care”, which saved the territory, “which is a social construction”, and Glera, and which then became “an industrious community”, and now must become “a community of care extended to other denominations and beyond”, added sociologist Aldo Bonomi. “Today we are in a world where Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is no longer the parameter, but where we think about well-being in a broader way. And it is what are called “civic virtues” that must precede the economy, not vice versa. Without civic virtues, there would be no Unesco recognition, for example. This is an area that has a memory of what it was, where rural wisdom met research and economic development. And it has been able to evolve, remaining open to comparison. And which now faces new challenges. Such as that of continuing to grow its knowledge, which must be confronted with the ecological crisis and the issue of sustainability, slow tourism, a market made up of “short networks” and territorial and “long networks” with a global dimension. The value of cooperation that holds together 200 companies and 3,000 employees, whose evolution is the Consortium, must be all the stronger in future generations. With the Consortium being challenged”, said Bonomi, “to hold together numbers, denominations, identities, farmers, bottlers and representative forces, but also to defend itself from threats such as Prosék. The challenges ahead are on digital platforms and agricultural platforms, but if you don’t keep the social platform, everything collapses. And storytelling is not enough, we need a story made up of poetry too”.
“There are many insights to be gained from this report”, says Elvira Bortolomiol, president of the Consortium for the Protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, “the figures tell us that we are healthy. Cohesion, strength and commitment on the part of producers and winegrowers have been decisive in these difficult times of transition, and the work on sustainability has paid off. For the denomination, in particular, it was a year in which we managed to achieve great results in terms of quantity, exceeding 100 million bottles, but the goal we are most proud of is that of quality. The consumer, despite the economic scenario, continues to recognize a value of which we are proud. I believe that this is also the result of the harmony we have reached with consumers, particularly with regard to values such as the sustainability of the production chain and the protection of local areas. For us the territory is an integral part of the value of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg, together they are the future heritage of our community, which has been fundamental. As was the cooperation between everyone, and all the more so for future generations”.

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