Allegrini 2018

Sales of Italian wine were down in the first quarter of 2023 on the shelves in the UK, USA and Germany

UIV & Vinitaly Wine Observatory (based on NielsenIQ): -4% in volume and -1% in value. Bubbles did even worse (-5%), especially in the UK and Germany

In the first quarter of 2023, Italian wine sales on mass retail channels in the USA, UK and Germany closed in the red (-4% in volume and -1% in value). The most recent calculations of the UIV-Vinitaly Wine Observatory (based on NielsenIQ) revealed the drop, and it paired to results of shelf sales in Italy in March (-6.1%), and weighs heavily on Italian wineries also in terms of inventories, +5.1%, and PDOs at +8.6%. Surprisingly, though, sparkling wines suffered the most on the three main export markets. Volumes for still wines were down 3% (814.000 hectoliters), sparkling wines plummeted to -5% (245. 000 hectoliters), with higher negative peaks in the UK (-10%) and Germany (-6%), while in the USA, volumes are still moderately positive (+1%). Regarding still wines, however, the United States registered the most conspicuous drop (-9%), while London limited losses to -1% and Berlin was stable. In terms of value, thanks to the rising price lists due to production surplus costs, the general balance showed -1% (1 billion euros).
Observing sales data of the main wine typologies, signs are increasingly evident, in many cases, of the crisis in purchasing power. As a matter of fact, even though price increases are not exceptional, they are almost automatically associated to a decrease in sales as well as looking for alternative/similar and cheaper products. On the German market, for instance, this is true for Chianti Classico and Chianti or for Primitivo, as well as for Italian sparkling wines; therefore, they prefer German sparklings or other low-cost Italian products to Prosecco. On the American market, negative data includes all the main Italian productions from Pinot Grigio to Lambrusco, Chianti, Piedmont and Tuscan reds. In the UK, sales of Sangiovese-based wines - mostly Tuscan - and private label Pinot Grigio are plummeting, which now costs more than the company-branded version. Prosecco, both its own brand and the distributors’, is also falling sharply, and, instead, the Rosé wines are stable.
Paolo Castelletti, General Secretary of the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), explained, “in this moment, the wine sector is doubly challenged. On the one hand, there is the ever-increasing difficulty of consumers who are struggling with the pressure of inflation, while on the other, companies find it impossible to return from an unprecedented surplus of production costs, starting from the cost of glass, up +70% in 12 months. We hope”. Castelletti continued, “that the sector will react all in the same way at the supply chain table the Ministry of Agricultural Policies has called for on May 10th to examine the market situation, in view of making another request to the European Commission regarding intervention measures aimed at dealing with the wine sector crisis. Italian wine companies believe that before buffer solutions come up again as they do at each crisis, an in-depth analysis is necessary, including proposals for improvements in the dynamics of the supply chain”.

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