Consorzio Collio 2024 (175x100)

Sicily, Italy’s second-largest vineyard (and No. 1 for organic) grows, driven by its white wines

Unicredit-Nomisma Wine Monitor numbers in the launch of “Sicilia en Primeur” 2024, May 9-11 in Cefalù, directed by Assovini Sicilia

Enhanced, over the years, by a choral project such as Doc Sicilia, and by singularities that have begun to shine in their own light, such as Etna or the Val di Noto, the Sicily of wine has become one of the most prominent regions of Italian wine, thanks to the investments in research, quality and high-level hospitality made by so many enlightened wineries capable, more than in other areas of Italy, of working together, with “visionary” projects such as that of Assovini Sicilia, founded 25 years ago by the three “noble fathers” of Sicilian wine: Diego Planeta, Giacomo Rallo (Donnafugata) and Lucio Tasca (Tasca d’Almerita). A quarter of a century falls in the 20 years of “Sicilia en Primeur”, the main event of the Sicilian wine continent, staged in Cefalù May 9-11. “Cultivating the future” is the theme of the 2024 edition chosen by Assovini, led by Mariangela Cambria (Cottanera), and presented, today in Palermo, along with a Unicredit-Nomisma Wine Monitor study. From this, it emerges that Sicily is the second largest “vineyard” in Italy, with 95,760 hectares under cultivation, and is the first region in terms of organic vineyard area. With a sector that, despite a very complicated 2023 between war, inflation, and with the long wave of changing consumption and the effects of climate change, has held up. White wines and organic crops are driving Sicily, the study explains, withstanding the contraction of grape harvests in the last harvest due to extreme weather events and the blight attack. On the export front in 2023, exports of PDO red wines (74 million euros for 19.7 million liters, -4%) are flexing, while exports of PDO still white wines are growing (41 million euros for 10.2 million liters, +7 %). Sicilian PDO white wine exports grow in the United States (+29%), followed by Canada (+13.9%) and Germany (+6.8%). For Sicilian PDO reds, the greatest export growth is in France (+7.5%), followed by the United Kingdom (+6.8%). With an important growth in average value: in 5 years, in fact, from 2018 to 2023, Sicilian whites grew by 29.6%, from 3.14 to 4.07 euros per liter, and reds by +37.4%, from 2.7 to 3.7 euros per liter.
However, it should be pointed out that Istat’s export data take into account the place of shipment abroad, so the quantities of Sicilian wine that do not leave directly from Sicily for foreign countries, but from ports located in other regions to which these product volumes are counted as wine exports, escape. So it is estimated that in reality the foreign trade of Sicilian wines and musts is higher than the official Istat figures. Positive data also come from large-scale organized distribution where sales of regional PDO wines grew 5.3% in value (against a national average of +3.4%) and +0.3% in volume (against a decline of -1.9%).
The 2024 edition of the Observatory was enriched by the results of a survey involving 1,000 Italian wine consumers, representative of the Italian population by gender, age and territorial residence. The objectives of the survey were, among others, to assess the notoriety of the main appellation wines in the consumer, identify the regions most valued in wine production by type, and show consumption behaviors at the territorial level (frequency, purchasing channels, etc.), and the perception of the Sicily brand. Sicilian labels ranked fifth behind wines from Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto, Tuscany and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Among red wines, the island drops to sixth place, but rises to third for white wines. Leading this “white” growth is Grillo, which is the first Sicilian wine that comes to mind, ahead of Inzolia and Nero d’Avola.
“The UniCredit-Nomisma study highlights an evolving global and domestic wine market, both for reasons internal to the sector and for broader dynamics pertaining to the economic and geopolitical spheres. It is precisely for this reason that UniCredit is committed to renewing the range of support tools for the sector, to be flanked by traditional credit support. I am thinking, for example, of the 1 billion euro ceiling of the “UniCredit for Italy” initiative to support investments by agricultural and agribusiness enterprises, minibond bond issues, and the renewed set-up of our network with the presence of agribusiness managers and specialists, who are able to support in an even more targeted way the realities of the sector”, stressed Salvatore Malandrino, UniCredit Sicily Regional Manager.
From here, then, the Sicilian wine industry looks to the future, starting again from its princely event. “Sicilia en Primeur” 2024 will be a special edition with a double birthday: 25 years since the founding of Assovini Sicilia and 20 years since the first edition of “Sicilia en Primeur”. “Assovini, which today brings together 100 wineries, is a protagonist in the history of Sicilian winemaking and its revolution, thanks to the extraordinary vision of its founders and the commitment of its successors and the companies that have worked over the years to promote Sicilian wine as a cultural ambassador in the world, enhancing the diversity of the Sicilian wine continent”, commented Mariangela Cambria, president of Assovini Sicilia. More than one hundred journalists, including Italian and foreign press, will attend the event, whose protagonists are 59 companies, and to whom will be added the newly appointed “home-grown” Master of Wine, Sicilian Pietro Russo, along with industry professionals who will lead the scheduled technical seminars.

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