Allegrini 2024

The Italian wine industry, worth 31.3 billion euros, in an all-business “Vinitaly”

For the product with the best trade balance of made in Italy, an increasingly professional fair between business, tasting and insights

A “Vinitaly 2023” that will be focused on business, internationalization (with more than 1,000 top buyers attending, +43% over 2022, from 68 selected countries, invited and hosted by Veronafiere, in collaboration with Ice Agenzia), to give even more impetus to a wine supply chain that is the “4A” sector of Made in Italy excellence (Agroalimentare, Arredamento, Abbigliamento e Automazione, i.e. Agribusiness, Furniture, Clothing and Automation) no. 1 ever in terms of trade balance surplus, at +7.4 billion euros, for a supply chain that, as a whole, is worth 31.3 billion euros in turnover developed by 530 companies and 870,000 employees, the identikit of a strategic sector for the entire made in Italy, always flaunted, but which, at times, does not get the consideration it deserves. This is the extreme summary of the messages, launched today, in Rome, at the press conference for the presentation of “Vinitaly 2023”, staged from April 2 to 5, at VeronaFiere in Verona, and which will be preceded, as per tradition, by the “Opera Wine” tasting, on April 1, at the Ex Gallerie Mercatali, with the 130 most representative wineries of Italy, selected by the famous U.S. magazine “Wine Spectator” with their best wines. For an increasing business and commercial fair that does not forget wine lovers, to whom the city of Verona opens with “Vinitaly and the City”.
“Too often wine is not considered”, said Veronafiere CEO Maurizio Danese, “by the business community for its true size. The sector, with its companies, has grown and refined its managerial skills to the point of becoming a strategic capital of the Italian product. This is why “Vinitaly”, also in light of the controversy of some lobbies that would like to downplay its economic and social significance, wanted this year to focus on an analysis capable of defining the real value of the sector. We are convinced that wine is an extraordinary wealth for Italy and that, as the numbers presented in the report attest, the road to further growth must necessarily pass through exports. This is also the goal of a “Vinitaly” that has allocated a large part of its resources in function of a global enlargement of the business audience and for the rooting abroad on merging and mature markets”. And the numbers speak for themselves, as the analysis by the Uiv/Vinitaly Observatory and Prometeia explains. According to which the wine industry of the Belpaese is worth 31.3 billion euros, engages 530,00 companies, with 870,000 employees, and is at the top of the special ranking related to the trade balance of “traditional” made in Italy, that of the “4As”, which is worth every year, a total of 200 billion euros.
“The contribution of wine”, states the analysis, presented by Carlo Flamini (Uiv - Unione Italiana Vini) and Giuseppe Schirone (Prometeia), “is not limited to the agri-food chain, but expands to the made in Italy as a whole: from the analysis of more than 40 sectors representative of the so-called “4As”, wine, with 7.4 billion euros of net exports, ranks first in 2022 in terms of the level of the trade balance, leaving behind other champions of Made in Italy in the world, both the fashion system and instrumental mechanics. A climb, that of the most sought-after Italian agricultural product in the world, which started from fourth place in 2011 up to today’s performance, with the overtaking of other iconic sectors of the Italian lifestyle such as jewelry/ costume jewelry (+6.8 billion euros), leather goods (+6.7 billion euros) and clothing (+6.4 billion euros).
The report, moreover, quantified the numbers expressed by the wine supply chain starting from the vineyard to the distribution and commercial stage, integrating them with those of related sectors, which are also counted among the peaks of excellence of Made in Italy. The “core” supply chain - cultivation/production and sales/distribution - is worth 26.2 billion euros (16.4 billion euros the production part and 9.8 billion euros retail/ wholesale sales), employs 836,000 people with 526,000 companies. The “related” supply chain (vineyard, winery and quality control/certification technologies and machinery) has 1,850 companies, employing 34,000 people, with a turnover of 5.1 billion euros. Adding together the direct and indirect channels of the “core” supply chain, in Italy (thus excluding exports) the Horeca-wholesale-wineshop segment has a 58% share of the total, followed by 25% of large-scale distribution and 18% of direct sales in wineries. The “related” supply chain counts on the vineyard part with equipment for planting, plant protection, fertilizers, mechanization companies (10,200 employees, 2 billion euros); the winery, composed of companies producing machinery and equipment for processing, winemaking, bottling in addition to dry raw materials (20,000 employees, 2.9 billion euros); and quality control (3,500 employees, 150 million euros). In Italy there are 29.4 million wine consumers (55% of the population), of these 42% are daily. The average annual growth of consumers up to 44 years old (34% of the total) has decreased by 2.1% from 2008 to 2021.
But the hallmark of the wine industry is undoubtedly the level of internationalization. With 7.9 billion euros exported in 2022, foreign sales hit an all-time high, generating more than 54% of the sector’s turnover and confirming the wine industry clearly at the top of the food sector export ranking. “A result”, the report states, “obtained at the end of a decade in which, with a cumulative growth close to 80%, the sector was one of the main players in the overall acceleration of Italian food exports. Without the contribution of wine, which has an export propensity double that of other food and beverages (54.5% vs. 27.3%), the food trade surplus would be 64% lower”. According to the analysis of the Uiv/Vinitaly Observatory and Prometeia, this natural vocation for export also determines a “pathfinder” role for the benefit of other agribusiness sectors. In fact, it is estimated that, over the past 15 years, each additional point of growth in wine exports is associated - two years later - with a growth of 0.8% points on average for other food products.
There is no shortage, however, of risks for a sector that, compared to food as a whole, is more exposed to cyclical fluctuations dictated by the economy and/or exogenous factors: in particular, the ability to measure up to the challenges posed by climate change will be crucial: to cope with “transition risks” (investments needed to support pathways to sustainability), for example, the wine sector may have to allocate, on an annual basis, resources equal to 0.7% of its turnover between now and 2050. For a counter value of more than 100 million euros per year and a total investment of 2.7 billion euros.

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