02-Planeta_manchette_175x100
Allegrini 2018
WINE ECONOMY

The Italian wine sector is the No. 1 of the agri-food industry. The Unicredit and Nomisma “rating”

The message of “Vinitaly Special Edition”: transforming the rebound into structural growth with the work of companies, banks, trade fairs, institution

The Italian wine industry confirms its position at the top of the agri-food industry. In terms of production value, market projection (with exports growing by 60% from 2000 to 2020) and more. And this despite a fully pandemic 2020 that has put a strain on a sector that, however, in 2021, especially in its second half, is experiencing a rebound that, however, the work of companies, banks, trade fairs and institutions must be able to transform into structural growth. This is the message emerging at the start of “Vinitaly Special Edition”, October 17-19 in Verona, which, despite an event with necessarily very limited numbers, marks the restart not only of the market but also of fairs in what is “our third initiative after Opera Wine and Vinitaly Preview, and which marks the restart of a trade fair sector from which companies develop over 50% of their exports”, said President of VeronaFiere and Aefi, Maurizio Danese. At the centre, as mentioned, is the wine supply chain (represented here by over 400 of the most important names in Italy). Which, with a value of 68 points, takes first place in the classification of the “AGRI4index”, the super-index created by Nomisma for UniCredit, able to provide the level of the strategic importance of the supply chain for the Italian agro-foods system and its competitive positioning.
Wine’s scoring surpasses that of the dairy chain (second with 56), pasta (54) and fruit and vegetables (51) and, in comparison at the European level, places us above Spain (48) but behind France (76). The joint examination of an analytical and homogeneous set of more than 60 indicators referring to 4 “domains” (structure, production, market and economic-financial performance) has thus made it possible to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the individual supply chain and to contextualize them in the evolving market scenario, at the same time identifying interventions and development paths that have been shared with the main stakeholders in the same supply chain (companies, representative associations, protection consortia).
The analysis, which took into consideration the major integrated supply chains of the Italian agri-food industry (those in which both the production and processing phases take place within Italy, and which are worth over 38 billion euros in production, or 73% of the country’s agricultural production, and over 86 billion in turnover), shows that wine is No. 2 in terms of structure, but at the top in all other indicators. With absolute excellence at regional level, starting with Veneto, the leading region (“and the fourth largest wine exporter in the world, with over 2.4 billion euros”, emphasized the president of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia) according to the “AGRI4index”, with 89 points, ahead of Tuscany and Alto Adige with 77, and Piedmont 72 (four regions that together account for over 77% of national exports, ed.), Sicily 69, Emilia Romagna 68, Puglia 65 and Abruzzo 62.
The Nomisma-UniCredit study has once again highlighted how, in a European comparison, the Italian wine-growing and wine-producing sector has a greater weight in the national sphere than the French and Spanish sectors in terms of the value expressed both in the agricultural production phase (17% compared to 15% in France) and in the industrial phase (8% compared to 7%), while on the export front the incidence of wine on cross-border sales of (processed) food products stops at 18% compared to 21% in France.

One of the main gaps to be bridged with the French, with whom Italy has always competed for the leadership in world exports, is the price positioning, which even today, after years of significant revaluations (in the last twenty years, the average export price of Italian still wines has grown by over 50%) still shows a 76% differential in favor of the French.
“The evolutionary scenario for the Italian wine production chain is full of new challenges but also of significant opportunities that, in order to be seized, require investments in innovation - digital, technical and agronomic - in the direct control of foreign markets, in the aggregation of supply and in the growth in size of individual companies. These are some of the main interventions whose need has been recognized for years but which, with the changes that have taken place in the post-Covid scenario, can no longer be put off”, stressed Denis Pantini, head of agri-food at Nomisma.
“This Vinitaly has a different flavor than usual, because it represents a new start. Wine production”, said Unicredit President Pier Carlo Padoan, “is one of the sectors that is driving the recovery of Made in Italy on world markets, thanks to repositioning in line with the characteristics of foreign demand and the excellent quality of products. The pandemic crisis had strong repercussions on exports, Italy, in general, made -14.5% in real terms in 2020, but then things changed, and the country showed signs of being able to restart that no one expected. Those who work in the economy must be able to give as much strength as possible to this rebound that we are experiencing. From this point of view, the relationship between businesses and banks must change, and they must work together to support this transition phase and also increase the size of individual businesses. Unicredit”, Padoan continued, “intends to offer itself as a partner of reference for operators in the sector with concrete actions, such as the now consolidated partnership with Vinitaly and collaboration with Nomisma to analyze the world of Italian wine in even greater detail. In particular, the innovative approach we have adopted has enabled us to enhance the concept of the supply chain as a compulsory way of increasing competitiveness and translate this into new business opportunities, as witnessed by the “Supply Chain Basket Bond” program, which in recent months has led Unicredit to subscribe as the first tranche of a 200-million-euro plan for bonds issued by companies in the wine sector”.
“We are approaching the 7 billion euro mark in exports”, stressed Paolo De Castro, coordinator of the Socialists & Democrats Commission on Agriculture in the EU Parliament and chairman of the Nomisma Scientific Committee, “an enormous figure. And there is still plenty of room for growth. But quality is now a necessary but not sufficient condition; we also need to invest in organizational structure. But in any case, we are regaining market share and presence, and we are also improving on the average price, even if we still have to grow a lot. We have a reform of the CAP coming up, from 2023, which contains very important measures for the wine sector. And it must be said that much of the Italian success in recent years is linked to the CMO, which this reform confirms and broadens, because we still need robust investment in promotion and investment. From 1 January 2023, for example, it will be possible to invest in the same market for several years, something that was lacking in the previous CMOs and which was a critical point that was highlighted several times. But there are many delicate games being played in Europe, where the future is at stake. The ecological transition”, De Castro concluded, “is a path that must be taken, but, as in the Farm to Fork framework, no one must be left behind. To face challenges that require innovation to win. I’m thinking of everything that can reduce chemistry, resistant vines thanks to genetics, precision agriculture. Which are going ahead thanks also to the many young people who have been returning to agriculture for years, and that's important, because young people come back if there's income, and they know how to bring innovation into the future”.
However, the contribution of the entire “country system” is fundamental for the wine chain. Starting with ICE, “which in recent months has never stopped and has also invested heavily in digital channels, creating 31 online showcases in various countries dedicated to Made in Italy, 12 of which specifically for wine in collaboration with organizations such as Tannico or Eataly”, recalled the President of the Agency, Carlo Ferro. Or the fairs themselves, starting with Vinitaly, “which is a great platform for supporting the business of companies in Italy and around the world, but also for relations and communication”, stressed VeronaFiere Director Giovanni Mantovani, “and having developed the fair also as a driver of support for companies, communication and knowledge of markets, with specific tools, has given Vinitaly a central role in dialogue with wine companies. Digital”, said Mantovani, “will be part of the new way of holding exhibitions, and with our "Vinitaly plus" platform, we are now at the exhibition 365 days a year. In 2022, competition in the exhibition sector will be even more important and complex than before, it will be more difficult to attract buyers, for example, and therefore a more qualified offer will be required. All the indicators, for example, tell us that even next year we will not have the Asian market physically present, but we will have to reach it anyway. We already have our own trade fair player in Asia”, emphasized Mantovani, “we are studying the possibility of doing a similar initiative in the USA, and we want to be ideal companions for companies in Europe too”.
The Minister for Agricultural Policies Stefano Patuanelli closed by recalling the many challenges awaiting Italian wine in Europe. “Wine is excellence, culture, the ability of Italians to link products of the land and territories, and we must increase the added value of a virtuous chain that redistributes it. But there are many elements that worry us and on which we must work carefully. I am thinking of health policies, which in the name of health would like to standardize the food model, the same for everyone. But this is not possible, and in particular the moderate way of drinking, the glass of wine per meal of the Mediterranean diet, which is well-being, we will not let anyone attack it, whether it be Europe or the UN. I am thinking of the PDO and PGI system, which works well but is under attack. I am thinking of the issue of the name Prosek, which Croatia wants to protect: if the EU were to allow this, it would be like institutionalizing Italian Sounding and we will not allow it. We are working on a memorandum of opposition to the Croatian position, also with Undersecretary Gianmarco Centinaio, which is unassailable. We are working on a memorandum of opposition to the Croatian position, also with Undersecretary Gianmarco Centinaio, which will be unassailable, not least because Prosecco is an added value for the whole of Made in Italy, as well as for wine, and we will not allow what happened with Tocai with Hungary to happen again”.
Messages and programs coming from the opening of “Vinitaly Special Edition”, from which the wine sector starts off again to write its future in what, as they say these days, will be the “new normality”.

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