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The UniCredit-Nomisma study on Sicilian wine, one of Italy’s top, and its growth performance

Regional records (from organic wine to purchase prices on Etna). Sicily en Primeur 2023 by Assovini (May 9-13, Taormina and Radicepura)

The UniCredit-Nomisma study focusing on the state of the art of Sicilian wine, “The assets that create value for the Italian wine supply chain: markets, territories, companies”, was presented recently in Palermo, at the launch of “Sicily en Primeur” 2023, scheduled to be held in Taormina and in Radicepura, one of the most beautiful and largest nurseries in the world (owned by the Faro family), from May 9th to 13th. The UniCredit-Nomisma study confirmed that Sicily is a truly strategic Region in the wine sector. Italian wine exports are mainly concentrated on the European and North American markets, today, while Asia is still marginal, though it is growing. The same is true, proportionally, for Sicily. The 5 most important markets are Germany, the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. The growth of Sicilian exports to the United States, +28%, and Switzerland, +24% between 2021 and 2022 should be highlighted (and, we must point out that the Italian statistics institute, ISTAT export data take into account where the product is shipped abroad, i.e., the quantities of Sicilian wine not shipped directly from Sicily abroad, but rather that leave from ports located in other Regions, and therefore, the product volumes calculated as wine exports are overlooked. Actually, the foreign trade of Sicilian wines and musts is higher than the official ISTAT data).
Over the last 10 years, Italy has redeveloped its export wine portfolio, reducing the bulk wine component (from 31% to 19%), while compensating with an increase in sparkling wines. This strategy has definitely rewarded the average export price (from 2.22 euros/liter to 3.60 euros/liter). Looking at PDO wines, however, the gap compared to France is still too wide. The weight of PDO wines on total bottled exports (69%) is still significantly lower than in France (84%), and average export prices are clearly lower here, too. The white wines of Burgundy are priced on average at 16 euros per liter, and instead, the white wines of Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia are sold at 5.17 euros per liter, while the white wines of Sicily are priced at 3.76 euros per liter. Even Sicilian red wines are clearly in line with the whites, at an average price of 3.56 euros per liter.
The average export price of Italian PDO wines has grown + 22.8% over the last decade, and Sicilian white wines have revealed an excellent performance, +30.6%, thanks to focusing heavily on quality (In Sicily, to date, 24 PDO wines have been acknowledged, including 1 DOCG, 23 DOC, and 7 TGI wines), on segmentation/differentiation of products, on development of multi-channel strategies, and greater control on the markets. Sicily, however, still has a lot of room for improvement as far as positioning PDO (still) wines on the mass retail channel. Sales of the Sicilian product account for 4% of the total sales of Italian mass retailers, while the average selling price is stable, and well above the Italian average (5.01 euros per 0.75 liter bottle compared to 4.20 euros in Italy). Regarding generic wines, instead, in Sicily, as in many other southern Italian regions, the share of this product is still quite significant (24% of the regional total production accounts for 16% of the Italian average), but, in any case, has been considerably reduced over the last decade (-9%).
Sicily is the third Italian Region (31% compared to 19% Italy) in organic wine cultivation in its total Regional vineyard area, even though growth margins from 2011 to 2021 are lower that the other Regions ( 97% compared to 138% at the Italian level). Further, Sicily is one of the top 5 wine Italian Regions in average profitability of joint-stock companies. Moreover, as far as the social media world is concerned, Sicilian wineries have very good positioning, which of course, can definitely be improved. Each winery counts an average of 16.400 followers, covering 10.3% of the National total. Sicily is in fourth place in Italy for acquisitions in the wine sector (8% of the total number over the 2016-2022 period). In reference to target denomination, Etna is the top player, in fourth place in Italy, and ahead of denominations such as Chianti Classico, Valpolicella and Barbera d’Asti.
“The Nomisma study”, underlined Salvatore Malandrino, head of the UniCredit Italia Sicily Region, “has confirmed the Sicilian wine sector image a sector of excellence, not only for the Regional economy but in Italy as well. UniCredit is strongly committed to offering Sicilian wineries real solutions to respond to all their needs along the entire production chain, and to support them in their paths of growth and innovation. We are able to accompany wineries abroad, through our International network, help them strengthen their businesses, and enter new emerging markets by searching for counterparts. UniCredit also supports companies in the sector offering a range of loans dedicated to supporting their transition to a green perspective, and through training programs and concrete actions along the entire supply chain”.
The 2023 pay-off Assovini Sicilia has chosen for the Sicilian traveling event and its amazing wine territories (but not only, ed.), has permitted, in twenty years — thanks to the vision of the three excellent Sicilian wineries (Diego Planeta, Giacomo Rallo, Lucio Tasca d'Almerita) — launching Sicily in the world as, "Ambassadors and custodians of culture and territories", underlining the role of Assovini Sicilia as the spokesperson of the knowledge of territory through wines and its producers, as promoters of quality, of scenic beauty, and the uniqueness of the historical-archaeological heritage of Sicily.
“Sicily has all the credentials to become a wine destination of excellence”, Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, president of Assovini Sicilia, commented, “and today, Assovini wineries have the double merit of traveling the world to make the Sicily brand known and promoting the territory and culture through the experience of Sicilian hospitality, in their companies. Behind every wine there is always a great story to discover and tell”. More than eighty Italian and foreign journalists will be in Taormina and Radicepura, from May 9th to 13th, together with the participation of Masters of Wine and professionals who will guide the technical seminars and Masterclasses. "Sicilia en Primeur", has been conceived and organized by Assovini Sicilia since 2004, and it is the top most important event for Sicilian wine. In 2023, it will be dedicated to wine as a complex cultural factor, and to wine tourism in its many forms, but above all to the role of the Assovini Sicilia wineries, as custodians of culture and territory, and of wine as an ambassador to Sicilian tourism.

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