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Allegrini 2018

THE WHITE WINE BOOM IS NOT ONLY PROSECCO & BUBBLES. THE TREND NOW IS LESS ALCOHOLIC, LIGHTER AND MORE COMPATIBLE WINES, ACCORDING TO A WINENEWS ANALYSIS FOR VINITALY ON ISTAT DATA. WHITE WINES ARE ONCE AGAIN A TOP CHOICE IN CONSUMPTION

There are more and more Italian white wines on shelves in stores and on consumers’ tables in Italy as well as in the rest of the world. People are choosing wines that have a lower alcohol content, are immediately drinkable, and do not influence pairings with food, especially since lighter and more exotic dishes are becoming ever more appealing. This is the trend WineNews outlined for Vinitaly, the international exhibition of the wine industry (Verona, April 9th to 12th; www.vinitaly.com).

Looking at the last 20 years in the history of Italian wine, the first sign of this tendency comes from the wineries. Besides the now evident "bubbles" phenomenon that has led this typology to be consumed all year round and not just for holidays, white wines have been the stars of the show recently. Italy offers a wide and highly respected choice of whites - Pinot Grigio from Trentino, the South Tyrol whites, Traminer at the top, those from Friuli and Sicily, Soave from the Veneto but also Verdicchio from the Marche, Pecorino from Abruzzi, as well as Greco and Falanghina from Campania. And, white wines have now gone beyond their traditional consumption of being seasonal and for the summer and are being drunk even in winter, as long as they are fragrant and tasty.
Moreover, the numbers speak for themselves. Italian white wines grew 22% to 25.6 million hectoliters, 18% above the historical average of 21.7 million hectoliters (Istat 2015 compared to 2014).
The numbers speak just as clearly looking at the export performance. In the first half of 2016 (ISTAT data), PDO white wines grew to the detriment of PGI wines, which are still predominant for exports of bottled still wines. PDO whites grew 17% at the expense of PGI white wines (11% less). The former grew in value to 287 million euros, the highest level ever (230 million euros in the first half of 2013, 231 million in 2014, 246 million in 2015), while the latter fell to 306 million euros from 343 in 2015, after several years of consistent progress (290 million euros in the first half of 2013 and 323 million in 2014).

The change is noticeable even in the performance of the distribution of the most planted Italian grape varieties. In the last decade, the production of rooted cuttings of native grape varieties (Glera and Grillo are two examples) and some international ones (such as Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay) has literally changed its characteristics. The current scenario sees white grape varieties at 57% versus 43% red (data UIV - Italian Wine Union). A combination of several factors (social, economic, climatic, environmental...) is giving a new direction to the national varietal platform, and since Glera, Pinot Grigio and Syrah (the only red) are the strongest trends, the Italian vineyard no longer prefers red grapes.

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