Allegrini 2018

Towards the Reopening Decree, Unione Italiana Vini alongside the restaurateurs. Alarm for banquets

Coldiretti: “reopening from April 26th will be worth 2.5 billion euros for wine!. But July 1st is too far away for events
Catering, Coldiretti, UNIONE ITALIANA VINI, WINE, News
Reopening, but just for those who have places outdoors - only half of Italian restaurants

There are still a few hours until the Draghi Government issues the Decree Law, which will put on paper the rumors that have been going around for days about the reopening calendar, from catering to fairs, and events. We must also add, of course, schools, sports facilities and mobility between Regions, an aspect, which considering the curfew (the Lega Nord party is pressuring to move it from 10 pm to at least 11 pm, otherwise they won’t be able to vote the decree), will have an important impact on the ways and possibilities of restarting, especially tourism, as obviously a large portion of the catering sector turnover is linked to it and by extension, the agro-food sector as well. Reopening alone, including limitations, and full of restrictions, will certainly not be enough to make up for the losses registered up to now (50 billion euros between 2020 and the first months of 2021, according to FIPE / Confcommercio), in the restaurant, wine, banqueting and catering sectors. Cafés and restaurants will not be able to reopen, excepting last minute surprises, at least until June 1st. The Decree will apply only to the Regions in the yellow zone, and will allow both lunch and dinner service, but only outdoors. This cuts off half of the Italian restaurants, and all the others will be put in the further unknown predicament of climate and bad weather. Chef Claudio Sadler, president of Le Soste, and Cristina Bowerman, at the helm of Ambassadors of Taste, two associations that bring together the best of Italian catering, pointed out to WineNews that the whole chapter of new stimulus checks is still open, although up until now they have been largely insufficient to cover real losses, and for which there is no certainty in the future. In this context, Paolo Castelletti, general secretary of the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), commented on the discussion regarding the Reopening Decree, on the agenda today in the Council of Ministers, “the lockdowns have heavily penalized the catering sector as well as the wine world, which in Italy alone recorded unpaid credits from the HORECA - hotels, restaurant and catering channel amounting to 500 million euros over the last year and has lost out-of-home sales totaling 1.5-1.8 billion euros. Now, with this intermittent reopening provided for in the drafts of the Reopening Decree, normality will be still far away and financial tensions are getting stronger. This is the reason why we have asked the Government to activate the “Fund for supply chains in crisis” to support measures to deal with the suffering of non-payments and tools to support catering. Catering”, added Castelletti, “has always been wine’s best ally, and even in this circumstance, we share the challenges of one of the sectors most affected by the crisis. We are certain that once back to normal, the combination will again become the main testimonial for Made in Italy. UIV believes that in view of the reopenings”, especially the most imminent ones in the United States and the United Kingdom, “the sector also needs a strong promotion action to capitalize on its image in the world, to be able to intercept the rebound in consumption that should arrive faster on some International markets. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the budget of the CMO promotion measure and simplify the rules”.
Restarting Italian catering is fundamental, because it weighs heavily on the economy of wineries. “Reopening restaurants, bars and farmhouse holiday structures is worth 2.5 billion euros for Italian wine, the Made in Italy agro-food sector most penalized by the Covid-19 emergency, due to closing the catering channel, which represents the number one outlet market”. According to Coldiretti, during the online conference, “The wine market after a year of Pandemic” promoted by Coldiretti and the Wine Policy Support Committee, which traces the results of the Covid-19 effects on the Italian Vineyard. It also highlighted how exports, following -2.2% in 2020 compared to 2019, in the first months of 2021, decreased a further -20% compared to last year (ISTAT data), reaching an all-time low over the last 30 years.
The president of ANBC - National Banqueting and Catering Association, Paolo Capurro, instead added his harsh comment on the drafts that have been circulating for days regarding the Reopening Decree, “Everyone is now aware, since last week that we are talking about restarting, and the date is set for next April 26th, to gradually resume the activities of various sectors. Instead, there have been only a few words, and nothing official, just alarming indiscretions, on when events, both private and business, will be able to start again. This is alarming because, apparently, the government has identified the recovery date for our sector at July 1st, well over two months from now. If this were really so, it would be too late.
We have been waiting for days to have clear and precise indications on how and when our entrepreneurs will be able to resume their activities”, continued the president of the National Banqueting and Catering Association, “but this is certainly not the news we wanted to comment on. I would like to remind everyone that we have practically stopped activities since March of last year and that our turnover has dropped an average of 90%. Do we still have to wait more than two months? We cannot wait any longer. We cannot afford it in any way, which is why we believe it is fair to bring the date forward by at least a month, to not lose even the few bookings that had been postponed to June 2021, since last year. Otherwise it will be necessary to think about adequate compensation, taking into account the enormous losses and fixed costs, or for us it would be the coup de grace. I would like to point out, Among other things, to those in charge of making this type of decisions”, concluded Capurro, “that our work depends substantially on the possibility of planning, so we must have certainties”.

Focus - The numbers of the Unione Italiana Vini Observatory
According to the Observatory of the Italian Wines Union (UIV), the major amount of wine in the wineries (+ 3.6% compared to the same period in 2020) is determined by the last harvest that increased +3.2%. It follows, then, that the current 200.000 hectoliters in excess over the past year are almost totally an effect of increased production. In 2020, the domestic market (-24% in value) lost 10 times more than exports (-2.3%, to 6.3 billion euros), HORECA at -38%, wine shops at -23 %, direct sales at -19% against a +12% growth in mass retail sales. In general, the numbers, offset by the performances of big companies that work with mass retail, do not in any case reveal the enormous challenges of thousands of small and medium producers (the backbone of Italian products), which have always been linked to the catering sector.

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