Allegrini 2018

Valpolicella growing in value: new generations, sustainable practices in the vineyard

The Consortium study: state of the art of a territory where each hectare of cultivated vines produces 24.000 euros
Valpolicella and the new generations

The grapes are super-priced as production of a single hectare is valued up to 24.000 euros, and total turnover is 600 million euros a year. It is an increasingly popular brand around the world, and an even greener valley, due not only to its sustainable projects but also to its new generation of young people who have taken over the Amarone economy in the 19 municipalities in Valpolicella. This is the scenario, then, as the Consorzio della Valpolicella painted it, just a few days before the Amarone Preview 2015 is to be held at Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Verona, from February 2nd to 4th. The Consortium has the great desire to illustrate in numbers what has long been evident in the main DOC of the number one Italian province for wine exports. In the last 6 years, according to the reconstruction of AVEPA – the Veneto Agency for agriculture payments- the number of wineries led by under 40 year olds has almost doubled (+ 91%), and in some cases even quintupled, if we take into consideration the trend of new entrepreneurs up to thirty years old. This figure is higher than the national average, and in contrast with the overall number of companies (2.302), that has fallen more than 5% due to a heavy downfall (-27%) in the most represented category, that of the over 60 year olds.
“Our wine district”, commented the president of the Consorzio Valpolicella, Andrea Sartori, “is changing faster than others, thanks to the economy that is not mature yet and therefore, it is still able to make quality leaps. Then, we must add to these data, which do not surprise us, the generational turnover in already established companies, and it is certainly not rhetoric when we say young people are bringing innovations to the vineyard as well as to the cellar or to promotion”. There are 329 under 40 companies, according to the Consortium, which are mostly medium-small sized, and that are leaning strongly towards multi-functional and sustainable practices (the RRR program, reduce, save, respect involves already about 1.000 hectares out of the 8.000 hectares of total vineyard). They are also making internationalization the main market objective thanks to a wider use of the new technologies for marketing and brand policies. The wine economy in Valpolicella has a strong impact also on the employer level, as the average company expense for the salaries of its employees is about 100.000 euros per company, in an area that has always made integration its strong point. Indeed, there are almost 500 non-EU workers, over 1.000 come from EU countries, and the same number are Italians. “Our next bet is tourism”, added Sartori. In recent years, growth has been in the double digits compared to regional data, but it is still underestimated considering its potential”. Valpolicella boasts a very high presence (80%) of small and medium-sized companies; spread over 8.000 hectares of vineyards, for an artisan production that sees 8 out of 10 bottles going abroad. In 30% of cases, we’re talking about companies that do not exceed 20.000 bottles, but are able to approach the markets thanks to the promotional initiatives of the Consortium. Among the 1.736 member companies, over half are less than 2 hectares, and only 7.5% are over 10 hectares. On the other hand, the gross salable production is very high, since the production of grapes is worth 23-24.000 euros per hectare, like the added value, which in several cases exceeds 30%, while the land value in different areas reaches even 500.000 euros.

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