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“Vinitaly Special Edition”, October 17-19, for business and wine restarting

The event of Veronafiere for the relaunch, with the support of institutions, Ice and the supply chain, from Unione Italiana Vini to Federvini

At the fair, with pre-equipped “turnkey” spaces and protocols to ensure security and business to exhibitors and visitors, exclusively insiders, from Italy and the world, thanks to the support of Ice, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the main organizations of the industry that provide full support, such as Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) and Federvini. But also the “States General of Italian Wine”, with Italian and European institutions, entrepreneurs and top managers of the sector, to create a new and shared vision of the future of a strategic sector for Italy. All this will be “Vinitaly Special Edition”, the b2b event staged on October 17-19 at Veronafiere, after the postponement of Vinitaly no. 54 to 2022 (“Opera Wine” by “Wine Spectator”, on the other hand, remains on June 18-19, 2021, an anthological edition with the 200 iconic wineries of Italian wine in the world), due to the pandemic. An event that, in everyone's intentions, should mark the real restart of Italian wine, in a pandemic that has hit the sector hard (and in January 2021, exports to the top 10 markets were down 19% on 2020, according to Vinitaly - Wine Monitor), and that by then, hopefully, Italy and Europe will have largely overcome, as China already seems to have done and the United States is doing. Presenting the event, as well as VeronaFiere's international activities that have never stopped, today were the president and managing director of VeronaFiere, Maurizio Danese and Giovanni Mantovani, with Stefano Patuanelli, Minister of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Federico Sboarina, mayor of Verona, Carlo Ferro, president of Ice-Agenzia, Paolo De Castro, MEP, Gino Colangelo, president of Colangelo & Partners and Alessandro Mugnano, CEO Interprocom Cantine Divine.
“Vinitaly Special Edition - said Mantovani - is an event that we have strongly shared with the world of production and associations. It will be a very safe event, in the exhibition center, with an extraordinary commitment to guarantee the safety of all, exhibitors and operators. Special attention will be paid to set-ups, everything will be pre-fitted to ensure the best working conditions and safety. It will be smarter and easier to manage Vinitaly for companies. It is difficult today to make estimates, but we are aiming to put together 30-35,000 square meters of exhibition space, on 150,000 square meters of fairgrounds, so spaces that guarantee great safety. Obviously, digital technology, which has been important in recent months and will continue to be so in the future, will not be lacking, with “Vinitaly Plus”, a digital platform that will work 365 days a year to create an active community and a constant business opportunity for companies and buyers from all over the world. There will be only operators and press, with a strong international incoming. And it will be held at the same time as the “Wine2Wine” business forum, where the “Wine States General” will be held to bring together Italian and European institutions and 50-100 top managers from the world of wine to create a vision of the future of what the wine industry can and must do in the coming years”.
“Thanks to Veronafiere for its commitment to put Vinitaly back at the center of wine policy”, said Patuanelli, “this is a fundamental, important event that also sets the objective of exiting this pandemic that we are aiming for in October, but we hope to achieve even earlier. We need events in presence, the sector needs them, for promotion, and to resume the path of growth that the pandemic has interrupted. The wine sector is one of the most affected by the prolonged and necessary closure of the horeca in Italy and in the world, as well as the trade fair sector. The government is doing its part knowing that any relief will never be enough to fill the great losses”.
An event that will come after many Vinitaly initiatives abroad, but also in Italy, starting with “Opera Wine” by “Wine Spectator” on June 18-19, 2021, “an anthological edition with the 200 wineries that, in 10 years, have participated at least once, icons of Italian wine in the world”, at the same time as “La Prima” at the Arena in Verona, “which will represent a great opportunity for international communication and, in some ways, also a general rehearsal for what will be “Vinitaly Special Edition”,” added Mantovani.
“We have never stopped”, reiterated Maurizio Danese, “since November 2020, with Wine2Asia in Shenzen, yesterday closed the stage of Vinitaly in Russia, then there will be Chengdu, then Opera Wine here in Verona, then Beijing and Brazil in autumn. We are always in support of a strategic supply chain, wine in Italy is worth 12 billion euros, more than half of which is exported, and in 2020 recorded a drop of -2.3%”. And, according to the Vinitaly-Nomisma Wine Monitor, in January 2021, in the first 10 markets, the figure says -19%. For this reason, it is essential to restart with promotion, and also with events in presence.
“A survey among our exhibitors shows that 90% believe that fairs in presence will be as important as in the past, 30% even more so. Digital has been and will be useful, but presence is needed and Vinitaly Special Edition will be a great new start for the sector”, said Danese, pointing out that for the entire fair sector it is fundamental that the Government, which has also allocated important aid, obtains in Europe a dispensation from the “de minimis” regime on aid as Germany has done, which has allocated 642 million euros to restore its fairs.
Which remain a fundamental tool for producers “who are the ones thanks to whom we are all here today”, said the undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Manlio di Stefano, who stressed that the “Pact for Export” is in its implementation phase and “will soon start an impressive communication campaign of the country, a new story which will also include wine, which is also innovation and sustainability, thanks to the work of producers”.
A large part of this will be implemented by Ice-Agency led by Carlo Ferro, also in the front line for incoming to Vinitaly: “we have never stopped either, not even in collaboration with Vinitaly, as shown by the events in Russia and China. Digital is useful and will continue to be useful, we are investing in it, including e-commerce, and we will soon present the agreement with Tannico for internationalization. But the physical fairs remain strategic. For Vinitaly Special Edition we are working on a strong incoming. From which countries, obviously, will depend on the health scenario in the world”.
Certainly, there are strategic markets such as the USA, and others that will be decisive in the future, such as China, which from this point of view are making giant strides. “America is starting again - said, in a video message, Gino Colangelo, at the head of Colangelo & Partners, one of the most important communication agencies in the U.S. - the activities are reopening, in summer everyone will be vaccinated, and we can not wait to start again, to go to restaurants, socialize, drink wine and travel. The U.S. trade is interested in getting moving again, and coming to the Vinitaly Special Edition in October. It is important that there is attention, but also that we do not stop communication, that Consortia and companies return to invite operators both to Vinitaly and to their own companies: if we dialogue and plan correctly with the American market, it will be a useful event for everyone”.
“In China we are back to normal - said Alessandro Mugnano, ceo Interprocom Cantine Divine, the first importer of Italian wine in China, which works with many of the top wineries of the Belpaese (with brands ranging from Antinori to Bertani, from Frescobaldi to Marchesi di Barolo, from Ca' del Bosco to Argiolas, from Farnese-Fantini to Donnafugata, from Tenuta Argentiera to San Michele Appiano, from Di Majo Norante to Ornellaia, from Dal Forno to Castello di Ama, to Cà Maiol, just to name a few) - already in June 2020 activities in presence have resumed, also with Vinitaly. Vaccinations are going well, even foreigners have access to vaccines, by July 90% of the population will be vaccinated. Here, since May, we have been going to restaurants and tasting wine all together”.
Testimonials that bode well, therefore, for the restart, including a “Vinitaly that is Verona, and a Verona that is Vinitaly”, said the mayor of the city Federico Sboarina, looking both at the event in October and the concurrence, in June, between Opera Wine and “La Prima” of the Arena of Verona, the Aida directed by Riccardo Muti. “Verona must run to be the city of restart. Opera, the Arena, Muti, wine, are brands that make Italy and the world known. After 2020 without, there cannot be 2021 without Vinitaly, it has too important a relapse on our territory”.
“We hope that Vinitaly Special Edition will coincide with the great restart of the world wine market - added Eurodeputy Paolo De Castro - while we are here, Europe will seek agreement on the CAP, in which there is reform of the CMO, all of them, not just wine. There is not only bad news, just yesterday there was the EU Council with the extraordinary presence of U.S. President Joe Biden, with whom we have found a first agreement of moratorium on duties, and it is good news that gives hope for the future. As will be the developments of the Recovery Fund, which will also be fundamental for wine and agriculture. And we are also working on the issues of the Cancer Plan, which is sacrosanct, and Nutriscore, which we don't like. Everything must be guided by scientific considerations: wine and red meat are not dangers for the health of the consumer, but the consumer must be guided to conscious consumption, for this reason we are against Nutriscore, and in favor of the Mediterranean diet, and wine is part of it”. A wine that wants to start again, together with Vinitaly, as explained by the most important representatives of the supply chain.
“The domestic market in 2020 lost a quarter of its value, while global orders for the international horeca in the same period suffered a contraction of over 50%: Italian wine needs to start again from business, which is why we consider it strategic to be alongside Vinitaly even during its 2021 program”, said the president of Unione Italiana Vini (Uiv) Ernesto Abbona. “No other producing country - he added - has among its assets an international reference exhibition, a value to be protected that is reflected in the growth of the Italian product recorded in recent years. The role of Veronafiere, together with the institutions in charge, starting with Ice, is to accelerate business also by foreseeing the evolution of scenarios, and for this reason the October appointment is first and foremost an important message that Italy's wine will be able to give to the markets”.
According to the UIV Observatory, the world wine market will not return to pre-Covid levels until the end of 2022, after having suffered damage of over 100 billion dollars due to the contraction of the horeca channel. The downturn recorded in Italian sales is the first since 2009, the year of the global financial crisis, mainly due to strong contractions in the domestic market. Here the 2020 trend in value has marked a -24%, with a volume of unsold compared to the previous year of 3 million hectoliters. The year of Covid, according to UIV, if on the one hand has shown a very strong disparity in the performance of different companies, on the other hand has marked historical changes within its sales channels: for the first time in fact the volumes of purchases in large-scale retail trade have exceeded those of the horeca, traditionally the channel with higher added value. In general, in Italy, the drop in value of orders from restaurants (-38%), wine shops (-23%) and direct sales (-19%) was only partially offset by large-scale distribution (+12%), for a negative balance of over 3 billion euros.
“In these conditions, Vinitaly and Veronafiere could not do more and will have our full support”, said President of Federvini, Sandro Boscaini, “but it must be acknowledged that having missed two editions of the traditional event of reference for the sector, together with the measures to contain the pandemic that have brought the horeca sector to its knees throughout Europe with an incredible series of partial and syncopated openings and closures, determine dramatic prospects for wine companies, the pride and joy of Made in Italy in the world. According to Federvini, Italian wine is expected to see a drop in revenues through the horeca channel of more than 1.5 billion euros in the two-year period 2020/2021 over 2019, a drop only minimally offset by an increase in sales through other channels.
In addition, there are the difficulties of travel and meeting with international operators, the various aid measures that foreign governments are putting in place (and that in the medium term, will be a further threat to competitive balances), the uncertainties linked to the next harvest season. In Europe, the trade fair system is lacking at all, Federvini underlines, but in Italy this absence weighs much more heavily on the ways in which, over time, the general business of the sector and the specific business, the international markets and the national market, have been combined with a perfect calendar.
“Vinitaly represents an appointment of enormous importance and must return stronger than before with the involvement of institutions, starting with Ice but not only, and with initiatives and programs for research, support and promotion of Italian wine in the world. We need a systemic intervention, for which we call the attention of the Government for the use of NextGenerationEu funds to support companies, for the simplification of regulations and for the support of the horeca sector, a fundamental pillar of the Italian lifestyle, recognized and appreciated all over the world”, concludes Boscaini.
“We fully appreciate and share the efforts of Verona and Vinitaly to stand as the place of restart in the world, of Italian wine and, consequently, of the whole made in Italy agro-food industry. Wine - whose production is worth 12 billion euros and almost 50% of which is exported - is the ambassador of Italian style”, said Confagricoltura vice-president, Giordano Emo Capodilista, according to whom “the Special Edition of Vinitaly, which will be held in October with a formula designed to ensure full health safety for participants, will be an important opportunity to put producers in touch with buyers from major international markets. We look with attention to it but also to the whole series of events promoted abroad by the Verona fair with Ice, which testify to the export vocation not only of the wine sector but also of its most important kermesse. The Minister for Agriculture Patuanelli and the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Di Stefano have reiterated the will of the Government to relaunch the wine sector - underlined Emo Capodilista - whom we thank for having accepted our request to mobilize extraordinary EU funds to manage the difficult situation of the wine sector, one of the most affected by the economic impact of the pandemic due to the repeated closures of the horeca channel at global level and with stocks in heavy increase. Incisive European measures are needed to invigorate the market and quotations and to allow this fundamental sector to be ready to take off, as we all hope”.
Many, therefore, are looking to the “Special Edition” of Vinitaly, in October 2021, as the concrete moment of the great restart of Italian wine in the world, which in the meantime is the conclusion of a Veronafiere roadmap accompanying Made in Italy wine around the world, with its culture and protagonists. As mentioned, in 2021 after Vinitaly Russia in Moscow ( March 23) and St. Petersburg (March 25), it will fly to China, in Chengdu (April 3-6). Also in China, in Shenzhen, the second edition of Wine To Asia will be held in June (8-10). In the same month, a rich calendar also in Verona with Vinitaly Design international packaging competition (June 11), Vinitaly 5 Star Wines The book (June 16-18), OperaWine (June 19-20), where to taste the best of Italian wine production selected by Wine Spectator, to end with the courses of Vinitaly International Academy (June 21-24). In September, Vinitaly is in Beijing (13-17) and then in Brazil, for Wine South America (22-24). And after the “Vinitaly Special Edition” in October 2021, the circle will be closed with the “full” edition of Vinitaly 2022, n. 54, in Verona from April 10-13, 2022.

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