Allegrini 2018

“Wine and music, universal languages that communicate emotions”, words and music by Gianna Nannini

The "PrimAnteprima" event opens the "Week of Tuscan Previews". Tuscany is the top-growing Region in quality and markets

Wine and music are universal passions that speak to everyone through the language of emotion, expressing a unique message of friendship and unity, while respecting diversity. Words and music by Gianna Nannini, on stage at “PrimAnteprima" 2022, which kicked off the "Week of Tuscan Wine Previews", promoted by the Tuscan Region, staging activities of (and on) its territories. Gianna Nannini is a singer and a wine producer at Certosa di Belriguardo, in Chianti Classico, a stone's throw from her homeland, Siena, and her dear friend and "wine advisor", Renzo Cotarella.
The Tuscan Region has chosen Gianna Nannini as "testimonial" of the wine show. “The passion for wine”, she answered "Tinto" Nicola Prudente of Decanter, moderator on Radio2, “started when I was a child, because at 9 years old and up until 18, I grew up in the countryside, in Certosa di Belriguardo, in Siena, which belonged to my parents, with the farmers and the sharecroppers, and every year I did the grape harvest ritual with the barrels, the singing, and so on. When you live in that kind of atmosphere you become enthralled by the earthy fragrance of wine. The first songs I wrote were about running around the vineyards and fields on my motor scooter - the land is inside me. In 2006 I was able to take over the company. Today, I produce five red wines. The sixth, which will debut soon, is called "La Rossa". Inspiration for the name came to me from the character of a magical old woman and from childhood memories on the Siena Estate, which I wrote about in 1979, in my song, "The wolf and the stars". When I took over the company”, Nannini continued, “I called Renzo Cotarella and said to him, half jokingly, we must make a wine that is better than Tignanello, using Sangiovese, the grape vine of our land, to which I am emotionally attached”. “And I replied that it would cost more than buying Tignanello”, joked Cotarella, “because Sangiovese is a "super-rock" grape, like Gianna”. And like all Tuscan wines, the wine region that in 2021 registered exports for 1.1 billion euros, and + 16% growth compared to 2020 (it is one of the "top" regions and has grown the most, according to ISTAT data, analyzed by WineNews. Plus, it is becoming more and more "green", a third of the vineyards are organic, as Stefania Saccardi, Vice President of the Region and Councilor for Agriculture pointed out, “in terms of production volumes, our Region is in 7th place, but in terms of quality we are in the top three positions, counting 52 PDO and 6 PGI wines, which confirm the extraordinary quality of our wine. Organic farming is "obligatory" today, to fight climate change, if we want a virtuous relationship between agriculture and the environment, and if we want agriculture to not be seen as a polluting factor in the world. Our Region has invested a lot in this, and there is no turning back”.
In Tuscany, wine is an element of value and identity, as the president, Eugenio Giani, emphasized. “We have been making wine since the Etruscan era. We were the first Region to protect wine over 300 years ago, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici, made his famous announcement. And, today one of the greatest wines on the market comes from a territory like Bolgheri, whose Consortium is not even 30 years old. This means that wine is alive, it changes, it mutates. We are "Guelphs and Ghibellines", in Tuscany; in other words, everyone looks out for their own territories. However, Tuscan wines are teaming up now more and more, under the Region’s supervision”. “There will be more than 1.600 wines at the Week of Tuscan Previews. This number highlights our wealth and diversity, and that we are really starting to work together, even if we are “Guelphs and Ghibellines. Paradoxically, the Pandemic has helped this to happen. Now, we are actually teaming up. We have made a significant quality leap over the past few years. Tuscany has been the driving force guiding the Renaissance of wine throughout Italy - we have paved the road for everyone”, Francesco Mazzei, president of AVITO, which brings together all the wine consortiums in the Region, reiterated. “When it comes to wine around the world the Tuscan Region is very important, everyone listens”, added Nannini, “but wine must speak to everyone. When I thought of the name "Baccano", I was thinking about reaching young people, to be together, to become friends. Rock music is like that, too. I live in symbiosis with wine and music, even during the lockdown - they helped me feel good”, said Gianna Nannini, who also dedicated a poem to wine, or rather a "hymn", “in memory of my friend and producer in Montalcino, Gianni Brunelli”.
All the Consortiums participated at the gala dinner that was held on Saturday, March 19th in the Salone dei Cinquecento, in Palazzo Vecchio, amongst Vasari’s frescoes that have frequently celebrated Tuscany’s wine territories. Then, the real "Week of Tuscan Previews" actually started on Sunday, March 20th with "Chianti Lovers & Rosso Morellino", organized by the Chianti Consortium and the Morellino of Scansano Consortium; Monday, March 21st and Tuesday March 22nd, “Chianti Classico Collection”, by the Chianti Classico Consortium; Tuesday March 22nd and Wednesday March 23rd “Vernaccia di San Gimignano Preview” by the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Consortium; Wednesday March 23rd and March Thursday 24th "Preview of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano", by the Consorzio Nobile di Montepulciano, and Friday March 25th "Preview L'Altra Toscana" (the other Tuscany), in which the Wines of Carmignano Consortium, Chianti Rufina Consortium, Lucchesi Hills Consortium will participate, together with the Cortona DOC Consortium, Maremma Toscana Consortium, Montecucco Consortium, Orcia Consortium, Terre di Casole Consortium, Terre di Pisa Consortium, and the Valdarno di Sopra DOC Consortium.
Focus - Tuscany’s wine numbers
According to ARTEA, data regarding the 2021 harvest, Tuscany produced 2.04 million hectoliters of wine, 7% less than the previous year. This figure puts Tuscan wine production in 2021 among the lowest compared to the last 5 years. Spring frosts and scarce summer rainfall are the primary reasons attributed to the downturn, which has to take into account the National production that is basically stable, compared to the previous year. Tuscany is a key part of PDO wine production - 1.3 million hectoliters of PDO bottled wine, while in 2020 Tuscany represented 8% of the Italian total, (16.5 million hectoliters). The Tuscan share in value of bottled product has risen +11%. The first evaluations on 2021 data have indicated a positive sign because bottled PDO products have grown about +8% compared to 2020, for more than 1.4 million hectoliters. Chianti alone accounts for half of the total bottled volume, followed by Chianti Classico, at 20%.
Tuscany’s 2021 performance is especially positive on foreign markets. PDO certified Tuscan wines have achieved higher increases than the entire wine sector, which actually has presented the best data in the last ten years. Additionally, it is over 800.000 hectoliters (+ 7.4%) in volume, while value is 625 million euros (604 million euros in the red wine segment), registering +15% increase on an annual basis, reaching the highest level ever. The United States is at the top of the ranking of the major importers of Made in Tuscany wine, followed by Germany, Canada, Switzerland and Great Britain. Further down, France, the Netherlands and Japan, while South Korea has made a noticeable jump.
Vineyards and denominations
Tuscany has confirmed it is the land of red wines (87%), and wines with a protected designation of origin, which in 2021 totaled 70% of the entire production, compared to the National average of 45%. The vine planted areas are just below the threshold of 60.000 hectares, of which 20.000 are in the province of Siena while 16.000 hectares are in the province of Florence. 96% of the area is planned out for denomination wines - a much higher percentage than the National one, which is around 62%. Sangiovese is the dominant vine, as it occupies over 60% of the cultivated areas (36.000 hectares). Following, at a great distance, are the International vines, such as Merlot (4.834 hectares), Cabernet Sauvignon (3.766 hectares), and native vines such as Trebbiano Toscano (2.344 hectares), Canaiolo Nero (1.160 hectares) and Vernaccia di San Gimignano (810 hectares). There are 52 Denominations, of which 11 are DOCG; Chianti and Chianti Classico claim, respectively, 31 and 21% of the surface area.
Organic farming
About one third of the entire regional vineyard area is cultivated using the organic farming method, which totals 17% of the organic area in Italy. About 350 thousand hectoliters are Made in Tuscany organic, meaning 15% of the 2.2 million hectoliters produced nationwide. The organic phenomenon is becoming more and more prominent in Tuscany. After a tentative start in the 1990s, over the last 10 years it has seen an extraordinary increase, conquering the top prestigious denominations and top wine companies in the Region. In 2007, there were 500 organic farms in Tuscany; today, there are over 5000. The trend has also led to growth in quality as well as quantity, and today, organic Tuscan wine performs well in bulk wines, too, at a 10 to 30% higher average price than the same wine produced in the conventional manner. North America, Northern Europe and the United Kingdom are the markets most interested in this segment.
2021 has marked an upswing in prices, after the 2020 setback. Wines at the top of the quality pyramid have grown +3% in terms of market prices. White wines are doing better (+ 3.5%) than reds (+ 2.5%). This trend has also continued in the first months of 2022. Chianti is the best performer in terms of prices, among the main denominations.
Focus - Wine according to Gianna Nannini
“Wine is something that I linked to my childhood when I didn't drink it, but breathed it. My mother and my grandmother had 70 hectares of land that today, thanks to my successes in the music field, I have been able to take over. In the Siena countryside, near Certosa di Belriguardo, the house where I grew up from 9 to 18 years old, before I moved to Milan forever, I used to hang out with friends from nearby farms and play with them. I grew up with them. This is where my journey into the knowledge of wine and the land began, when the harvest was like a "party" for us children. We gathered bunches of grapes and put them in baskets, then into the vats. Then, we crushed the grapes with our bare feet, while singing Tuscan tunes, the famous octave rhymes, and folk songs. People like me who have lived in the Tuscan countryside and land find it is impossible not to miss them. Being attached to the earth is an act of love, and this feeling generates respect for nature. It is necessary to return to nature, to not break that bond between man and earth that will keep the future and the ecosystem alive”.
“The perfume of wine” (dedicated to Gianni Brunelli) by Gianna Nannini
The perfume of wine is the aroma of the land where I was born and where I am reborn every time I go back. The taste of wine accompanies and stays with me,
it is part of life, like breath itself, it makes my heart sing, it makes me feel closer to people, it makes my love stronger. Wine is in the roots of my body in motion, it is a fountain of notes hugging a melody, it is ecstasy that makes you feel you are home
in the fields, wherever you are. Wine is alive”.
Focus - Tuscan wines, according to ISMEA
Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the Italian Regions whose name alone evokes beauty, excellent and, above all, quality wines. Tuscany has a wealth of diverse soils, and its different climates, hills, seacoasts, and mountains, often generated in different geological eras, characterize its landscapes. The soil has given this Region a thriving variety of environments suited to the production of the best wines in existence.
The most recent snapshot of Tuscan wine making tells us that more than 12.700 Tuscan wineries cultivated just below 60.000 hectares of vines. The last harvest produced 2.04 million hectoliters of wine, down about 7%, compared to the previous harvest. Spring frosts and scarce summer rainfall negatively impacted the Tuscan wine production more than in other regions.
The fabric of Tuscan wine production is mainly based on small and medium sized companies - for what it is worth, the average vineyard area per company is 4.7 hectares - but has not yet found a prevailing size in the Cooperative structure. So, the 15 wineries in the Region account for about 18% of production.
Compared to other Regions, in Tuscany individual company brands largely prevail, even top wine producers. Compare to the National level, Tuscany ranks seventh for wine produced and a share equal to 5% of the total. However, its distinctive features allow Tuscany to boast 58 recognized Geographical Indications on its territory - 52 are PDO (11 DOCG and 41 DOC) and 6 TGI, which cover almost all of the Tuscan vineyard area (96.4% compared to the National average high, around 63%).
Tuscany’s uniqueness and quality shine also in organic wine farming. Data evaluation revealed that 32% of the regional vineyard area (over 19.000 hectares) is cultivated according to organic farming methods, which has shown very significant growth, even compared to the National level. Between 2010 and 2020, the National organic vineyard area grew + 127%, while in Tuscany growth reached +217%. In other words, organic vineyards area at the National level has more than doubled, while in Tuscany, the same area has more than tripled, accounting for 17% of the National total. The impact of Tuscan organic wine on National production is in the same order of magnitude. Approximately 350 thousand hectoliters of organic wine are produced in Tuscany, and account for 15% of the total National production.
The enormous variety and diversity in Tuscany has been widely referred to. However, there are two elements that profoundly unite Tuscan wine production: grape variety and color. The basis of Tuscany’s vineyard grape variety heritage, which is acknowledged the land of great red wines, is mostly Sangiovese and covers 60% of the entire inventory area. Then, in order of importance, but at a great distance, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon at 8% and 6%, respectively.
The uniqueness of Tuscan wine making is its great skill in bringing together and often managing to enhance different worlds that are only apparently irreconcilable, for instance, large with small, red with white. The best proof is observing the divisions of geographical indication areas. Chianti covers almost a third (31%) of the GI surface in Tuscany, and Chianti Classico a further fifth (20.8%). Together, they represent over 50% of the regional certified surface. Both of these brands enjoy widespread recognition nationally and internationally. Other brands, such as Brunello, Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, are just as famous world wide, but they weigh in at much lower percentages - 6.1%, 3.7% and 3.3%, respectively. Furthermore, Maremma Toscana (7.3%) or Morellino di Scansano (4.3%), as well as many other brands, enjoy wide recognition on the markets. Just like Vernaccia di San Gimignano (2.2%) - and we are finally talking about a white wine - which is equally well known. The basic and shared combination of territory, culture and local products - wine, first of all - is obviously the energy that fuels reputation. And that reputation often goes beyond National borders. As far as exports are concerned, the general context is positive. Following the atypical year 2020, in 2021 data registered over 22 million hectoliters (+ 7.3%) shipped abroad, the highest figure ever over the last ten years, for 7.1 billion euros (+ 12.4%), which marks the new absolute record.
One of the keys to understanding this trend, in the face of an often defined weak production structure - since it is made up of a multitude of small companies and a myriad of wines - is that the small or medium-sized company that produces quality is on many markets. This is one of the reasons why Tuscan PDOs have registered higher increases, on the whole, than the entire wine sector. Volume shipments were over 800.000 hectoliters (+ 7.4%), while value was 625 million euros (604 million euros in the red segment) representing a higher than ever increase in value on an annual basis (+ 15%).
Moreover, since the HORECA channel has reopened, Tuscan productions have been able to find their natural positioning in the basket of foreign demand.
Value is the key to interpreting Tuscan wine export data. Comparing volumes exported with the overall National performance shows a few percentage points less. However, comparing value leaves no doubt, especially on the markets outside the European Union, where Tuscany ships 74% of its wine destined for abroad, + 20% compared to the National average of + 15%. This is the result of a procedure that in the last five years alone has seen the average value of a bottle of Tuscan PDO red wine shipped abroad increase +25% (from 6.1 euros / liter to 7.6 euros / liter).
Approximately three-quarters of the Tuscan PDO red still wines is shipped to the USA, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and France. But it is clear that the audience of consumer countries is gradually expanding, and remembering that we are talking about limited volumes, growth percentages in exported value reached 140% in South Korea, 56% in Australia and 47% in Singapore.
There are many positive signals on the domestic market. The HORECA channel has restarted – though there are still some restrictions - and given a breath of fresh air to the wine sector. It has also positively impacted the distribution channel, where sales values have continued to increase. Spending on wines and sparkling wines in 2021 increased +2.9%, considering all distribution channels, while in Modern Distribution alone, i.e., Hyper, Super, Free services and Discount, it grew +3.8%. Data, however, continues to show that growth in spending goes hand in hand with 2.8% decrease in volumes purchased, indicating the shift towards higher price references and a generalized increase in price, especially during the second half of the year.
This is the background scenario where Tuscan PDOs, representing 8.4% of still wine value and 15.4% of the total PDO wines sold in the mass retail distribution formats, performed better in 2021 overall than the other DOC and TGI wines than the previous year. Domestic demand linked to purchases in mass retail distribution formats of Tuscan wines increased 4.6% (+ 14% compared to 2019) in value compared to + 3.2% total DOCs and -0.1% still wines overall.
The typical profile of the Tuscan PDO wine buyer is primarily in the "no longer young" families category (64% of buyers are in the over 60 group), medium-high income, residing in Center-North Italy. On the other hand, young couples also registered + 21.8% in volume, which is encouraging, and indicates they are once again appealing to younger people.
The results in 2021 however, should not be considered an easy victory, because 2022 started out with numerous critical issues. First of all, cost increases of raw materials, growing inflation and, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine, which could create negative repercussions on demand, not only in the areas directly affected (Russia and Ukraine, which despite the fact that Italy is their number one wine supplier, account for maximum 3% of total Italian exports), but also on an overall level. The inflation spiral was underway before the war, will continue to accelerate and, could undermine consumer confidence and slow down demand, effecting confidence and therefore global consumption, also involving wine. In this context, the initial indications from distribution sales provide a signal that things are changing.

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