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Wine: “Italy can and must be a bridgehead in countering the prohibitionist drift”

“Milan Wine Week” 2023: the message of “Wine Agenda” by Federvini. While the market slows and companies’ margins continue to shrink...

According to the Mediterranean lifestyle, where drinking is first and foremost about conviviality, nine out of ten Italians consume limited or moderate amounts of wine and spirits, which are eight times out of ten consumed with food. Also for this reason “Italy can and must be a bridgehead in interfering with the ongoing prohibitionist drift, and the institutions can do a lot to prevent measures that will affect strategic assets of Italian culture”. Message from “Wine Agenda”, a moment of discussion signed by Federvini, on stage today, in the programme of the “Milan Wine Week” 2023. In the background, data from a less-than-ideal market, as reported by Mediobanca, Nomisma, and Tradelab.
The Mediobanca Research Area’s analysis, in fact, reiterated how inflation pushed the sector’s turnover, which recorded an overall +9.1% in 2022, focusing in particular on the Horeca channel (+19.9%) and premium ranges (+13.7%), as well as a contraction in the Ebit margin (net operating margin), which fell from 5.8% (average value 2015 - 2019) to 4.6% (2022). A framework in which, according to Mediobanca, larger companies perform better, with better capital solidity and growth prospects, particularly on international markets. On the Italian front, as we have often said, sales in large-scale retail trade are slowing down (-4.6% for still wines and -2% for sparkling wines, in volume, with values increasing by 2.9% for still wines, over one billion euros, and by 5.4% for sparkling wines, to 279 million euros, in the first half of 2023, according to Circana data, reported by WineNews), consumption away from home, in the first 8 months of 2023, gives a few smiles: according to Tradelab, wine and bubbles have grown by +10% in terms of consumption occasions, outperforming the alcoholic beverages market (+7%) and spirits (+3%),
despite a continuous worsening trend in terms of number of visits and value spent outside the home, particularly in July and August, which is expected to continue until the end of 2023. Data results from a very difficult economic situation for many families, with persistently high inflation and eroding purchasing power. What gives hope for the future, at least on a national level, is that, according to the TradeLab & Censis survey, if they have more disposable income, Italians will spend more on travel (67%), restaurants, wine bars, and wine shops (51%), and less on clothing, technology, fitness, cosmetics, and so on.
However, the situation abroad is more concerning. In 2022, Italian wine had an export value of 8 billion euros, up 12% from the previous year but only due to inflation, while the estimate for the first half of 2023, based on Istat data, is 3.7 billion euros, down 0.4% from 2023. Inflationary dynamics are a major factor, followed by an increase in interest rates by the ECB and a slowdown in the global economy, particularly in the Eurozone. A framework characterised by increased difficulties in obtaining credit and financial instruments, particularly for wine companies oriented towards international markets, by the continuous new certifications required, and by different types of export obstacles. Moreover, problems related to intellectual property protection and the protection of Geographical Indications of Quality products, particularly Italian excellence, remain largely unresolved, according to Federvini. A dossier that, along with those concerning the revision of the packaging regulation and wine labelling, calls into question the ability of the community and national institutions to systematize a solid economic diplomacy strategy. Furthermore, on a global scale, “a debate continues too, often characterized by a prohibitionist approach which has already seen reckless escapes forward, look at the Irish case, and with respect to which Italy instead has a lot to say and easily demonstrate, thanks to its culture of moderate drinking”.
“Wine is a human heritage that embodies history, culture, and age-old traditions. Today, we are witnessing an international prohibitionist attack that is being wielded dangerously and risks jeopardising a strategic supply chain for our agri-food industry - commented Micaela Pallini, president of Federvini - I believe that our response must be fundamentally cultural, promoting a Mediterranean lifestyle based on moderation and convivial consumption of wine and spirit drinks in general”.
Italy can and must act as a bridgehead in reversing the current prohibitionist trend, and institutions can do a lot to prevent measures that would jeopardise strategic assets of Italian culture: “We face significant global challenges that have a direct impact on the work of our companies, our territories, our culture, and our way of experiencing sociality - declared Ettore Nicoletto, vice president of Gruppo Vini Federvini and president & ceo of Angelini Wines & Estates - the excellence of Italian wine is recognised and appreciated all over the world: it evokes territorial empathy and is associated with a lifestyle centred on the culture of quality drinking. It must be protected in all locations with firmness, continuity, and institutional support”.
A message, relaunched by Federvini, that comes from a “Milan Wine Week” 2023 that continues with its programme: today, 9 October, the “MWW Awards” will be assigned, i.e. the “Premio Carta Vini Italia” and the “Premio Wine Retail”. Among the novelties, after the “Wine Icons” tasting, with the labels of the giants of Italian wine, from Marchesi Antinori to Fontanafredda, from Frescobaldi to Gruppo Italiano Vini (Giv), from Kellerei Kaltern - Cantina di Caldaro to Pellegrino, from Schiopetto to Terra Moretti, from Valdo to Zonin, already staged in recent days, there will be the “Degustando” format which, on 10 October, in the tunnel of the Nhow Hotel in Via Tortona, will bring together 10 top chefs with their recipes proposed in combination with as many wine producers in a convivial atmosphere.
Then, on 11 October, the proceeds from a special masterclass of “Le Donne del Vino” at Palazzo Bovara will go to the Palma Vitae association of Partanna, supported by Marisa Leo - marketing and communications manager in a large Sicilian cooperative winery - killed by her ex-partner. On October 13th, Luca D’Attoma, internationally renowned winemaker and consultant for brands such as Tua Rita, Poggio al Tesoro, San Polo, Tolaini, Tenute Lunelli and Monte delle Vigne, will take the chair with a masterclass dedicated to ten companies. On 14 and 15 October, tasting at the Enoteca Italia also with the Touring Club’s “Vinibuoni d’Italia” guide, and on 14 October there will also be a great classic: the “European Excellences of Taste” wine tasting. Born to be together”, curated by Ascovilo (Wines of Lombardy) and Grana Padano, at Palazzo Bovara, to taste new labels from the territories and denominations of Lombardy and accompany the tasting with the different maturations of Grana Padano Dop. At Palazzo Bovara, many Italian wine territories will be told, from Franciacorta (on 9 October with the presentation of the new regulations by the Consortium), to Sardinia (on 10 October with the Sardinia Day and a walk-around tasting with the Sardinia Region ), from Lugana (with the “Armonie senza tempo” tasting in collaboration with the Lugana Doc Consortium, on 13 October), to Asti (on 14 October in the cocktails designed by the flair bartender and brand ambassador of the Consortium Giorgio Facchinetti, at the Enoteca Mww), but also Emilia Romagna (with the Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna protagonist on the Win Bus and always at the MWW Enoteca). And then, tastings and dinners in the different locations of the partners of the “Milan Wine Week”, from the CityLife Shopping District, which hosted the inaugural toast with the Consortium Prosecco Doc, to Cantina Urbana, from Eataly Milano Smeraldo to the Hard Rock Cafè and to the market of the company friend -Coldiretti.
But also Partesa, a leading Italian company in sales, distribution, consultancy and training services for the Ho.Re.Ca. channel is preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Partesa per il Vino project in Milan with the out-of-home operators in edition no. 3 of “Wine Cube - A Great Experience” (9-10 October, Studio Novanta), the great event that, through tasting, training, and communication, elevates the wine experience to the next level, bringing together the biggest names in the national and international wine scene: 71 partner wineries from Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and, for the first time, the United States, for 486 wines, including reds, whites and sparkling wines. Along with personalised advice from Partesa’s Wine Specialists and experts, six Masterclasses are planned, from “The Italian Classic Methods” with Andrea Gori, sommelier, innkeeper, journalist, and writer, to “Aglianico in comparison: Campania and Basilicata” with Marco Sabellico, historic signature of Gambero Rosso and editor of its “Vini d’Italia” guide, from a “Journey through the Riesling world” between Italy, Austria and Germany with Eros Teboni, consultant, trainer and “Best Sommelier of the World Wsa” 2018, to “Aube, Cote de Blanc and Vallèe della Marne in comparison” with Vania Valentini, official AIS-Italian Sommelier Association taster and vice-editor for the “Grandi Champagne” Guide, from “Declination of Sangiovese” again with Teboni, to “ Elizabeth Spencer: discovering American Wines” with the exceptional wine expert Charlie Arturaola, actor and among the 10 best palates of the American Sommelier Association. And Partesa toasts the anniversary also with professionals and enthusiasts, renewing its partnership with “Milan Wine Week” and inviting them to discover the most interesting labels from its vast portfolio of quality producers.

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