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Wine producers and Consortia on Vinitaly postponed to 2021 support the decision and restarting together

It was a painful choice, but the wisest one at this time. We are happy “OperaWine” has been confirmed, signaling communication and re-launching
businesses, consortium, exhibitions, OPERA WINE, reactions, VINITALY, WINE, News
Wine producers and Consortia on postponing Vinitaly to 2021 support the decision and restarting Together

Postponing Vinitaly to 2022 was in the air (WineNews Rumors reported the official news). The Italian wine world regretfully accepted the sad news, as it is the number one wine event in the sector and the most important tool for the business. Not being able to experience it live is a symptom of the situation linked to the Pandemic, which is still complex and challenging. Everyone is also heaving a bitter sigh of relief, while fully supporting Veronafiere’s decision, because they realize it would inevitably have had less impact, been difficult to manage and weaker, mainly due to the limitations still in place today at International and national levels. Some people are now encouraging institutions to move more definitely to support the exhibition system, though they like and agree with Veronafiere’s choice to confirm “OperaWine 2021”, the great tasting event signed by “Wine Spectator”, to be held on June 19th and 20th, because it is smaller and more manageable (WineNews overheard indiscretions indicating it will not be held at Palazzo della Gran Guardia but, rightly so, in the much larger space of the former Fruit and Vegetable Market, and a selection of high-level International trade companies will be present, ed.). Plus, it will coincide with “La Prima” at the Verona Arena, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Aida, conducted by Riccardo Muti. These two events held at the same time, will be a special occasion for International communication. Veronafiere was forced to make a decision they didn’t want to make - and the organizations of the entire supply chain agreed with their choice (Unione Italiana Vini / UIV, Federvini, Assoenologi. Federdoc, Confagricoltura, Coldiretti, CIA / Agricoltori Italiani, Alliance of Cooperatives, COPAGRI) – as the Italian wine producers and Consortiums commented positively to WineNews. Some emphasized that this is the second year the great wine fairs have had to be postponed (ProWein was postponed months ago to 2022, and we are waiting to hear about Vinexposium’s decisions on “Vinexpo Wine Paris”, currently scheduled from June 14th -16th, but still at high risk).
“We approve of this decision that we consider, though, a bit late”, explained Rodolfo Maralli, marketing director of Castello Banfi, one of the leading companies in Montalcino and others. “Objectively, it would have been difficult for us to participate because there were no safety conditions nor an economic scenario to stage the full Vinitaly event. So, it was a wise choice, as there would not have been any foreign participants. It would have been just a national fair, if not even a regional one, given travel restrictions. We look forward to Vinitaly in 2022 to celebrate the revival of wine at its most important fair as well. Right now, we will try to do without trade fairs that are fundamental to the wine world. There is a great desire to be able to go outside again. Obviously, while we need to redouble our efforts to return to more distant markets, the future is not in the digital world alone, which is a temporary solution to the emergency. The need to go back to meeting in person is very strongly felt, and Fairs have the ability to gather the world in a city”.
“Everyone agreed on the decision, as there were no viable conditions to plan Vinitaly properly”, commented Alessio Planeta, at the helm of the family winery, one of the leaders of Sicilian wine. “We were all more optimistic and thought we would have had more freedom by now, but as a country system we are behind in exiting the emergency, even regarding a vaccination plan. It’s a positive sign that the OperaWine event has been confirmed. It does not require a complex organizational effort or excessive investments. It will be a great venue where, in some way, everyone can meet again, and give a positive sign of Italian wine’s vitality”. “The decision was in the air, inevitable, when you think about what the Vinitaly event is. It is certainly unfortunate for Italian wine”, commented, Marilisa Allegrini, one of the “queens” of Amarone della Valpolicella, who, in her splendid Villa della Torre, historically organizes some of the most marvelous events of “out of Vinitaly”, “and for vital International contacts that Vinitaly has always helped to develop. It will take courage and strength to focus on what the 2022 event will be, when we hope the Pandemic will be just a memory. Right now, we need concrete support for Fairs from institutions and politics. On the other hand, confirmation that Opera Wine will be held is positive, it is a wonderful opportunity, a different event where there is a way to control access and participation, and it is not a Fair. Among other things, the dates coincide with the “La Prima” of the Arena,” said the wine producer, who is also on the Board of Trustees of the Arena Foundation, “dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida, conducted by Riccardo Muti. It will be an exceptional advertisement for Italy”. “We have exchanged views with Verona several times”, added Francesco Mazzei, at the helm of the historic Tuscan company Marchesi Mazzei, and president of AVITO, the association that unites all the wine consortiums in the Region, “and I think the Fair made the wisest choice, for many reasons, not only to guarantee safety but also the economic result for wine companies. June is too far ahead in the year for the market, as flights are uncertain, and professionals from overseas would not have moved. It was a very tough decision to make, but the one that respects the Fair. Tuscany, perhaps one of the first to make its voice heard, opened the dialogue, and we Consortiums immediately saw the immense challenge to engage companies. 2021 will be very similar to 2020, but we now know how to maneuver in this situation. We will use digital and other tools a lot more, and I must add that we will have to rethink marketing and promotion strategies, because things can change. The exhibition system also has the opportunity to change and adapt to the times. As a company, I was favorable to this choice which, in my heart, I had actually hoped for, as it will be a considerable saving in such a tough year, since Fairs, not only Vinitaly, but also Prowein and others, have an enormous cost. This is a very difficult period, but it is also the time to prepare for a new rebirth of the entire sector. We will do even better things, at all levels, from producers to Fairs”.
“We conducted a survey among the wine producers (more than 200 companies)”, explained Matteo Ascheri, producer of Barolo, at the Ascheri 1880 winery and at the helm of the Consorzio del Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as Piedmont Land, which brings together the wine Consortiums of the Piedmont region, “and 92% were unfavorable to Vinitaly in these conditions. Veronafiere's decision has confirmed what we were asking for, a request that came from all over the wine world. It has acknowledged a not yet stabilized situation. The Fair made a wise and very painful choice, as right now we are all suffering, and it would have been a waste of resources and money. The biggest frustration is that after a year has passed, we are still in the same situation as a year ago. We are waiting for vaccines and hoping to restart in the second half of the year. We’ll go ahead with events online, which cannot replace travel and fairs; it is a palliative. There is an overall structural problem in the fair system. The Fair tool has been a key value for a long time, and is definitely important, but the formula needs to be revised. It is essential to be able to travel, share, and return to conviviality in restaurants, because this is the essence of wine”.
“The producers in Montalcino”, said, on the other hand, Fabrizio Bindocci, CEO of the historic Tenuta Il Poggione di Montalcino, and president of the Brunello Consortium, “are close to Vinitaly and Veronafiere, which fought to the end to make this vital event the desire to start up again and get back to normal, when all Italians are in such a difficult period. Sadly, the Pandemic is still on going, and the event had to be postponed. We understand the choice and we appreciate Vinitaly’s gesture, hoping to be able to start up again soon, all together”.
“It is bad news, but it was inevitable”, added Silvano Brescianini, at the helm of Barone Pizzini and the Consortium of Franciacorta, “we must be aware that we are not yet out of this situation, and we are hoping that vaccines will lead us towards the end, because it is becoming harder and harder for everyone, especially the HORECA, which is our most important channel. It is impossible to imagine organizing a fair like Vinitaly when you don’t know what the rules on traveling, and so on will be. We have missed a great opportunity, though the choice was obligatory, and makes no one happy, neither the organizers, nor the participants. This is what the situation is, so we must be cautious, learn to resist and look ahead. We are hoping for summertime and vaccines, and that by autumn all this will be in the past”. “It is a big disappointment and a great loss for all Italian wine”, commented Alberto Mazzoni, head of the Marchigiano Tutela Vini Institute (IMV), which unites the denominations of the Marche Region. We are hoping to restart as soon as possible. Vinitaly is the most important International platform for Italian wine. We are feeling disappointed and unhappy, but the situation today would not have allowed us to organize a great Vinitaly event with a world-wide scope as it always has been and as it will be again”.
“We heard about Veronafiere’s decision to postpone the edition of Vinitaly to 2022. It was definitely a forced choice”, pointed out Christian Marchesini, president of the Consorzio Vini Valpolicella, “due to the uncertain situation dictated by the Pandemic that is still underway. We agree with the decision, and at the same time are very interested in the projects Vinitaly announced yesterday, aimed at restarting promoting and re-launching Italian wine in Italy and on International markets. Vinitaly is a fundamental driver for the “Verona system”, the companies in our area and the entire wine sector. At the end of February, at the “Valpolicella Annual Conference Digital Edition”, together with Veronafiere, we launched the first strong message of recovery and we will continue doing so together”.

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