Allegrini 2018

Winning the challenge of the value of Italian wine, but not only: the objectives of “Vision 2030”

The launch of the “think tank” that brings together more than 20 entrepreneurs and managers, led by Ettore Nicoletto (CEO Bertani Domains)
The launch of the wine “think tank”, “Vision 2030”, at Veronafiere

Creating a system, first and foremost between entrepreneurs and managers, working on the value of wines, on their narration within the framework of “Italianness” at 360 degrees, and in that of the sustainability of biodiversity, where Italy is a leader “playing” on the versatility of Italian wine in pairing with food, for example. But it is also important to invest more in market analysis and in the training of those who work at all levels in the world of wine, and to look more and more at the opportunities offered by digital technology, but also at the financial instruments that can help the competitiveness of the sector, mitigating the “small size” effect of Italian wineries, a historical and structural phenomenon that is difficult to overcome in a short time. Also, making the most of and recalibrating, where necessary, the tools available today to manage supply, i.e. production, in relation to demand, i.e. the market, and trying to invest well, making the most of the funds deriving from different but very important instruments such as the Wine CMO, the Regional Development Plan and also the National Programme for Rural Development. These are some of the stimuli and indications of “Vision2030”, a “think tank” of 23 entrepreneurs and consultants - chaired by Ettore Nicoletto, CEO of Bertani Domains - that has the merit of being born from a collective reflection of some representatives of the wine-growing and distribution chain with the aim of making a contribution to the development of a strategic plan for the Italian wine-growing system. Trying to draw the future of the sector, working on assets such as identity and positioning, wine tourism, mergers & acquisitions, production potential and supply management, communication and training, digitalisation and sustainability.
Yesterday’s presentation of the final document “Vision 2030” at VeronaFiere had more the flavor of a list of critical issues in the sector than answers to problems that an audience of operators is already familiar with, probably due to the short time available and the format: two round tables with as many speakers stimulated by journalist Giorgio dell'Orefice (“Il Sole 24 Ore”) to give concrete form to the ideas that emerged from the work tables; a sensation supported by reading the document that contains a more detailed “vision” than the speakers were able to represent.
“We are the first ones who need to create a system”, stressed Nicoletto. “We felt the need to draw up analyses and proposals to guarantee the competitiveness of the national wine-growing sector, thinking about the current moment but also projecting ourselves into the future. I would like to make it clear that we do not want to take the place of the professional organizations, but we believe that now more than ever we must feel responsible not only for the management of the companies, but also for supporting the construction of appropriate policies and strategies to ensure the competitiveness of the wine sector in the near future. At the end, the “Vision 2030” initiative was applauded by the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) and Federvini, which posed, through Paolo Castelletti and Vittorio Cino respectively, a number of questions on the hottest issues for the sector, such as the reorganization of designations of origin and consortia, sustainability, and the concrete formulation of projects under the chapters of the NRP. “We bring home the openness to listening and the stimuli from Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) and Federvini”, replied Nicoletto, “referring to the document. The result of the work presented today can certainly be perfected and improved, thanks also to the extension to other operators who would like to try their hand. We will see if there will be a second and third step in the future”.
“Increasing value is the great challenge of the next 10 years”. In this initial statement by Ettore Nicoletto, there is an extreme synthesis of the reasons and the urgency that gave rise to Vision2030. Because the final objective of a strategic plan for the sector can only aim to raise the value of all Italian wine, both that which boasts European brands and that which is generic and varietal, which represents 50% of Italian production. For each wine, in its own sphere, to reduce the gap with France. “A gap that, despite great improvements”, continued Nicoletto, spokesman for the table that deals with identity and positioning in particular, “cannot be closed because French wines have grown more. Not only that. We are crowding out a few markets and what’s more with successful denominations”.
Considerations supported by the reference scenario of Nomisma Wine Monitor for “Vision 2030”, presented by Denis Pantini, who highlighted how fragmentation makes it difficult for Italian wine companies to reach efficiency indices comparable with those of direct international competitors, as well as guaranteeing margins capable of generating the resources necessary for investments that are increasingly fundamental to be competitive in the new market scenario. The average export price positioning of our bottled still wines, despite a ten-year trend of significant growth (+52%), still suffers from a lower level than that of France and New Zealand, which is not attributable to “qualitative” demerits, but rather to the pulverization that not only does not allow for coordinated strategies to enhance the value of Italian wines, but also a reduced allocation of resources to invest in the most suitable marketing levers.
“To achieve value growth we must establish and affirm a common Italian wine identity”, added Nicoletto, “paradoxically, the wealth of factors that contribute to substantiating it are an obstacle”. “A transversal strong point, a common denominator, is food friendliness”. This “food friendliness” is expressed not only in ductility, but also in the valorization of our gastronomy and in the catalyzing of socialization, typical of the Italian lifestyle, so loved throughout the world. It would also bring the younger generations, who are very interested in cuisine, closer to Italian wine. Moreover, pushing wine consumption at the table would also make it possible to counter the offensive against alcohol consumption by affirming the cultural significance of wine, differentiating it from “high” spirits. The lack of awareness of our national primates and more generally of what is good in our country, together with the great attitude to criticism does not help us to communicate our excellence. “And we have many that we ignore”, said Marcello Lunelli, president and CEO of Cantine Ferrari, spokesperson for the communications table. “Symbola’s “GreenItaly 2021” report contains several firsts that can corroborate the story of our wine, but also support cross-sector communication, which is an extraordinary tool for cohesion, aggregation and contamination between Made in Italy excellences, strongly recognized and valued on international markets. We are first in Europe for sustainability, second for the export of technologically advanced green products and, expanding to other sectors, for example, wood furniture made in Italy is a leader in Europe in the circular economy, the Italian yachting industry is a leader in Europe for trade balance and exports. And we could go on. A communication centered on “Italy”, the country of “beauty, excellence and quality”, based on the branding of biodiversity, is a great opportunity to develop common marketing tools to convey a message of unity and the country system. For decades, our experts have been concentrated in just 5 of the 190 countries registered with the United Nations, and everyone envies our Italian character, which we should make more recognizable”. Well-known opportunities, recently concretized in three partnerships made by the world of wine: Ferrari and Formula 1, Consorzio Prosecco Doc and MotoGP and Antinori and Ryder Cup 2023 of Golf in Rome. “The feedback is very positive”, commented Lunelli, “even if it is not nice to realize that you are not known and become known “like those in Formula 1”. However, I think that if a small Trentino company like us has succeeded in doing this, we could do much more as Italian wine”. There are numerous proposals for pursuing this approach to communicating Italian wine listed in the final document, including stimulating the development of wine criticism capable of giving Italian wine the best possible accreditation in the world. The key to defending prices and raising value added is in the balance between supply and demand, although we are far from the stock problems of the past. “The management of production potential is the key starting point for guaranteeing an evolution of wine production that is consistent with market dynamics”, stressed Marco Nannetti, president of the Cevico Group and spokesman for the round table on the subject, “in a decidedly changed European policy framework. It is difficult to ignore initiatives to penalize spirits without moving towards responsible consumption. It is unthinkable to go back to measures that reduce production, but it is necessary to focus on the increasing promotion, particularly on non-EU markets, by consolidating the CMO. From this point of view, we believe that it is strategic to extend, at least until 2040, the block on new vineyard plantings to a maximum of 1% for each Member State, managing the National Reserve in such a way as to avoid imbalances arising from uncontrolled migrations of authorizations. On the production and consortium front, the experiences of controlling supply already in place, in terms of blocking plantings, reducing yields and reserves, must be extended to other consortia. Support for the Consortia in the fight against Italian Sounding is necessary. On the subject of denominations, we believe it is necessary to move towards a regional umbrella, simplifying the consortium system and making it more efficient, also creating coordination for very large denominations, and pushing towards wine districts. Today, thanks to the Sian platform, which needs to be strengthened, we have data management and this represents a prospect of control”. However, 50% of Italian production is of “generic” wine, often concentrated on excessive yields that depress the quality and value of the wine and land, and is not included in the telematic registers. “For these wines, a great resource that has allowed Italian wine to grow”, stressed Nannetti, “we need to quickly reach an agreement to limit yields per hectare for generic wines to 300 quintals per hectare, provincial/municipal derogations (justified and credible) to 400 q/ha and all “varietal” wines to 30 q/ha without territorial derogation”.
The small size of companies is just one of the components that hinder the competitiveness of Italian wine in foreign markets. In addition to the small average size of the companies, there is also the lack of willingness to review their business model by dividing the group into the commercial part (distribution platform), a potential target for investors, and the real estate part, often in “surplus” with a long-term return that is not in line with the expectations of private equity funds, and the absence of managers. Aimed at increasing the number of players that can easily play on international markets, in a production fabric that also benefits from small “tailor-made” realities, the corrective measures set out by Roberta Crivellaro, managing partner of Withers law firm, spokesperson for the table on strategic development. Aggregation processes, through business networks, mergers or contributions, respond to the demands of an increasingly segmented market”, she explained, “and can be facilitated and incentivized by aggregation bonuses such as tax credits. It is important to understand where finance invests: in the wine sector it has turned to “light” assets, focusing on bottling companies. There are many avenues. A few examples: the entry of private equity funds into share capital through tax-neutral demerger operations; the reorganization of family companies in the generational changeover by inserting holding companies or equivalent structures that guarantee family governance even though the business is divided into different agricultural and commercial realities; recourse to more sophisticated financial products than the classic mortgage on land and buildings. There has been an interesting increase in the number of investors with a long-term horizon, such as family offices and HNWis (high net worth individuals), as well as great interest in investments in commercial wine companies”.
Returning to the general strengthening of the wine sector, crucial is the aspect of skills training, from the vineyard to the shelf and beyond. “We have witnessed a “secularisation” of training provision”, observed Massimo Tuzzi, Terra Moretti Vino’s managing director and spokesman for the training and skills table, “which has created considerable confusion. This is why we believe that a census is necessary, from university downwards and for all the skills needed in the sector. We need to focus on the professional skills we need in order to create a connection with universities, high schools, masters and training bodies, to work closely together, with the aim of building an educational pathway under the Vision2030 brand. The other gap that needs to be remedied is the lack of employment data in the sector and the level of training of resources to meet the needs of businesses, in particular, to give space to young people, given that in Europe we are last in employment for this age segment”.
Training can only include digital technology, given the strong acceleration of its introduction in the wine sector in general and for activities outside production such as wine tourism, aiming at a strong specialization. The extension of broadband to rural areas is obviously necessary. “Wine tourism is a very important strategic lever that in Italy, rather than being developed, needs to be exploited precisely through digitalization”, specified Camilla Gianazza of Jakala, a data analysis and business consultancy company. “The paradox is that companies want to open up to visitors, but do not have the right tools to do so, or even to collect their data, The paradox is that companies want to open up to visitors, but they don’t have the right tools to do so, nor to collect their data, get to know them and profile them for all the activities that derive from a physical or virtual visit, as well as to develop sales activities, and I’m not just thinking of corporate online shops, for which business networks can be set up, but also of “collateral” activities such as wine clubs, for example, to interact with potential customers. We see digitalization as fundamental also for the development of “virtual” b2b fairs and events. The inclusion of digital actions in financing measures (Ocm Vino, Psr...) and the contamination with skills from other sectors are desirable”.
Sustainability is another of the strong points in defining the identity of Italian wine and improving its positioning. Italy, with 17.8% of the total, is in fact the country with the highest incidence of organic vineyards in the world, ahead of Spain with 14.9% and France with 14.7%. “Provided”, states the “Vision 2030” document, “that we overcome rules that are unclear to the consumer: in the absence of a single national protocol, there is a risk of unnecessary and harmful bureaucratic burdens for companies without positive effects on the external perception of the supply chain”.

Focus - The “Vision2030” signatories
Here is the official list of the signatories of the “Vision2030” document, a “think tank” of 23 entrepreneurs and consultants (chaired by Ettore Nicoletto, ad Bertani Domains):
Francesco Bonfio - Presidente Aepi Associazione Enotecari Professionisti Italiani
Daniele Colombo - Direzione Commerciale Acquisti Drogheria Esselunga
Roberta Crivellaro - Managing Partner, Studio Legale Withers
Fabrizio Dosi - COO, Marchesi Frescobaldi
Lavinia Furlani - Presidente Wine People
Stevie Kim - Managing Director Vinitaly International
Marcello Lunelli - Vice Presidente Gruppo Lunelli
Matteo Lunelli - Presidente e Ceo Cantine Ferrari
Marco Morbidelli - Group Chief Hr & Organization Officer Angelini Holding
Marco Nannetti - Presidente Gruppo Cevico
Ettore Nicoletto - Presidente e Amministratore Delegato Bertani Domains
David Pambianco - Ceo di Pambianco
Carlo Pietrasanta - Founder & Senior Evangelist Movimento Turismo del Vino
Alessio Planeta - Amministratore Aziende Agricole Planeta S.S.
Matilde Poggi - Viticoltore Le Fraghe e Presidente Cevi
Cristiano Seganfreddo - Innovatore e imprenditore creativo
Andrea Terraneo - Presidente Vinarius
Lorenzo Tersi - Founder LT Wine&Food Advisory
Massimo Tuzzi - Amministratore Delegato Terra Moretti Vino
Alessandro Vella - Direttore Generale Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene - Val d’Oca

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