Allegrini 2018

Year-end toast 2020: almost the same, in volumes, as 2019, very different in values

Italians do not renounce the ritual, but they bet on less expensive sparkling wines. While waiting (and this is our wish) for a return to conviviality
Year-end toast 2020: almost the same, in volumes, as 2019, quite different in values

The toasts of this New Year’s Eve will be, without a doubt, less cheerful than usual. More “intimate”, forcibly, without the possibility of sharing them with friends, in restaurants, in the squares, in large family tables. Maybe they will not be many less, it seems, despite the lack of everything outside the home (-70/-75% during the holiday season, according to Federvini, with an almost total loss given the closures imposed on New Year's Eve), because even in the family, even in two, Italians will not give up the ritual of opening a bottle of sparkling wine, also to wish a 2021 much better than 2020. But they'll definitely be different, and they’ll be spinning off less money (Ovse-Ceves, the Osservatorio Centro Studi Economici Vini Speciali, headed by Giampietro Comolli, which talks about volumes similar to 2019, down just -2%, to 38/39 million bottles, in line with the overall estimates for the holidays made by Unione Italiana Vini, which speaks of a -2.3% but with a loss in turnover, for Italian bubbles as a whole, of -35% on consumption in the last night of the year alone, while many wineries heard by WineNews speak of losses in turnover between -15%/-30%, ed.). Between the need of saving money, for many people, who will go for simpler bottles, of lesser value, as well as for the lesser propensity to uncork great bottles and fine wines, in general, if they cannot really share them, with conviviality which is confirmed, in this situation more than ever, one of the great added values of wine drinking. And at the end of this very hard 2020, which took away many people, above all, and also many occasions to be together and to toast, may this conviviality come back soon, in every aspect of life, is the wish WineNews makes to you, to which you can toast with the bubbles you like the most, be it a Franciacorta or a Prosecco Doc, an Alta Langa or a Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg, a TrentoDoc or an Asti Docg, an Oltrepò Pavese or a Durello, just to name a few, or one of the thousands of expressions of indigenous grapes from all over Italy.

Focus - New Year’s Eve toast, the comment of the wine industry ...
Sandro Boscaini, Federvini President
“I don’t think Covid will take away as many toasts, because maybe, if not more in large tables or groups, everyone will make their own toast at home. There will certainly be lesser bottles uncorked, beyond the big fans. We will be more content with the ritual than with anything else, and this will affect the product of greater value, which is a central element when there is a real party and a real banquet. Clearly everything will be missing outside the home, which has been a success for most of the year: bars and aperitifs are wiped out, no socializing at restaurants, no business lunches, and even those with family and friends are limited. In the past months, after the closure until May, we have seen a great response in the summer months, and restaurants have worked despite the lack of foreign tourism and the few business trips. Let’s hope the same happens when things can start again after this umpteenth closure, that we see the same reaction, driven by man’s need to be together with his fellow man, which in the end is a primary need”.

Paolo Castelletti, secretary general of Unione Italiana Vini (Uiv)
“Christmas and year-end consumption rewards the Italian sparkling wine confirming the forecasts of our Wine Observatory the slight decrease in volume (-2.3% on 2019 for 74 million bottles) contains the drop in the value of sales on the national level. Italian bubbles continue to be the preferred choice of consumers in our country even in this very special Christmas. Thanks to a versatile range, also based on a great variety of autochthonous vines, able to offer a diversified proposal not only in terms of price but also of richness and organoleptic variety capable of accompanying the different regional gastronomic traditions that characterize the Christmas tables of Italians. But the real good Christmas news for Italian wine came from abroad: the agreement reached between the EU and the UK on Brexit averted the risk of duties and new bureaucratic obstacles to the resumption of our exports in the third most important market for Italian wine, which is worth (2019 figures) over 770 million euros”.

Giampietro Comolli, president Ovse-Ceves (Osservatorio Centro Studi Economici Vini Speciali)
“There will be an almost stable consumption for the last day of the year at 38/39 million bottles (-2% on 2019). Only 1.9 million bottles Champagne (-39% on 2019). There will be 280 million glasses of good wishes, a lot. 200 million the expenditure of domestic bubbles (-35% turnover on the night of December 31, 2019). Ways, times, formulas have changed. In one night 190 million euros of turnover of all bubbles will be lost. It will be an end of the year under the banner of local typicality, sobriety and convenience, trying to give up as little as possible. A few less gifts, of course, a cheaper gift and an extra message of good wishes, with food shopping in supermarkets until the last moment, taking advantage of promotions and below cost. As far as wine is concerned, supermarkets and discount stores sold out in few hours. No bottle of sparkling wine remained unsold.
For food purchases, less trotter but many lentils, less caviar and shellfish, more cod and more eel, especially in Southern Italy. With food spending on the rise especially of basic foods for cooking: again, the Italians at home, but in front of the stove. So a few more glasses in anticipation of the dinner.
This is also why the volumes of wine bottles uncorked in 2020 are very similar to those of 2019, only the places of consumption, the times, the duration of consumption have changed. Places only domestic, nothing off premise and Horeca: hence the strong gap, instead, in the total turnover of the sector, in the value of the single bottle at consumption. An average price of 9-10 euros in 2019 corresponds today to 5-6 euros per bottle. The lower global turnover is not only due to some last minute undercosts, but rather to the fact that 90% (a very heavy amount) of the out-of-home spending on New Year’s Eve is missing. Considering the situation, it promises to be more than a toast of volumes, turnovers and numbers, it promises to be a toast to hope, to confidence and to the great strength of mind that will be needed for the future”.

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