Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 70, January 2009   
Also for Wine is Crisis Time?Also for Wine is Crisis Time?  Contents 
Issue 69, December 2008 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 71, February 2009

Also for Wine is Crisis Time?


 These are hard times. Worldwide economy is undergoing a moment of crisis - and there are some who believe the worst is still to come - with serious consequences for the life and well being of people. A condition which certainly forces people to make choices and to consider priorities, therefore renouncing the superfluous, while destining their money to basic goods, and by doing so, they also renounce to leisure times and unnecessary things. According to what is happening in the world, also the selling of wine is feeling the effects of this crisis and of this not brilliant period for economy. Wine, as it is commonly known, it is an integral part of Italian culture and tradition. With the exception of abstainers, in the tables of Italy, together with food, is always found a bottle of wine. Hopefully good wine, provided one can afford it, and maybe in these times, this is something which is happening less and less for Italian consumers.


 

 According to a survey done by ISMEA (an Italian institute for agricultural and food marketing services), the selling of wine in Italy is continuously decreasing since many months, a trend which is confirmed for the third consecutive quarter. Things are not certainly going any better for wine export, that, also in this case, is decreasing since many months with substantial loss in selling. The cause of the decreasing of wine selling in Italy is to be ascribed to a lower availability in money and to a decreasing impossibility of Italian families to buy goods, also renouncing - in these times - to consume meals in restaurants. Also restaurateurs are in fact complaining, not only for a visible decrease of people visiting their restaurants, but also for a decrease in wine selling, maybe also caused by the recent laws issued in Italy about the lowering of the maximum legal value of blood alcohol content. A quick look at shops in which wine is sold can make everyone see how the presence of bottled wine sold at less than € 5.00 is pretty high. This certainly is a sign of these times in which people buy indispensable things only, and in case they buy other unnecessary things, they carefully consider price.

 According to this statistic, in the last quarter the selling of table wine has further decreased of 2%, even worse the selling of sparkling wines which has even decreased of 13%. With the arrive of holidays, a period traditionally characterized by a higher consumption of bubbles, the trend for sparkling wines could be inverted, something which usually happens in this period of the year. This possibility seems however to be denied by the figures of ISMEA's survey, and according to them there will be a further decrease in family consumption of 1.6% for table wines and for 9.8% for sparkling wines. The situation is not so good, as there are many who believe it will take at least one year - according to other, at least two - before the situation will reach again a balance on consumptions and selling. Moreover, according to these figures, the only wines which had a modest increase in selling are those classified as VQPRD (Vini di Qualità Prodotti in Regioni Determinate, Quality Wines Produced in Determined Regions), that is DOC and DOCG wines, that have seen an increase of 3.2%.

 According to ISMEA, these figures are also determined by other factors. As for DOC (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata, Denomination of Controlled Origin) and DOCG (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) wines, the increase in selling is also determined by the substantial increase of the number of buyers. This result is probably also determined by the undeniable increase in culture of consumers in regard to quality wines, consumers paying more attention to what they pour in their glasses, although considering the old saying just a little, but good. As for table wines and sparkling wines - according to ISMEA - the number of buyers has not substantially changed, however it was recorded a remarkable decrease, in the last nine months, in the average of purchases and frequency. In this case the decrease is evidently determined by the lower availability in money for consumers that, in these times, renounce to the so called unnecessary things, while favoring - clearly understandable - the purchase of basic goods.

 The consumption of wine - as well as of alcoholic beverages - will probably decrease in the next months, and this time not because of economic reasons, but for legal issues. According to recent news, in Italy will probably be introduced a new limit about legal blood alcohol content permitted for anyone who has to drive a vehicle, lowering this value to 0.2%, that is 0.2 grams per liter of blood. This measure, which - according to what has been said - will be issued within January 2009, should have the goal of preventing (but in this case seems to be more correct “to forbid”) the consumption of alcohol for subjects who are about to drive a vehicle. Once again - also for the fact we do not want to be misunderstood on this subject - we strongly believe it is both useful and agreeable to use forms of prevention against car accidents caused by drunken subjects. However, we also believe there is a remarkable difference between prevention and prohibition.

 We think this is the usual way to fix problems typical of the ones who are incapable of concretely fixing problems. When they cannot fix a problem, the most simple measure is always represented by prohibition. History teaches us prohibitionism always brings to a result having the opposite effect wanted by the measure itself. In Italy they decided to lower the level of the legal blood alcohol content to 0.5%, also because this was a measure obeying the directives of European Union. What was the result? A decrease in car accidents caused by drunken subjects? If we take a look at the news of this country, facts show the problem was not fixed in this way and the causes should also be sought elsewhere, to excessive speed and use of drugs, for example. Lowering this value in order to have sober drivers is just an illusion. It is always sad to see the solutions to problems proposed by the ones who should govern a country are always “prohibition and repression”, as if citizens were stupid and bad kids who must always be punished: in this way, they will never learn anything. Maybe this is because the word culture and its concrete promotion are not part of the “culture” of politicians?

 




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  Editorial Issue 70, January 2009   
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