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  Editorial Issue 141, June 2015   
Times of Crisis? Let's Have Less WineTimes of Crisis? Let's Have Less Wine  Contents 
Issue 140, May 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 142, Summer 2015

Times of Crisis? Let's Have Less Wine


 I frequently have the chance to talk to wine producers and, inevitably, the subject of sales is one of those that, in recent times, is getting particular attention and it is cause of preoccupation. For those making wine, this is an obvious and understandable concern. I must say, for the sake of truth, in the last months many producers I talk with, are less and less catastrophic than in the past years, they tell about very slight signs of reprise. A small sun ray, after having undergone the hard consequences of a storm and frequent thunderstorms, it is of course something giving a sort of optimism, although cautious and minimal. The times having characterized the past years, and - this cannot deny - keep on influencing the economy of the present, have strongly affected profits of wineries, therefore - although we are seeing this humble sun ray - being cautious is a wise defense.


 

 According to a recent research done by Coldiretti (an Italian association of farmers), in recent years - specifically, from 2008 to 2014 - Italy has been recorded a particularly negative period for wine consumption. This is not breaking news: the fact wine economy was not in good health in recent years, it is something well known and absolutely evident. Coldiretti research is however important because gives a measure of these uncertain times, of how much Italian wine has lost in the past years. I do suspect it was not just because of the economic crisis characterizing these years, they however played a fundamental role. After all, nowadays wine is considered to be an elitist product, therefore it does not represent a primary need. In case someone has to make a choice, in times of a lesser availability of money, it is normal we give up - although being sorry for that - what we do not consider to be a fundamental need.

 The research of Coldiretti points out that, in these years of crisis, about 1.7 millions of Italians gave up the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Crisis has of course played a fundamental role in this, however I believe it was also because of the laws introduced in Italy about the blood alcohol content related to subjects driving a vehicle. The research, in particular, revealed that in Tuscany the consumption of wine went down of 11.8%, therefore recording a lowering of 13% in regular consumers of the beverage of Bacchus. Tuscany, one of the most important wine regions of Italy, records an incredible increase of 32% in the daily consumption of beer. A result confirming, as a matter of fact, the special moment the beverage of Ceres is having in Italy, also thanks to the remarkable results achieved by the many craft breweries in this country.

 In case the consumption of wine can be a reason of preoccupation, the research of Coldiretti unfortunately gives us other reasons for being really concerned. The 14.5% of Italian young people, from 18 to 24, is addicted to the deplorable activity called binge drinking, done by abusing the consumption of aperitifs, liquors and spirits. In case it is needed to clarify what binge drinking is, it consists in the consumption of alcoholic beverages in order to get drunk and lose control. A behavior being the antithesis of intelligence, something to be concerned of - very concerned - and should make us all think, in particular, about the social condition of certain wicked youngsters. In this specific case, we can be moderately happy to know - at least in this case - wine is not responsible of this deplorable and unfortunate behavior.

 During the period 2009-2014, according to the research of Coldiretti, in Italy has been recorded a lowering of wine consumption of 2.9%, the consumption of spirits and liquors diminished of 1.3%, whereas beer went up of 0.1%. The daily consumption of wine in the table of Italians has gone down as well: from the average five glasses we have passed to four. A trend confirmed by the lowering of consumption and purchase of wine in families, recording - all over Italy - a lowering of 19% in regard to 2008. The only figure going up, like already said, is the consumption - although we should talk about abuse - of spirits in youngsters, in particular during weekend. Moreover, it is also recorded a concentration of consumption of wine and alcoholic beverages in between meals. It seems Italians are abandoning the traditional habit of associating wine to food, a central element of Italian cooking and meals.

 In Italy it is therefore spreading the habit of casual drinking, typical in informal and frugal social moments, even worse and preoccupying, the detestable and certainly idiot habit of binge drinking getting more and more common in youngsters. We should ask ourselves the reason why such habits are becoming more and more common. The media are offering a rebel and selfish model of behavior - let me add evidently idiot and dull - and this certainly is one the causes for this insignificant social model. The idea of being strong and believing everything is possible, is certainly denied by such behaviors: it simply is the opposite, however effective in giving the illusion you can do everything whereas you are just doing nothing. If the going down of consumptions corresponds to these new fads, I guess the times we believed to be the worse, simply were the best. If it is true modern society is the consequence of what has been handed down by past generations, we should ask ourselves - and quite concerned - what kind of education we taught to youngsters and what kind of heritage we are going to give them.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 141, June 2015   
Times of Crisis? Let's Have Less WineTimes of Crisis? Let's Have Less Wine  Contents 
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