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  Editorial Issue 183, April 2019   
2018: the Year of Italian Wine2018: the Year of Italian Wine  Contents 
Issue 182, March 2019 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 184, May 2019

2018: the Year of Italian Wine


 Good news for the Italian wine. 2018 has been a particularly favorable year for producers and, in particular, for those who focus their activity on export. Last year, in fact, Italian wine marked an important record as the volume of sales to foreign countries reached an extremely significant result, clearly improving that of 2017. In a period like this, in which the general economic conditions are not exactly “positive”, news like this can certainly be very good to read. Especially because it is about wine and the viticultural field of our country which, in recent years, with regard to sales, has experienced moments that have not exactly been thriving. The news, in addition to highlighting the excellent economic results, also highlights another very important aspect, that is the abroad reputation of Italian wine has increased and consumers recognize a greater value to it, therefore willing to pay the quality they find in the glass.


 

 Good news also comes in regard to internal consumption, where sales have shown an increase in favor of the beverage of Bacchus. This is what can be deducted from the figures of a recent survey released by Istat (the Italian Institute of Statistics) and concerning wine exports abroad as well as the report released by Iri about sales recorded in the large-scale retail channel during 2018. As for exports, the last year Italian wine achieved a record in terms of value, more than 6.2 billion euros, with an increase of 3.3% equal to 200 million euros compared to 2017. A result consolidating the good performance of Italian wine abroad, especially when compared to the results of the previous ten years. In 2008, in fact, the export of wine recorded a total value of 3.67 billion euros, and then raised to 5 billion in 2013. These data, however, get a different meaning when compared to the exported volumes which, in 2018, has recorded a 8.1% decline.

 This means Italy has exported a smaller quantity of wine, however it has been sold at a higher price, a sign of the increased value recognized to Italian wine and the perception abroad of the enological quality of our country. A clearly positive result of which we must be proud of: the unmistakable sign the effort made by Italian producers has allowed the achievement of a significant and tangible increase in overall quality. The smaller quantity exported is also due to 2017 conditions which, in terms of harvested grapes, has been among the most scarce in recent years. The lower production of wine, therefore, has probably limited the economic result and that, perhaps, could have been even more significant. Let's look in detail at the figures emerging from the two researches conducted by Istat and Iri, results concerning – as already mentioned – both exports abroad and domestic consumption recorded in large-scale distribution.

 The two main countries showing the greatest appreciation for Italian wines – Germany and the United States of America – have both increased, in terms of value, by 4%. Also interesting is the result achieved in France, in which Italian wine exports have even increased by 10.1%. A decidedly significant figure, considering the huge French wine production and which, in this sense, can be considered as a direct commercial competitor of Italy. Another significant figure comes from Australia – an important wine making country – where Italian wine has recorded an increase in sales of 18.5%. Good news also comes from Poland, with an increase of 23.3% and from South Korea, where Italian wine has recorded an increase of 14.6% more in sales than in 2017. Export figures, however, also give some bad news: sales in China and Russia decreased in both cases by 2.4%.

 Good news also comes from domestic consumption in Italy, where – in 2018 – has been recorded an increase in value of sales and, at the same time, a decrease in volumes. Data collected by Iri in the large-scale retail sector, recorded a sales volume of 1.9 billion euros, equal to an increase of 2.9%. In terms of quantity, more than 619 million liters of wine were sold in 2018, recording a decline of 4.4% compared to 2017. The good news, exactly as for exports, is people recognize greater value to wine and is willing to spend more than in past years. Moreover, according to the study carried out by Iri, in the first few months of 2019 there has been a further increase in sales in terms of quantity, recording an increase of 1.7% and peaks of 5.3% for DOC and DOCG wines. Also according to this research, the overall average price – relative to wine sold in bottles, brik and bag in box – also increased by 7.7%, reaching an average price of 3.07 euros per liter. Things are definitely better for bottled wine reaching an average price of 4.53 euros per liter, with an increase of 4.8%.

 In the ranking of the large-scale retail trade in our country, the first place goes to Lambrusco, the second one goes to Chianti followed by Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Excellent results are also achieved by the wines produced with Chardonnay, Barbera, Bonarda and Vermentino grapes. The appellation that has achieved the best result is Lugana, which has succeeded in increasing sales in value terms of 24.2%, equal to 22.1% in terms of quantity. Things went a little less well for Prosecco – a well-known winner of Italian wine in terms of sales – which sees the quantity sold in 2018 decreased by 11.5% corresponding to a decrease of 6.7% in terms of value. In this regard, it should be noted this last data is referred to the total values of the DOC and DOCG denominations concerning wines related to or mentioning “Prosecco”. The results of 2018, both relative to the export and to the domestic market, are in any case a very important signal to the good health of Italian wine. The clear sign the path of enological quality undertaken in the last years in this country has allowed the achievement of obvious and tangible results. Now it's just a matter of consolidating all the good things done so far and to continue walking the journey of quality. So far, so good. Long live the Italian wine!

Antonello Biancalana



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  Editorial Issue 183, April 2019   
2018: the Year of Italian Wine2018: the Year of Italian Wine  Contents 
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