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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 194, April 2020   
The Economy of Wine in the Time of CoronavirusThe Economy of Wine in the Time of Coronavirus  Contents 
Issue 193, March 2020 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 195, May 2020

The Economy of Wine in the Time of Coronavirus


 It is now many weeks coronavirus is the only topic everyone is talking about, it is something which has practically colonized the whole world of information, as well as the life of people in different ways and outcomes. The huge spreading of this virus has also led to the declaration of pandemic by the World Health Organization. The consequences of the spreading of this virus have forced radical changes in people's behavior with a significant impact on the economy of all countries. These are preventive measures – therefore desirable and understandable in the interest of all of us, none excluded – for the purpose of limiting the spreading of this virus, in the hope it will be defeated soon. The containment measures have not been simple – as, indeed, the current situation is not simple – requiring everyone, so to speak, sacrifices which have totally changed our lifestyles, albeit in a temporary way.


 

 To bear the enormous weight of this condition, undeniably, is the health system of all countries and which forces the staff involved – doctors, nurses and hospital support figures – to exhausting and horrendously tiring shifts, in a terrifying challenge for the purpose of saving lives. In Italy – although the measure was initially ridiculed by other countries – the decision was even to “lock down the whole country”, by imposing severe, yet simple, preventive measures on the population, such as staying home with the aim of limiting the infection. This measure, certainly drastic, together with health and preventive measures adopted in Italy, are now also followed by other countries and referred to as the “Italian model”. The decision of forcing people to stay at home and not to go out, except for proven needs, inevitably involves a social and economic disruption. In short, very heavy damage for the whole country in every area of social, productive and economic life.

 The ban on leaving the house and, not least, avoiding gatherings of people, inevitably leads to the shut down of those commercial and productive activities which are based, in fact, on people's social and recreational behavior. These measures have in fact forced the shutting down of cinemas, theaters, restaurants, wine bars, bars and most of the commercial activities considered as “non-essential”. The economic consequences are frighteningly huge and, of course, the effects caused by these measures will continue even when this emergency is over. The shutting down of a specific commercial or production activity has a direct impact on all the others which depends on it: a virtually endless chain involving everyone. The economic consequences are – and will be – enormous, something affecting everyone, no one excluded, including (and perhaps above all) those who believe the economy to be a negative, even worse, deleterious, expression of society.

 The health of people undeniably comes first and before of everything else, it is a collective value for the benefit of all. The lack of the good state of health of a society evidently does not allow the development or well-being, of any kind, including the economic one, of the whole country. In this regard, being Italian, I am certainly proud of the health system of my country, capable of ensuring and guaranteeing anyone the possibility of being treated and assisted, regardless of their social or economic condition. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, a magnificent, supreme and undeniable sign of civilization. All this, of course, has a cost and its sustainability also depends on the economic health of the country. Forcing the population to stay at home means limiting both productivity and consumption, consequences affecting all the productive and economic sectors of the country, including wine. A shut down restaurant, for example, does not sell wine and therefore those who produce it, that is wineries, do not sell it either.

 The world of wine, however, is not only that of sales, although it is – evidently – the goal of every producer. In fact, it also includes events, fairs, tourism and, of course, customers who buy wine, such as restaurants, wine shops and bars. The current condition has already forced the organizers of event and fairs dedicated to wine to cancel or postpone the dates. Tourism, not only the one about food and wine, is, in this period, practically non-existent, wineries have seen a drastic decrease in orders, sales have collapsed. All this introduces significant and important economic critical issues, certainly not trivial, the results of them, probably, will continue even after 2020. Every business and production activity, understandably, are trying to adopt measures in order to limit – as far as possible – the damage caused by the economic loss, therefore by the lower profit and the inevitable maintenance of costs.

 Apparently, many wineries are trying to limit the effects of the drop in sales of this period by directly targeting private customers, especially through e-commerce. In terms of quantity and volume, it is certainly not like selling to restaurants and wine bars, however – so to speak – it is of course better than nothing. As if this was not enough, wineries are also facing a sharp and significant drop in export sales, a frequently fundamental share in the balance of many Italian producers. These definitely are difficult times which consequences, too easy to predict, will have a substantial effect for a long time. Indeed, it is difficult to predict now the real extent of both losses and the possibility of recovery, by also considering the production and trade of wine represent an important part of the Italian economy.

 Because if it is true the effects of this pandemic are already tangible and devastating at this time, the consequences on a social and economic level will only be determinable in a still uncertain future, not only for the world of wine. Here in Italy we keep on telling ourselves “everything will be all right”. I also believe everything will be all right, especially for the fact it must be and will be all right, although I am also convinced the price to pay – in human, health, social, economic and productive terms – will be enormous. In the end, when everything will just be a bad memory – that we must however not forget – we will get up on our feet and resume our journey while looking ahead. We owe it to ourselves and to those who are personally committed in doing everything possible to overcome this difficult period – especially in hospitals – for the good, health and interest of all of us, none excluded. We owe it, in particular, to our Country, to all those who will no longer be with us and that we have lost because of this pandemic. That day, our toast, with our wine and by raising high the glass, will also be, and above all, for them.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 194, April 2020   
The Economy of Wine in the Time of CoronavirusThe Economy of Wine in the Time of Coronavirus  Contents 
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