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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 196, June 2020   
What Future for Wine?What Future for Wine?  Contents 
Issue 195, May 2020 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 197, Summer 2020

What Future for Wine?


 Let's try to restart, to regain a minimum of normal life, to resume our habits, our lives. Of course, it won't happen in a moment or in a few days. The resumption of normality – whatever that means for each of us – will be a gradual process dependent on factors that, at this moment, cannot be told or foreseen. Little by little, with time we will resume doing what we have always done even if there are many who say we will do it in a totally different way. Maybe it will be – or it will seem – different at the beginning of the recovery, we will probably need a very long time to restore what has characterized our lives until a few months ago. After all, history and human events teach us that at the end of any catastrophic event it takes a long time to recover from the consequences, however – history also teaches us this – it could actually represent an opportunity to progress and improve.


 

 In this moment – while I am writing these words – in Italy the measures defining the so-called “phase 2” are being adopted and they should guarantee a progressive, albeit cautious, recovery of productive and social activities. Even the world of wine tries to restart, looking to the immediate future which is coming to life in the vineyards, trying to understand what harvest 2020 will be like. The restart will obviously receive concrete help from the concomitant reopening of bars and restaurants, although with very heavy impositions both in the number of potential customers to be served, and in the huge economic investments made to guarantee safety. In this regard, it should be noted that – because of the security measures they must adopt – many restaurants and bars have decided to not reopen because the costs needed for the equipment and measures do not justify the potential profit.

 The reopening of restaurants, although in a limited way, can contribute in part to the recovery of the wine market. Until recently, in fact, restaurants were only allowed to do home delivery and takeaway. In these two activities, although they may guarantee restaurants a profit, so to speak, of suffered survival, it was rather unlikely the sale also included wine. With the reopening of the restaurants, however, it is very likely wine is included in the table's order. This will certainly not restore the necessary momentum for the recovery of the wine market, but – there is no doubt about this – it is definitely better than nothing. Although it is very unlikely restaurants will be assaulted by clients, this is however a good sign and, in these days, the good news is definitely a pleasure and welcome. Of course, it will not be like we used to go to restaurants a few months ago: the preventive and safety measures imposed on restaurants do not encourage the typical sociability of the banquet, however, at this moment, it is essential to give top priority to prevention and to people's health.

 It is, in any case, a temporary situation of “transition”, in the hope that – soon – conditions will allow a more “human” lifestyle. In any case, it is a step forward and it will certainly bring benefits to both the restaurant and wine business, although – at this moment – it is difficult to make any estimate or forecast. What will the future of the wine market be? More precisely: what will be the future world of wine in general terms? A question which, inevitably, must be answered quickly as harvesting will take place in a few months. In this regard, we can already predict 2020 vintage will not be abundant like the previous ones. It is quite likely, in fact, that in the Italian vineyards – not least, in the European ones – will be made an extensive use of the so-called “green harvesting”, with the aim of limiting production. This practice, in fact, consists in the thinning in the vineyards, that is the elimination of part of the bunches with the consequent reduction of the yields.

 It must be considered, in fact, all the wineries are facing the not simple problem of unsold bottles and thinking about producing new wine without having sold the previous vintage, makes the situation even harder. The preventive measures and the consequent block of the production activities occurred, in fact, just right when wineries were ready for the marketing of the wines of 2019 vintage. All this undeniably put wineries in an extremely critical condition, both in economic and logistical terms. The situation is so complex and, in some respects, indeterminable, that many support the idea of ??a radical change in commercial and marketing methods. A change that will also affect many other production sectors and, among these, wine. It is not easy, at this moment, to exactly understand how this will change – providing it will ever change – as the whole socio-sanitary situation is still rather uncertain and fragile.

 With the change in the commercial methods of wine, communication and promotion will probably change as well: maybe we will be forced to adapt and devise new forms of communication. These are assumptions, of course, and – who knows – in the near future things will return like they were before or perhaps the new measures adopted in this period will join the canonical ones. We have already noticed an evident sign of how wine trade is changing. This is not a real novelty, rather, a more frequent use, imposed by the current condition, and which in some respects has ensured a minimal survival to wine: e-commerce. Fortunately, the people forced to stay at home did not give up on a glass of wine and, apparently, sales through the Internet recorded a significant increase. It could become the main way to buy wine in the coming months, or perhaps years, certainly a commercial possibility that will further get consolidated and become a custom and not only for wine lovers. It is difficult now to make any prediction as the present also seems to be rather uncertain. However, we can all do something – now – for wine and for that important commercial sector that has always sold it. Let's go to the restaurant, possibly in good company, and enjoy – as much as possible – that pleasure we have given up on for too long. Let's also order a good bottle of wine, raise the glasses and make a toast, an auspicious one: we all deserve it.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 196, June 2020   
What Future for Wine?What Future for Wine?  Contents 
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