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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 203, February 2021   
The Italian Wine and the 2020The Italian Wine and the 2020  Contents 
Issue 202, January 2021 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 204, March 2021

The Italian Wine and the 2020


 The year that has just passed, 2020, represented for the world of wine – and not only for that – a decidedly difficult and critical period, of which we all were aware of. In this particular and unpredictable period, it is difficult to talk about anything else as the impact the current situation is exerting on the world of wine, including the economic, health and social ones, will need a long time to recover. During 2020, it has been forecast a consistent decline in sales, many estimates were made, unfortunately confirmed by the real data that have gradually defined the actual economic loss of the wine business and related activities. In this initial period of 2021, of course, the loss and profits of the wineries are being defined more clearly, not only in regard to the actual losses caused by lost sales, but also the estimate of what – as a matter of fact – has not been sold and still stored in wineries.


 

 An estimate of the amount of wine still stored in the Italian wineries has been provided by a report recently released by the ICQRF, Ispettorato Centrale della Tutela della Qualità e Repressione Frodi dei prodotti agro-alimentari, the Central Inspectorate for the Safeguarding of Quality and Fraud Repression of agriculture and food products, a department within the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Food Policies. The figures emerging from this document are, in truth, quite huge and – it should be said – they include the total quantity of wine by destination and enological type. This means it includes both wines destined to the market, so to speak, for immediate consumption and in the course of the current the year, and those destined, either by wine making choice or production requirement, to an aging before being marketed. Last but not least, also the wines of vintage 2020 that are still in the process of production. The data emerging from this report are very interesting and useful for understanding the “wine geography” of Italy and how the production is distributed in the country, in particular, in quantitative terms.

 The estimate was made by evaluating the data contained in the electronic registry about wine production in Italy, that is the database managed by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Food Policies. The registry contains the production data relating to about 17,000 producers and lists about 650,000 wine vessels, for a total of about thirty million recorded operations per year. The ICQRF estimates this database lists at least 95% of the wine which is currently kept by the wineries in Italy. At 31 December 2020, according to the data recorded in this electronic registry, in Italy there are currently 60.9 million hectoliters of wine, 8.3 million hectoliters of musts and 2.8 million hectoliters of new wine and still in the fermentation process. The first figure that emerges, in particular, is the comparison with the end of 2019. In fact, it can be seen an increase in stocks of 4.4%, a reduction of 8.5% of musts and 10% for wines in fermentation.

 These preliminary data highlight what has already been known for months: the decline in sales of wine vintage 2019 and past vintages as well as the decrease in production for vintage 2020. This latter figure was easily predictable, indeed, so to speak, ”forced” by the measures implemented in the past months and specifically for wine production which foresaw, in fact, a decline in viticultural production, and therefore in wine of vintage 2020. Moreover, there is another significant figure emerging from the comparison with the data about the end of November 2020. As was easily predictable, the stock of wines has increased – exactly, by 22.5% – in addition to the understandable decrease in musts, reduced by 28.5%, and that of wines in fermentation – recording a decrease of 78.3% – a sign, of course, they have ended this specific production phase. Of course, the 22.5% increase in stocks in just one month is not a fact to be underestimated and unfortunately confirms the critical moment that wineries are going through.

 The ICQRF report also provides interesting information about the geographical distribution of the Italian wine heritage. At the end of 2020, data say 58% of all Italian wine is stored in the wineries of northern Italy, 14.2% in the central area, 19.2% in the south and the remaining 8.4% in the islands. This report also highlights that 50.5% of the wine stored in Italian wineries belongs to the category of Denomination of Protected Origin (DOP), 27.4% is Protected Geographical Indication (IGP), 1.3% is represented by varietal wines and the remaining 20.8% is about wines belonging to other categories. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that 57% of the total stock is represented by 20 specific denominations only, as we will see in detail shortly. It is also interesting to note that 25.4% of the total wine stored in Italy is found in Veneto, in particular, the province of Treviso holds 10.6% and that of Verona 9.2%. An important share is held in Emilia-Romagna – 12.2% – followed by Apulia with 10.8%, then Tuscany with 9.3%. Piedmont and Sicily follow both with 7.3% and Abruzzo with 5.7%.

 As for wines with DOP and IGP denominations, data show there is a higher percentage of red wines, respectively 49.4% and 53.9%. As far as denomination wines are concerned, it is interesting to note that, despite the fact there are 525 legitimately recognized geographical indications in Italy, 57.6% of all this wine actually belongs to 20 appellations only. At the top of the ranking of the major producers, we find the vast Prosecco DOC denomination with 4.5 million hectoliters, representing 9.6% of all the appellation wines in Italy. Then follows Apulia IGP with 2.3 million hectoliters (4.8%), then Sicilia DOC with 1.8 million hectoliters (3.9%) and Terre Siciliane IGP, also in this case with 1.8 million of hectoliters (3.9%). Followed by Veneto IGP with 1.7 million hectoliters (3.7%), Delle Venezie DOC with 1.6 million hectoliters (3.4%), Toscana IGP with 1.6 million hectoliters (3.4%), Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC with 1.54 million hectoliters (3.3%), Salento IGP with 1.4 million hectoliters (3.1%) and Rubicone IGP with 1.3 million hectoliters (2.8%). Then follow three DOCGs wines: Chianti with 1.3 million hectoliters (2.7%), Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco with 0.9 million hectoliters (1.9%), then Chianti Classico with 0.8 million hectoliters (1.7%).

 By Continuing to read the ranking, we have another denomination of Veneto – Veronese IGP – with 0.78 million hectoliters (1.7%), then Emilia IGP with 0.67 million hectoliters (1.4%), Valpolicella DOC and Tre Venezie IGP, both with 0.6 million hectoliters (1.3%). They are followed by another DOCG – Franciacorta – with 0.6 million hectoliters (1.3%) and Trentino DOC with the same values. At the end of the ranking of the top twenty denominations, we have Barolo DOCG with 0.5 million hectoliters (1.1%). The situation reported the 31 December 2020 includes, as already mentioned, the wines currently in production, however the quantity stored in the Italian wineries is decidedly considerable. In particular for the fact it is also made up of the unsold wine during 2020 and for which, of course, it will be necessary to find a destination somehow. We therefore enter 2021 with the very heavy burden of 2020 and to which is added the wine currently in production and which – likewise – must be placed on the market. With the release of the wines of vintage 2020 and destined to the immediate consumption – very likely, in a few months – the similar wines of 2019 and still held in the wineries will no longer have a market, because, as usual, everyone will prefer to buy the wines of the new vintage. The course of 2021 will tell us how things are actually going to be, while hoping, in any case, there can be a prompt recovery and in all areas. As we are waiting for this to happen, let's support the Italian wine – as much as we can – and raise the glasses!

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 203, February 2021   
The Italian Wine and the 2020The Italian Wine and the 2020  Contents 
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