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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 208, Summer 2021   
Good News from the Wine MarketGood News from the Wine Market  Contents 
Issue 207, June 2021 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 209, September 2021

Good News from the Wine Market


 Good news from the world of wine. At last. For more than one year now – unfortunately – the news regarding wine, in particular sales and market statistics, told us about critical moments and difficulties that wineries have experienced due to the pandemic. Suddenly, the wineries suffered an almost total blockage of sales, mainly due to the suspension of catering activities, probably the category that paid the highest price and suffered the greatest loss as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The stocks have obviously increased, creating many difficulties also of a managerial and logistic nature, further weighing on the economic balance. Notoriously, 2020 was very negative in terms of sales for Italian and European wineries, especially towards foreign markets, also due to – but not limited to – the introduction of duties by the United States of America and, no less important, the consequences of Brexit.


 

 After more than one year of restrictions and limitations on social activities, and therefore also on productive ones, the conditions – at last – seem to allow the gradual resumption of a certain sort of normality. Production and commercial activities are also gradually starting to reopen, thus seeing the concrete possibility of resuming working at full capacity. Among them, the catering and beverage selling activities which, it must be considered, were among those that suffered the most from the consequences of this forced closure. The reopening of production activities in the catering and beverage sector directly affects that of the wineries which – at last – see the possibility of resuming the commercialization of their wines. A reopening that is obviously happening not only in Italy but also in most of Europe and countries around the world.

 The sales figures for the first quarter of 2021 seem to confirm this recovery and, needless to say, it is great news that also give good hope for the immediate future. A recent survey conducted by Ismea and Unione Italiana Vini, based on Istat (the Italian Statistics Institute) data relating to wine exports in the first quarter of 2021, provides very encouraging data. The figures, as a whole, that is in the overall trend of the first quarter, actually shows a negative result. On the other hand, if we consider each month that make up the quarter – January, February and March – there is a growing and clear recovery in wine exports. In fact, the first quarter of 2021 marks, as a whole, a decline of -4% in value and -8.2% in terms of volume. Evaluating the data for each month, January recorded a decline of -19%, February of -11%, while in March the negative streak ends with zero percent. In the third month of this year, therefore, the negative trend has finally stopped.

 In particular, the data recorded in March 2021 show an increase in volume of +7% for bottled sparkling and still wines, while – in terms of overall value – the increase is even +12%. The latter figure takes on greater importance if compared with those of the past two months: in January it was recorded -21% while in February -5%. A positive result was also recorded for sparkling wines, going from -16% at the beginning of the year to +3% in March. As for bottled still and sparkling wines, from the beginning of 2021 – when it was recorded a drop of -23% – the increase was extremely significant with a +16%. Signs of a clear recovery also regarding exports, in particular to the United States of America. The most significant result is achieved by Prosecco which, in the first quarter of 2021, sees its volume of exports to the United States of America increase by even +11%.

 The result of bottled still wines is less brilliant, always referring to exports to the United States of America, which saw a decline of -7% in the first quarter. If we consider, however, the specific value for March, also considering that in January 2021 the exported value had marked a decrease of -44%, in the third month of this year the figure records an important increase of +21%. The wine sector – this is what the results of this survey are showing – is still far from regaining a level of activity in profits, but it is certainly very good news that the negative trend has stopped. There is however more as, in particular in March, there was an extraordinary trend reversal with a strong push towards the positive field, therefore a progression tending to profits and active levels. Even the numbers certifying these data show we are still far from a concrete recovery, but they unequivocally testify a marked and strong rise.

 The total exports relating to the first quarter of 2021, in regard of value, amounted to 1.444 billion of euros, corresponding to a decrease of -3.9% if compared to the same period of 2020. In this regard, however, it should be noted that the end of the first quarter of 2020 had, in turn, marked an increase compared to the same period of 2019. The result of the first quarter of 2021 therefore brings the value of exports back to the level of that of the same period of 2019, when the result was 1.435 billion euros. The positive trend which began in March 2021 also continued in April, thus confirming the good recovery in sales and exports of Italian wine. A recent analysis conducted by the Vinitaly-Nomisma Wine Monitor on a customs basis, in fact, revealed that in April 2021 there was an increase of +26% in exports of Italian wine to the United States of America and even +98% to China.

 The striking result achieved with the Chinese market is actually favored by the recent decision to introduce duties on Australian wine which has therefore seen a drastic “exit” of Australia from China. This event has therefore favored Italy which has now become the third supplier of wine on the Chinese market. In this regard, it should be noted that French wine also achieved a similar result with a greater impact on the Chinese market, in particular Champagne. As for Italy, Chinese demand is particularly interested in red wines of “high quality”, a condition that has therefore led to an increase in the exported value. The premises of the second quarter of 2021, therefore, give good hope for a strong and continuous recovery of the wine market and not only of the Italian one. In fact, consumption has resumed – also thanks to the reopening, at last, of restaurants and bars – and above all exports which have always represented a very important share of profits for Italian wineries. This time seems to be the good one. And may it also be the right time. Let's raise our glasses!

Antonello Biancalana



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  Editorial Issue 208, Summer 2021   
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