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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 219, Summer 2022   
First Quarter 2022: A Great Success for the Italian WineFirst Quarter 2022: A Great Success for the Italian Wine  Contents 
Issue 218, June 2022 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 220, September 2022

First Quarter 2022: A Great Success for the Italian Wine


 Good news – again – for the Italian wine. Contrary to the negative forecasts of recent months, the data emerged from exports relating to the first quarter of 2022, highlights a new and excellent result for the Italian wine. A figure, as we will see, strongly in contrast with the forecasts made recently, which led to make most think of a 2022 in strong difficulty. The main reason for these predictions, all too well known, was associated to the difficulty in finding certain accessory materials, however essential, for the marketing of wine. The difficulty of finding these materials, in any case, still represents a serious concern today, in particular for the procurement of glass bottles. The result achieved by the export – and hence economic – of the first quarter of 2022 is therefore related to the wine production of 2021. In this regard, it must be noticed the difficulty in finding certain materials began in 2021, when the situation was not as critical as it actually became over the course of this year.


 

 The Observatory of the Unione Italiana Vini (Italian Wines Union) has recently released export data for the first quarter of 2022 and, despite the uncertain forecasts of the past recent months, there is a growth of +18.3% equal to an increase in value of 1.7 billion euros. This result was elaborated by the Observatory of the Italian Wines Union according to the data released by ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) thus allowing the determination of its measure. Specifically, this result is strongly determined by exports of sparkling wines which – apparently – are extremely sought after and appreciated in foreign markets. Italian bubbles recorded an increase of +35.6% in the first quarter of 2022, a result which is more than double of what has been recorded by still table wines, which in any case obtain a significant +14.8%. The data also highlights the increase in average prices, marking a raise of +12.2%, a trend that had been widely anticipated in the past recent months.

 Practically all the main markets, with the exception of Germany and China, recorded an increase in the export of Italian wines. In addition, there is a significant and predictable decline in the Russian and Ukrainian markets, which respectively record -65% and -98%. As already mentioned, sparkling wines are the main leaders of the Italian export market, recording significant increases in all primary reference markets. In particular, in the United States of America has been recorded an increase of +18%, in the United Kingdom +87% and in Germany +20%. Easily predictable, the sparkling wine sector is strongly dominated by Prosecco, which – alone – records a +40% in terms of value and +11.7% in the average price. The famous bubbles from Veneto in fact record an increase of +93% in the United Kingdom, +85% in Poland and +76% in Canada. Furthermore, important reference markets such as Germany, France, Belgium, Japan, the Czech Republic and Norway recorded an increase of over +30%.

 The first quarter was also positive for French wine which recorded an increase in exports of +24%, results that could give hope for a positive trend also in the next periods. In this regard, Paolo Castelletti – secretary general of the Italian Wines Union – says «The results achieved by Italian wine, but also by the French one, which records a +24%, are surprising, even more if we take into account the double-digit raise in 2021. However, it is too early to predict which direction the market will take in the next months, with potential demand increasingly plagued by a downturn and the escalation of inflation. If we add to this the increase in the costs of raw materials, which for companies translates into an average spending surplus of over 30%, it is important to remain cautious and avoid triumphalism that could be refuted in the coming months».

 A certainly agreeable caution, in particular if we consider the socio-economic condition that has become even more complicated in this second quarter, including – and not only – the impact of inflation which inevitably affects us all and in every regard. Inflation, not least, also directly affects the costs that wineries – and any production activity – have to bear, a further critical condition added to the current difficulty in finding raw materials, in particular glass bottles. These factors, in fact, can seriously compromise the good result achieved in the first quarter, something that – notoriously – has been known for some time now. Still on economic considerations, the current exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro, on the other hand, could favor exports to the United States of America. This condition, in fact, is certainly one of the factors which favored the good result of exports to that country in the first quarter.

 Back to the encouraging result of Italian wine exports in the first quarter of 2022, it is interesting to note – specifically – the contribution of sparkling wines. As already mentioned, and this is nothing new, Prosecco has been leading Italian bubbles abroad, one of the most successful Italian wines since many years now and, certainly, the first for sparkling wine production. Again and according to the data of the Unione Italiana Vini, the demand for sparkling wines in the period, so to speak, “post-Covid 2019” recorded +26% in 2021 and, in particular, seven out of ten bottles reached foreign markets. Furthermore, according to producers' forecasts, it was expected that more than one billion bottles to be marketed within the next two years. An ambitious and important result which, indeed, has already been achieved, giving the hope – availability of raw materials permitting, in particular, glass bottles – to reach 1.25 billion by the end of 2023.

 As already said, Prosecco is leading the unstoppable rise and conquest of the foreign markets of Italian bubbles, for which demand seems to have no crisis. For this wine, in fact, it is interesting to note a radical change in demand and consumption which, for sparkling wines, is generally concentrated on the holidays at the end of the year. For Prosecco, on the other hand, the demand is practically continuous and distributed over the entire year, a trend that – and, I would add with satisfaction, at last – sees the consumption of bubbles even in contexts that, up to now, have generally been dominated by other styles of wine. Bubbles, certainly protagonists of informal moments, apéritifs and celebrations, are finally entering the imagination of consumers as wines to be enjoyed during meals. Probably the key to success is also due to the typical alcoholic volume of Prosecco – generally low and rarely higher than 12% – therefore favoring its consumption without the risk of an excessive intake of alcohol, thus lowering the risk of consequences, including legal ones, which notoriously derive from it.

 This trend, which certainly meets the modern needs related to alcohol consumption – however pointing out the secret for better appreciating wine is always represented by moderation – will inevitably lead to further competition in the low alcohol wines market. Indeed, this too will be a non-trivial challenge for the next years, especially if we consider the evident climatic changes, with constant increase in temperatures which, in wine making terms, translates into greater quantities of sugars in the grapes, therefore high production of alcohol during fermentation. Back to our primary subject, it is certainly a pleasure to welcome this new and extraordinary result of the Italian wine abroad. A sign that our wines are appreciated and are considered important in the preferences of foreign consumers, while hoping the result will be consolidated and further improved. Inflation, socio-economic conditions, availability of raw materials and glass bottles permitting.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 219, Summer 2022   
First Quarter 2022: A Great Success for the Italian WineFirst Quarter 2022: A Great Success for the Italian Wine  Contents 
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