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Italy seen benefitting the most from rising wine consumption worldwide in next four years

by Emanuele Scarci

Worldwide wine consumption will grow by 4.3% over the next four years, led mainly by buyers in China (21.6%) as well as Russia (6.1%) and the United States (5.7%). These statistics from ISMEA agricultural research and funding institute were presented at Vinitaly, the 51st edition of the international wine trade show in Verona, which ends today.

ISMEA also foresees a 2.4% growth in production; this would be more contained than the growth in consumption.

Italy is expected to be the most dynamic country through 2020, with a 10% increase in global sales (by value;) this would place them ahead of France and Chile (+6.1%,) the USA (+4.3%,) and Spain (+3.6%).

“The surge in China’s consumption stands out, as it will reach Germany’s levels, whereas Italy's domestic consumption will remain stable at +0.9%, following the minimal levels over the past five years,” said ISMEA’s General Manager, Raffaele Borriello. “In terms of the average export value, which is still low in comparison with France, it should be noted that Italy has grown by 20% from 2014-2016 (in comparison with 2011-2013,) as opposed to our main competitors’ +9%.”

According to Veronafiere General Manager Giovanni Mantovani, “ISMEA’s data shows just how strategic the Chinese market is. The producers need to become more competitive and systemic, in terms of advertising. As for the USA, Italian wine has spread all along the east coast, and now we have to start focusing on America's Heartland: the central areas, where our wine has yet to arrive.”

The Italian government, ICE-Italian Trade Agency, and Veronafiere are preparing to launch their trading platform, the Italian Wine Channel, in the Chinese market (alongside an sommelier training academy)—not to mention their partnerships with Alibaba and 1919.

They’ve also opened up a Wine Table meeting with the entire industry and its considerable public funds, in order to plan for the USA.

“China is the market of the future,” observes Marilisa Allegrini, head of marketing for her namesake wine company in the Veneto, “and we’ve already been prepared for quite some time: we’re relying on Cremonini’s distributive platform, which Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit are also involved in.”

Federvini, the association of wine and spirits producers, approved a structural reinforcement program at Vinitaly yesterday.

This will serve, in particular, to create and strengthen services with high added value, thanks to a deal signed with Assoenologi; this agreement will improve their sustainability, research, and analytical studies.

Yesterday Federvini also reintroduced the matter of the EU’s OCM wine funds (for promoting wine abroad). The sector had been thrown into chaos due to the lack of clarity while the regulations were being created and applied.

“The Ministry’s aloof attitude towards the promotional funds is bewildering, since it’s left Italian businesses without financial support—and their competitors in other countries have been using these funds for months,” said President Sandro Boscaini.