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Italian wine starts with the horeca, looking at new opportunities in gdo and China by 01/06/2021  

The Italian wine, the main agri-food sector worth more than 16 billion euro in turnover and is a "business card" of the made in Italy in the world, starts again. A sector that has suffered from the pandemic, in particular the exposure of the medium-high segments of production to the long-closed horeca channel, in Italy and abroad, but which has also put its resilience into play, with exports 2020 that have marked a decline of the second, 3% for a turnover exceeding six billion euros, a better performance of a competitor like France. It is now the scenarios that the sector is looking at, that have changed, as emerged today from the virtual "Food Industry Summit" of "The Sun 24-Hour", but offer new opportunities starting from the international markets.


In spite of the pandemic, the problem of the closure of the horeca, and in particular the catering channel, and the consequent lack of liquidity on the part of the companies, remains on the ground, "the wine has been able to react with innovative instruments such as e-commerce," said the president of Uiv/Union Italiana Vini Ernesto Abbona, in this way the presence on the international markets has not diminished, in the face of invoices dropped mainly in the horeca, with its occasional and sometimes paradoxical closures. So much so that, today, the stocks of wine are not so alarming, which are even less so in the past year, even though they have had a harvest richer than three%. But there is a need for aid for horeca and winegrowing enterprises that work with the sector, and that over the years have created value on wines. The sharp decline in invoices due to closures was not absorbed by other channels, but the decline was the value of wines, also understood as the set of elements such as culture and sociality that travels with bottles in the world. This has led to credits that we estimate in 500 million euros, with a job lost in the 1,5-1,8 billion sector. That is why we would like the policy to make a lost bottom-up contribution to the wineries to strengthen the measure introduced last year, exempting them from the payment of social security and welfare contributions and, above a l l, and this is the innovative proposal, avoid suspending the payment of taxes on accrued loans, which will in large part not be settled. But also to avoid the advance of the VAT: in this way, the State does not assume a cost, but gives liquidity to the companies by putting it in the conditions in their turn, without intermediaries, to give immediate liquidity to the horeca, which, when it reopens, must not only offer the wine it has in the cellar, but also the new vintages."

The international markets have essentially held and Italy, despite a l l the difficulties involved, has managed to limit the damage. In addition to their redistribution, however, new opportunities must be exploited. As in China, where as a result of a round of duties on imports of Australian wines that had warmed up France, as the first suppliers of the Chinese market, and now lose positions, new spaces are opening up also for Italian wine, which is however late on the competitors." The figures confirm that the lack of Australian wines creates a real opportunity for anyone who is willing to take it - Silvana Ballotta explained, ceo Business Strategies- the French who were in second place on Australian wines, have reconciled their gap, becoming a leader of the sector. Wines from New Zealand and other countries are coming, while for Italy the pandemic has highlighted the deficits of our wine system. Those who already had in the development strategy the speeding up of tools such as digital and the approach to the end consumer with communication and training are already ahead. And in fact also the Italian producers who are already well positioned on these fronts, in terms of budget in the 2020 have gained more from China than from the United States and other countries." We must ask ourselves why we have not been able to create a definite identity of Italian wine." In China - added the ad of Pasqua Vigneti and Cantine, Richard Easter- the consumption per capita of wine is 0.5 litres per year against the eleven of the USA. The space is enormous and the Italian wine can cross the road of success already taken by the automobile and the fashion made in Italy. But we need to completely change strategy and go with a unique and unique message of country system and rely on local consultants who can suggest how the Chinese look at wine. In other words, completely different methods are needed from those used on the Western markets." The other route to activate is the formation: the Wset courses that brought many Chinese wine educators closer to the wine but in which Italy is less present than other countries, have been blocked, and also here a space to fill has opened up.

Examples of the resilience of Italian companies in the pandemic come from the cooperative system, which represents more than fifty% of Italian wine produced and marketed, and in the 2020 has recorded an increase in the turnover of the 1% and the exports of the 3%, in contrast." Many of the big cooperative companies turn to the gdo channel where things went well --recalled Simon Pietro Felice, dg Caviro- a channel that has changed a lot over the years, from being poor to very rich, and where even the "precious" products can find their space, in Italy but especially abroad. Where large international retailers have developed in their shelves a large and evolved product display. I remember that abroad most wine consumption is exorbitant, from the British to the Americans, from the Chinese to the Japanese. With the lockdown they were forced to try consumption at home, buying it in supermarkets, and this opened up a market that was not there before. And one day, even when the horeca starts, this will be the great opportunity for wine, which could also lead to an increase in per capita consumption. Caviro is the main player of the English distribution, and we had to double the sales to the English gdo from one day to the next. This is where the ability to do so comes into play."

Meanwhile, Italy is dealing with the calculated wine. A fake news, about which to clarify with the politics of jumping on chairs." The controversy over the calculated wine is special - concluded Abbona at the summit (who also launched, the new online editorial platform of the 24-hour Group that integrates the contents dedicated to the agri-food sector, from daily to online, from Agrisole to Radiocor, (ndr) and Uiv is not in line with the position of our institutions and we will request an urgent meeting of the Minister for Agriculture Stefano Patuanelli to reiterate the line taken by wine entrepreneurs in view of the debate on the reform of the peace in Brussels on the 25th and 26th of May. We are talking about an oenological practice already regulated in Europe in 2018 where it is possible to calculate up to 20% the degree and used, instead, by Germany and Spain for the production of fully calculated wines. Products that open up a new market opportunity that we want to anchor to the world of wine and not leave it to the multinationals of beverage. Not only because it is an opportunity for development from a commercial point of view, but also to guarantee the consumer: the wine sector has much stricter certifications and controls than other branches. And there is no question of completely decolculating the Dop and Igp wines, nor of adding water to the wine: some techniques provide for the reintroduction of endogenous water extracted from the same wine during the process of dealcolysation, a practice that we want to limit to table and varietal wines anyway, which are the same products for which distillation is requested because of excess."