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Tuscany in Venetali looks to the US: Markets are growing, but the crisis is frightening



Tuscany presents itself in Vinitaly today at the top of its class, but there is no shortage of shade over the weather of Italian winemaking. The Verona Wine Fair, now in its 54th edition, the reboot after the disaster of the pandemic, opened yesterday with Oprah Wine, the event organized by the American magazine Wine Spectator par excellence, with the region featuring 36 producers. It was the largest ahead of Piedmont (20 companies) and Veneto (19 companies).

Exhibition expectations lead to optimism. With 130 proven major buyers, the United States, the world’s first export market for Italian wines, leads the international delegations located in Vinitaly. This is the first time that an international wine and spirits fair has reached such a result in the American market, and for Tuscany, which has historically been one of the most closely associated with the American market, this may be a good omen. The Venetali map records news from the high-spending star-and-stripes region of the Midwest and southern United States, evidence of large, unreported growth margins, as well as Canada, located historically in Verona. On the other hand, the Asian market is also moving in the name of wine, despite the displacement difficulties still associated with the epidemic: Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and also South Korea and China have been certified. At this point, the producers seem more tepid than Fair Body’s expectations.


I’m very optimistic about the opportunities Vinitaly presents – says Tommaso Cortonesi, of the homogeneous winery in Montalcino – I think the only low presence will be from the east, due to new closures and disallowed roads in Russia and Ukraine. Francesco Ricasoli presents his schedule for the next three days, a long list of appointments with buyers from dozens of countries. In addition to the United States and Canada, there are also Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Russia. The East is well represented and does not seem to fear the winds of war. There is a lot of interest in Chianti Classico – our efforts to communicate the growth in the quality of this label are beginning to have the desired effects, says Baron Ricasoli. The concept of this wine changes, no longer a fiasco but in the middle of the Tuscan landscape.

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The Chianti Classico Association presents itself in Vinitaly at a very positive moment for the sect. In fact, 2021 ended with a better-than-expected score: more than 21% compared to 2020 and more than 11% compared to 2019 on sales. A growth trend that also continues into 2022 which has already registered a 7% increase compared to the first months of 2021. Looking at the Chianti Classico markets, the US has been confirmed in the first place, for more than 15 years now, which is why the large number of US presence in Vinitaly bodes well.

Optimism for my other entity, too. For the Chianti Wine Consortium – says Director Marco Alessandro Pani – the goal is to maintain the positive trend: in 2020, we recorded a growth of 2% compared to the previous year, in 2021 it is about 5% compared to 2020. We hope and believe that this growth Slow can hold, even if it is pointless to hide the fact that a series of negative elements could affect the 2022 result. Riccardo Illi, owner of the Mastrogani winery in Montalcino, Tuscany, is sounding some alarm bells. For the entrepreneur from Trieste, exhibition costs have reached a limit. Today, from a cost standpoint, inviting buyers and journalists to the company is practically equivalent to participating in Vinitaly, with the difference that those who, like us, have focused on hospitality, can present a better image. Eli also stresses that from a market point of view, there is still no perception of a slowdown or recession that we will face in Italy, and it will only happen in the coming weeks.

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Lamberto Frescobaldi adds that some producers have already decided not to participate in Vinitaly anymore due to costs, but there should be, particularly for some companies, to support online sales and strategies with human contact for people during the show. Allegra Antinori emphasizes certain concerns: the market today is in good shape, but inflation, production costs and a shortage of raw materials, have not yet reached the world of wine, which generally suffers from crises later. But the problem of the glass – adds Albera Antinori – has become heavy: there are many factors that cause it: production costs, storage in recent months, transportation costs and growing international demand.

The wine world also thinks of those who have few lights compared to shadows. The associations of Chianti Clasico, Brunello and Bulgari will participate in the Wine for Peace auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to Caritas Siena Colle Val d’Elsa Montalcino to be allocated to a series of reception facilities for Ukrainian refugee families in cooperation with Sotheby’s Italia.

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April 10, 2022 | 07:51

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