Wine adds more than €14bn to Italy's economy

The results of a new survey were released at Vinitaly this week, giving a snapshot of Italian wine consumption - and just how vital it is for the economy.

Vinitaly

Drinkers in Italy's fashion capital of Milan prefer sparkling. The Romans reach for white wine. And in Naples, red wine is preferred. These were some of the findings of the Italian Market – Italians and Wine survey released at Vinitaly this week. The report, conducted by Vinitaly with the Vinitaly Observatory-Nomisma Wine Monitor, revealed that 88% of Italians drank wine in 2018.

“For Italians, wine is much more than just a status symbol,” said the CEO of Veronafiere SpA, Giovanni Mantovani. “It represents a fundamental part of Italian culture, unlike other consumer countries.”

The survey, which attempted to understand the Italians’ attitudes to wine, did find that people are drinking less wine overall – consumption volumes are down by 26% compared to 20 years ago. Those who do partake are being more moderate in their consumption, averaging just two to four glasses a week.

Italians mostly consume at home (67%) and when it comes to patterns of consumption, a stark age difference has emerged: 93% of baby boomers consumer wine, compared to 84% of millennials.

More value in wine

Although the volume of wine consumed in Italy dipped in 2018, value was up by 2.8%, suggesting that the Italian market is premiumising, in line with other wine markets; Italy is fourth in terms of consumption, after the USA, France and the UK.

“For the first time, we have estimated the value at consumer level of the leading market in the world for our producers,” said Maurizio Danese, the president of Veronafiere SpA. “The figure of more than €14bn says a great deal about how the sector impacts not only the supply chain, but also services and the HoReCa sector.”

Consumption preferences change according to location, with Naples and Milan both consuming more rosé than elsewhere. When it comes to wine tourism, the number one destination for Italians is Tuscany, including Chianti and Siena, followed by Piedmont and the Veneto.

The report also said that the “spritz is king of out-of-home consumption” and is a “full-scale wine initiation rite for younger palates”.

Vinitaly opened in Verona on 8th April 2019 and was acknowledged by local politicians as a driving force for both the wine economy and for Verona. The mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, used the occasion to announce a major plan for the “regeneration of the entire area surrounding the exhibition centre,” including “investments to enhance the city’s appeal and international calibre for tourism and business alike”.

The Minister for the Interior, Matteo Salvini, announced a go-ahead for the proposed high-speed rail project on the Brescia-Verona-Vicenza-Padua line. “Wine, like people, has to move, and if it does not move at high speed, it will be left in the cellar,” he said.

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