ITALY (Verona) – At the end of last year, 1,600 participants – among them being wine producers, marketing and distribution staff as well as importers and exporters of Italy’s wine business – followed an invitation of the VinItaly wine fair to join its Wine2Wine-Business Forum. The topics on the agenda were viticultural technology, but also digital trends up to neuro-marketing. Whoever knows Italy, knows that this is a country where individualism plays a big role, and there is one thing which is rarely found there – consensus. In Bella Italy, people often disagree about complicated and – frankly – crazy regulations determining wines and their classifications in IGT, DOC, and DOCG.
However, in one detail Italy’s wine business is closely fraternized – it is the steadily present trade with its own wines on the world’s largest markets. Among these markets, there are the USA, Italy’s largest export market, and China, the Eldorado of the future. But the Asian markets remained a marginal topic of this forum. The participants learned what is so important it he USA. Wine importer Guiseppe Lo Cascio, brand manager at The Winebow Group, one of the largest importers of Italian wines to the USA, explained the export to overseas and the complicated distribution systems in the US federal states.
Lo Cascio also reported about a polarization of the US distributors, which are growing and growing. But this polarization also created niches for smaller traders who are concentrating on less famous wine regions and grape varieties. “The strengths of the Italian wine are its domestic varieties”, Lo Cascio, who was born in New York but grown up in Palermo, reported. “The French sell at higher prices, but Italy’s richness is due to an incredible number of varieties, which have to be made known.”
Above all the wines from the Sardinia and Sicily as well as the wise from the south of Italy had to offer much to the consumer but they were not famous, he said. As an example, Lo Cascio mentioned Sicily’s efforts to improve the quality of the local Grillo grape variety. Varietal wines out of this vine usually are of pale-yellow color, they are extract-rich and have a high content of alcohol, but they are usually blended with the Catarratto Bianco Comune, Catarratto Bianco Lucido, and Inzolia varieties. “Grillo is one of the most planted varieties in western Sicily, but when a good quality is on the focus, the results are wines which are balanced, elegant, as well as very charming – and they are available”, Lo Cascio explained.
During the two-day forum, another topic circulated: The US millennials. The participants discussed how to reach those wine-affine young people, and what channels to use. Via social networks, was the unanimous answer, but many traditionalists are careful with this medium. “With fine wines, we are still following the principles of the good old market economy”, Giovanni da Filicaja, long-standing CEO of Frescobaldi and of the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. “In general, by these brands, we follow the formula of exclusivity, but, of course, we cannot completely shut ourselves off to the digital world but we should approach it carefully.”
As was to be expected, the participants discussed a lot, a comprehensive amount of information was available, trends were shown, and new distribution channels were discussed. There were two points which everybody agreed upon – quality is the only way to success, and the large number of grape varieties is the key to the future of the wine nation of Italy. It was not an issue during the Forum that visions could also deteriorate - especially with regard to the focus of the Italian wine industry on the US market. Who could already foreseen what happens after the 45th US President take office. Now we know that not only Italy's wine industry must wear warmly if Trump also discovered the protection of US wines. (red.yoopress)