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English News Lunedi 19 Settembre 2022

Italian Wines: how many ''Prosecco''s do we have in our Country?

In light of the persisting success of the Prosecco, it is important to ask ourselves how many other Italian wine typologies have the potential to grow in the markets.

di Fabio Piccoli

Right in the past few days the UIV Observatory data arrived and they highlighted once more the Prosecco rush, which, in the four-month period of this year, was able to overtake on its own the value sells of all the Italian still wines in their whole in the UK (their most important market). It is a result with no precedents, which established the growth regarding the same period of last year at 127% of value and 74% of volume. Prosecco is worth, by now, more than 2/3 of the sparkling wine volumes imported in the UK from all over the world.

Prosecco represents by now the 30% of the export value of the Italian DOP and this inevitably give someone pause for thought. In particular, we have to ask ourselves: how many other “prosecco” exist in our Country? How many other Italian wine typologies have the right characteristics to have success in the markets?

Undoubtedly, one of the major constraints on our system is the Italian reliance on the export of small product typologies of wine, as I have repeatedly stressed.
For this reason, I think it is useful to locate other wine treasures buried in one of the many wine Regions of our country.

To conduct this scouting mission, I believe it is first and foremost vital to identify the key qualities that might convert wine, a designation, into a profitable product.
First of all, we need to deepen the knowledge of the real consumers’ tastes, in particular of the youngers. The real investigations provide us with extremely superficial information that gives us little hints. However, if we follow the traces left by Prosecco, it is simple to realize how the well-known Veneto-Friuli sparkling wine's big innovation was to make the "consuming moment" dominate above the "product features" as such.

Therefore, Prosecco crossed international borders by riding the lifestyle of wine drinkers.
This lifestyle which – as it was rightly highlighted by the director of the Corriere Vinicolo, Giulio Somma, during a seminar in the context of the Spumantitalia festival – is the true driver in the consuming habits of beverages, especially of alcohol, in the whole world.
And this is exactly what is making the consumers of alcoholic beverages extremely laic and disloyal, able to go from a beer, to a cocktail, to a wine but also to a ready to drink with extreme ease.
These dynamics must be much more studied and considered in our wine sector which, instead, in great part keeps having a much more traditionalist attitude, continuing to imagine the consumer as an eternally faithful wine expert.

It is not the case that the wine communication keeps being based on the usual schemes; even the social world gives us back an image of the product, of the companies and of the production territories substantially always the same through time.
But, if the so-called lifestyle is a key driver to have success, how many wine typologies do we have in Italy that correspond to an idea of consumption based on new consumers’ behavior models?
I would like to say a lot, so many to have embarrassment of riches. For example, I just came back from a beautiful enological tour in Abruzzo where I tasted sparkling wine which would find success in wine bars for aperitifs and happy hour in the whole world.
But I would like to say that every wine area in our country has a Prosecco in its portfolio and I do not intend just the sparkling wines, but also still wines with an extraordinary appeal for different typologies of consumers of the world.

We know all too well, though, that the intrinsic characteristics of wine are not enough to acquire notoriety and development in the markets. Another two fundamental facts are necessary: driver companies which take responsibility of the potential successful wines to let them be known in the markets; Protection Consortium or producers associations able to make “critical mass” in front of the promotion.
And regarding the production we are well ahead, while regarding the organized companies and markets dynamics and, especially, regarding the groups among producers, we are in certainly much more negative conditions.
If we had an Observatory to locate other denominations ready to take the major step, I believe we could count them on one hand (or maybe two, if we're lucky enough), keeping in mind all of the aforementioned reasons.