Vinitaly: from the USA to China, Italian bubbles are on the rise

Mar 9 2022, 10:00 | by Gambero Rosso
Italian sparkling wine sales are booming on foreign markets: +30% in 2021 according to the UIV-Vinitaly Observatory. "The sector that has been most impacted during the lockdown becomes now the symbol of relaunch" asserts Veronafiere CEO Giovanni Mantovani, who is betting on foreign players for 2022 Vinitaly.

Italian sparkling wines are skyrocketing. According to the UIV-Vinitaly Observatory analysis on exports to non-EU countries in 2021, the US market has increased by 1/3 the value of its demand, with Prosecco at +43%. But even more surprising is the trend of Italian bubbles in China, a country of red wine lovers. Here Prosecco has risen by +117%, showing a 33% growing exports of Italian sparkling wines. Encouraging figures come from Canada (+23%), Switzerland (+11%) and Japan (+5%) as well. "Italy’s sparkling wines are going to close the year with a 30% increase. On this trail, particularly driven by Prosecco, we are expecting a growth of other appellations, a phenomenon – that of bubbles – which will soon exceed the threshold of one billion bottles per year. On that note, we should be pay attention to 2022, which opened with pitfalls not to be underestimated: starting from the higher prices due to the escalation of energy costs, to the criticism about wine in terms of health, based on limited studies that we cannot share", reveals UIV secretary general Paolo Castelletti.

But how can we explain this growth acceleration for a category that has experienced the toughest setback during the pandemic? "The category most affected by the pandemic has now become the ultimate symbol of the post-lockdown relaunch,” explains Mantovani. However, "the performance of our flagship products should not be underestimated either, such as DOP reds from Piedmont and Tuscany, which closed the year in the USA respectively at +32% and +26%, or the Sicilian reds which grew in Canada by 52%”.

Vinitaly bets on foreign players

Building on the Italian dynamism, Veronafiere is accelerating in the meantime its strategic plan for the 54th edition of Vinitaly. From 10 to 13 April, it will be back with more than 4000 exhibiting companies, aiming for a sell-out. The campaign already underway involves 60 countries in the promotion, communication and incoming program, launched by the exhibition joint-stock company and the Italian Trade Agency. They share both a total investment of 3 million euros, and a business list of 500 top buyers worldwide, besides thousands of national and international market players.

"We are experiencing a high level of confidence and expectations from both international players and exhibiting companies. Contingents that have already joined us are from Canada, from the USA, particularly the Midwest, West Coast and Texas, as well as from Singapore, Malaysia and, from Europe, the United Kingdom, Scandinavian countries, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and from some of the most interesting countries of Eastern Europe, starting with Poland. In addition, we are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open up to the Land of the Rising Sun, thus favoring the presence of Japanese market players," remarks Mantovani.

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