What wines do Italians love? Here are the favorite wine regions according to consumers

Apr 15 2024, 14:34
The 2024 edition of the Observatory on the competitiveness of wine regions was presented at Vinitaly. Unicredit and Nomisma Wine Monitor capture the positioning of the most loved wine regions

You say Piedmont and you think of a red wine, you say Alto Adige and you think of a white. When it comes to quality PDO wines, the association is often immediate. The Observatory on the competitiveness of Wine Regions, in collaboration with Nomisma Wine Monitor and UniCredit, focused on this specific theme in its 2024 edition, capturing both the performances of regional wines, in Italy and abroad, and analyzing their positioning in the perception of Italian consumers. The survey (which involved a thousand Italian citizens) was presented at Vinitaly and allowed us to understand the awareness, reputation, methods, and frequency of consumption of the main Italian PDO wines.

Piedmont, Tuscany, and Veneto stand out above all

The regions to which the Italian consumer, in general, associates the highest quality wines are Piedmont, Tuscany, and Veneto, with a significant gap compared to the followers: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Trentino, and Puglia. Regarding the top trio, according to the research, when it comes to younger consumers (Gen Z), Tuscany takes the top spot. Considering only still red wines, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Veneto are confirmed as the regions associated with the highest quality products. For white wines, the podium consists, in order, of Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Sicily. For rosés, Veneto, Tuscany, and Abruzzo. Finally, for sparkling wines, Veneto, Lombardy, and Trentino are considered by Italian consumers to produce the highest quality bubbles.

The most popular denominations: a Tuscan PDO leads

Also, due to this perception, in terms of spontaneous awareness, i.e., without a list of wines to choose from, the first three wine denominations that come to mind for Italian consumers are Chianti, Prosecco, and Barolo. According to Wine Monitor's survey, only 3% of Italians are unable to mention a PDO wine. What happens then regarding sparkling wines when consumers are asked about their perception of the same PDOs in terms of expressed values and attributes, considering also reputational characteristics and consumption situations? Prosecco stands out for freshness and conviviality, Franciacorta for quality and elegance, Trento Doc for quality and territorial recall. In relation to consumption situations, mainly attributed by Italians, Prosecco is seen as a "perfect sparkling wine for celebrating, suitable for an aperitif, and very versatile," while for Franciacorta and Trento Doc, the connotation of "wine suitable for a special gift or important occasion" also emerges.

Exports, top regions for performance in 2023

The Observatory also examined regional exports in 2023, in light of the -0.8% in value recorded by all Italian wine last year. The top three regions by value, as already described in the weekly Tre Bicchieri of March 21, for exports remain Veneto, Piedmont, and Tuscany, which together account for over two-thirds of national exports. Among the top ten exporting regions, there are contrarian trends with significant growth in Friuli Venezia Giulia (+8.4%), Abruzzo, Puglia, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, and Trentino Alto Adige. Specifically, PDO wines (which overall held in value with +0.3% compared to -4% in volume) saw increases in sparkling and white wines, while still reds suffered reductions, some significant. Among PDO whites, the largest increase is for Sicilian ones (+7%), for sparkling wines Prosecco (+5%), while Piemonte's still reds limited their losses (-1%). Veneto's still PDO reds performed poorly with -12 percent. Finally, among the top ten regions with the most presence on the shelf with still and sparkling PDO wines, almost all lost in volume. Only Sardinia's PDO wines (+13%) and Abruzzo's (+3%) are in positive territory, while Sicily's and Trentino Alto Adige's PDOs maintained sales volumes from 2022.

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