The home of Chianti, Amarone and Prosecco is the cradle of a rich wine heritage, caracterized by a huge diversity of grape varieties and wine styles.
I’m talking about Italy of course, with a tradition of more than two thousand years and that every year hosts one of the most famous fairs of the world.
400 companies from 24 countries, 90,000 square meters of exhibition halls, trade visitors from 120 nations .It began Sunday the latest edition of Vinitaly.
Four days of wine as a metaphor for a country growing, for a business with all five continents .
The data that just arrived are great, not only good.
Italian exports reached record numbers, with 20.4 million hectoliters (+0.8%) and 5.1 billion in revenues (+1.4%).
It is expected to catch up 5.5 billion by the end of 2015.
United States are the top importers (4 billion Euro), followed by the UK (3.8 billion Euro), in which the Italian product was chosen by 99% of consumers.
Even in Japan there has been a domestic consumption of wine for the 98% Italian.
The graph shows the values, volumes and prices of Italian wine abroad, for the decade 2003-2013 and the estimates of 2014.
A steady growth in the value of the product, that exceeded 5 billion last year, can be noticed, while volumes have had ups and downs, closing 2014 with more than 2 billion liters.
Stagnation is instead the result of the performance of the domestic market, around 4.3 billion euros.
Among the Italian companies with more than 100 million Euro, the first place goes to Cantine riunite Civ, with 500 million revenues, followed by Caviro Faenza, with 230 million Euro and Mezzacorona, with 171 million Euro.
Antinori (biggest private reality in the market), Cavit, Campari group and Italian Wine Brands (first italian listed wine company) are just some of the names that follow in the list.
Italy is also one of the countries, or “The Country” if you accept my nationalism, known and appreciated all around the world for its presigious wines, DOC and DOCG.
Actually, all the territorial regions produce good wine, some of them have excellent productions, such as Tuscany, Sicily, Sardinia, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige.
But, how do you define a good wine as excellent?
For its price, or for its export? What about the colour, the flavour, the bouquet? Maybe you have also to ask yourself if it is present in the best guides or restaurants’ menus.
Certainly, the aspects that make a bottle priceless and memorable are many, as well as our wines.
From Brunello di Montalcino, to Chianti Classico (both from Tuscany), passing through Barolo and Barbera (from Piedmont).
Other wines, maybe less known, but definitely at the top of the world wine lists, are Bolgeri Superiore DOC, Tignanello IGT, Solaia form Marchesi Antinori, Sassicaia from San Guido winery and wines from the Ornelliana winery.
Actually, the Marchesi Antinori cellar is one of the most beautiful in the world, thanks to the architect Marco Casamonti who created a perfect armony between the winery and the territory.
So, we have more than 2000 grape varieties, 20 regions that produce different kinds of wine, many excellences bought all over the world.
No surprise, then, when we find out that our wine, along with other enogastronomic traditional products, is copied everywhere.
Prosecco from Crimea, southamerican Marsala, white Barbera from Romania are just some (terrifing) examples.
Today, between pavilion 6 and 7 at Vinitaly, we can fnd out a “Corner of Shame”, created to sensitize consumers right befor Expo 2015.
It is not only about how much our image is ruined, offering to the market expectations not in line with the product.
It is also the one billion Euro of estimable losses that makes me angry.
However, experts are most worried about the demage to our image between the emerging and potential customers who do not have a wine knowledge yet.
Something that scares too are the so known “wine kits”, which can easily be found online.
These kits include a special powder that in few days allows to copy some of the best Italian wines; yes, dried wine, I’m disgusted only writing it down.
The unexpected thing is that one can find these products not only online, but also in stores.
Some countries, such as United Kingdom, Sweden and Canada sell them without any problem, not even thinking they are affecting our market in such a bad way.
Funny thing is that in Europe these kits are illegal and Italy has recently made a deal known as CETA, Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement, with Canada.
This agreement has the purpose to avoid illegal copies of european products, even though, as we see, the rules are not always respected.