“Between the war and the energy crisis, the world of wine is under attack, institutions must protect us”
The halls of Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome hosted the Federvini General Assembly for the presentation of the data collected by the Observatory in collaboration with Nomisma and Tradelab, on the progress of the wine, spirits, vinegars sector. A busy day of work with a parterre of speakers divided into three panels – Italy, Society, Europe – called together in a think tank made necessary by the delicate phase of a sector severely tested by the consequences linked to the first pandemic and the conflict in Russia – Ukraine then.
“This year we are facing complex issues internationally that are worrying us a lot – he began Micaela Pallini, President Federvini -. 2021 closed with extremely positive numbers for our sector, Federvini in fact represents wine, spirits and vinegars, we have proved to be one of the driving pillars of Italian agro-industry, as one fifth of exports are made by us. Our study testifies to important increases in both consumption and trends, confirming the excellent prospects, but the international situation is not very reassuring, between a conflict that shows no sign of ending and energy prices that rise with important repercussions on the entire chain. In our sector, glass is one of the main concerns, the availability of materials, but above all an increase in the cost of living that begins to have a strong impact on the pockets of our consumers, not only in Italy but also abroad. We decided to set up our assembly by creating three panels, because the problems are multiple and so are the opportunities, involving more than one Ministry and more than one authority. This is why we ask the institutions for attention, submitting requests, some of which are at no cost, which can help us catch our breath “.
The Italy panel addressed the issue of reforms, PNRR and simplification. “One of our instances concerns digitization, that is the connection of the wine file to the dematerialized register, an existing register that must simply be connected to something new that has to be born. Then the abolition of the mark, the tax exemption of some of our turnover that comes from abroad “. The Society panel was instead called upon to tackle the delicate issue of the relationship between wine and health. “This issue is taking a turn out of reality – he continued -, Italy is a champion of moderate and responsible consumption, wine is part of our culture and our territory. We are under attack, we ask the institutions to support us because there must be a clear distinction between abuse and responsible consumption, the reputation of our products is at stake ”. Finally, the Europe panel, committed to defending our Geographical Indications “see the Prosek case, but also balsamic vinegar”, concluded Pallini.
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from our correspondent Maurizio Tropeano
Present in a double capacity – Minister of Public Administration and wine producer – theMrs Renato Brunetta immediately exposed the numbers of the world of wine in Italy where there are 340 thousand production facilities, 1.2 million employees in the sector and a turnover of 25 billion euros. “During the pandemic the consumption matrix changed – he specified -, with a drop in Horeca and an increase in large-scale distribution – not structural because it is linked to the particular context – and, beyond the enormous increase in online sales, we recorded a greater attention in the consumer towards the choice of quality and sustainable products. All this made producers think that they could not fail to consider this behavioral change. Last year – he continued – we had an increase in GDP of 6.6% which made us recover almost 2/3 of what was lost in the worst year of the pandemic, and when we thought that things would improve further, the outbreak of the The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has accentuated some pre-existing tensions such as energy prices and shipping “.
“Going back to the question of simplifications in the wine sector and the ‘reforms that cost nothing’ mentioned by Micaela Pallini, I can commit myself to two requests from Federvini. The first concerns linking the new file to the dematerialized register in order to fill in the harvest declaration with the data already present in the file, relating to the vineyard, and with those in the register, relating to grapes and musts entering the cellar. It is a form of that interoperability on which we aim to achieve the ‘once only’ principle and simplify the burdens on businesses and citizens. We will also evaluate – concluded Brunetta – the request to abolish the tax stamp applied on the packaging of products destined for the national market, verifying with the Revenue Agency the possibility of completely digitizing company data “.
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In the video message, the Minister for Agricultural Policies Stefano Patuanelli reiterated the importance of the sector – wine, spirits, vinegars – for our country which last year recorded a record export in the first three months of 2022, almost + 20%, and the need to find new balances between profit business, cost containment and inflation. Net of the difficulty in formulating forecasts, he expressed the “awareness of accepting the change in a sector that will no longer be what it was before, but Italy can satisfy the new needs of the international consumer since it is the first country to adopt a of national sustainability certification of the entire wine production chain which also includes the protection of workers. Faced with such a scenario, however, no European country can face yet another crisis alone ”.
The data illustrated by Denis Pantini, Nomisma’s Winemonitor agri-food manager highlighted the strong recovery of the sector, both in Italy and abroad, in 2021. First quarter 2022 favorable to exports, with + 12% for wine, + 45% for spirits and + 9% for vinegars, while the sore point is represented by the drop in sales in large-scale distribution with -10%. “This is also due to the increase in consumption outside the home in recent months – specified Pantini -, which more than doubled in the last four months. The data that worries the future of the sector concerns the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which has given an inflationary push to energy and agricultural commodities where prices in some cases have even tripled “.
“All of this obviously affects GDP which in the forecasts loses more than a point and a half – continues Pantini -. Downward forecasts concerning mainly European markets as these effects are ‘asymmetrical’ affecting the various areas of the world in different ways. As for the inflation trend, we are at 7%, a figure that has not recurred for decades “. Numbers that, in Italy, can impact consumers with a probable decrease in consumption outside the home and alcoholic beverages, for some groups of users, data that could be mitigated by the growth of food and wine tourism and by the fact that in the coming summer months consumption outside house shouldn’t decrease. In the autumn the knots will come to a head. “The last interesting fact – he concluded – is the international market which is becoming increasingly important for the entire sector, as demonstrated by 2020, the hardest year of the pandemic in which exports essentially held up, but it must be considered that many small companies hardly have access “.
Concerned about the state of health of the Albiera Antinori sector, President of Gruppo Vini di Federvini commented: “The export data are encouraging, but the internal market is tested, also and not only by the increase in energy costs and raw materials. It is difficult to make long-term predictions, we have seen what has happened in recent years. Despite this we must be positive, the rebound is there. The world of Italian wine knows very well where it has to go and the improvements it has to face, we just have to look for structural elements that make us resilient and reactive. The main way to achieve this is undoubtedly that of simplification, even for sales outside Italy which currently impose a tax deposit on the manufacturer. It is a European theme, but one cannot fail to have the opportunity to push the digital channel which is becoming stronger and stronger. Furthermore, it is necessary to focus on promotion ”.
A theme, that of promotion, caught on the fly by the Undersecretary of State at Mipaaf Gian Marco Centinaio who said he was confident in a business system capable of adequate promotional activity, recalling once again the exploit of 2021: “Institutions must accompany our entrepreneurial system – he added -. While on the one hand the ICE is doing an excellent job with large companies, on the other hand we need to think, for example, on the Chambers of Commerce, which must help small and medium-sized enterprises. It is also necessary to activate the promotion of Italian wine in Italy, in order to have a further business involving a new and adequate slice of consumers “.
On the European front Emanuele Di Faustino, Senior Project Manager Nomisma focused on the growing role of the e-commerce channel for wines and spirits, especially in the last 5 years, driven by the pandemic emergency “making Italy recover the gap it had compared to other countries. The channel promotes and enhances Italian wines in the world, platforms such as Tannico and Vino.com are focused on Made in Italy and the average online buyer is above all the millennial with a high spending capacity. The DOP and IGP system? It is strategic for Italy and creates a turnover of over 16 million euros “. The “worry” regarding the protection of the Geographical Indication was expressed by Giacomo Ponti, President of the Aceti Federvini Group, who denounced “the reform of a law of the Slovenian state that has in fact copied our IGP, trying to grab that slice of the market that we have laboriously conquered over time”, while the President of the Politics Commission of The European Union in the Senate expressed the wish for greater unity between political forces: “We cannot like Europe in alternating phases and the actions that are carried out by the Government in this area must be supported. Sharing common rules represents an opportunity ”.
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