Wine, the sector resists the crisis. Production in Italy + 3% in 2020 –

The wine sector is a sector that has shown itself to be resilient to the 2020 crisis despite the almost total blockade of Horeca to counter the spread of Covid. the scenario traced byInstitute of Services for the Agricultural Food Market (Ismea) in the report Needs and intervention tools in the Italian wine sector in light of the objectives of the new CAP, the common agricultural policy, which provides an analysis of the structure and competitive position of the sector, which sees Italy as the first world producer, second exporter and third consumer. The aim is also to identify some supporting elements according to the National strategic plan (Psn) of the Pac.

And also in 2020 Italy seems to confirm the premiership at world production level with volumes which, according to initial data, seem to reach 49 million hectoliters (+ 3%). Not only that: Italy could also regain its leadership in world exports, at least in volume. Based on the data of the first ten months of the year, in fact, an export for the whole of 2020 is estimated to be 20.8 million hectoliters for a consideration of 6.21 billion euros (respectively -2.7% in volume and -3.4% in value compared to 2019). A sort of minimization of losses, therefore, which in such a difficult situation could also be read in a positive key, observes Ismea, especially if we take into account the reduction in overall international trade (-6% in volume) and the performance of main competitors: France and Spain recorded, in fact, much heavier downturns in exports than in Italy. If the Horeca has suffered a real collapse, in Italy the internal demand in 2020 was driven by consumption within the home. In terms of overall volumes consumed, an increase of about 7% is estimated which, however, translated into a reduction in overall spending: the lockdown first, and then the limitations, kept consumers away from restaurants and this changed the shopping basket. The most penalized wines were the high-end ones, while the others who benefited from greater demand from large-scale distribution have held up very well.

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Italy is also a country rich in varieties of grape varieties, a peculiarity of the national wine system. There are over 500, which make Italian wine the most diversified in the world. In recent years, the area under vines has decreased (currently 671 thousand hectares) and the varieties planted have increased, with an offer increasingly oriented towards the production of DOP and IGP wines. 40% of the area controlled by companies with more than 10 hectares. And the number of wineries that make wine is decreasing. The market dynamics in recent years show a trend increase in prices of 20%, compared to an average increase of 4% in production costs. The highest average revenues are found in wine producing regions which have already achieved a very high prestige but which have higher vineyard management costs.

Moreover, in the last ten years the average production it stood well below 50 million hectoliters, a sharp decline compared to the previous decade. Although PDO and PGI products see their role in the national offer grow significantly, the production of common wines is anything but marginal and guarantees economic sense to an important part of viticulture. The propensity to export on average over 40% and in some years the volumes destined for export were even higher than those consumed in the domestic market. The Italian wine industry has shown in the period 2014-2018 a remarkable investment growth, accompanied by an increase in employment. Employees in industrial companies went from 14,437 in 2014 to 16,360 in 2018, with a growth of 13%. And the wine sector represented a attractor for young people, whose presence is important in all company roles. Investments have also favored the presence in wineries of state-of-the-art technological equipment and machinery and extensive use of digital technologies. Finally, interest in sustainability certifications has grown in recent years: the area under vines with organic certification, for example, reached 140 thousand hectares in 2018, with a growth of 170% in 10 years.

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Certainly the development of the PSN – Ismea affirms – it will have to be based on the resources made available by the CAP budget, but taking into account a wider panorama of opportunities to support the development processes of the sector that can come from the horizontal policies of the EU aimed at regional development and, in in particular, to clusters of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as the financing opportunities of enterprises under the programs InvestEurope e Horizon Europe; important opportunities to consider could be found, especially for national actions on the digitalization and infrastructure front, in the resources coming from the Recovery Fund and, in the context of national policies, from the Industry 4.0 plan.

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