Italian wine industry booming despite European debt crisis

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, March 26, 2012 12:54 EDT
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Rows of wine bottles in Enoteca Regionale del Barolo, Italy via Patrycja Zadros / Shutterstock.com
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Italy’s wine industry is flourishing despite the recession, with booming exports to foreign markets and competitive domestic pricing, experts said Monday at the start of the Vinitaly trade fair.

“Italian wine growers have been able to seize the moment,” said Giovanni Mantovani, director of Verona Fiere, the company which organises the yearly get-together in northeast Italy — one of the biggest wine fairs in the world.

“They have been able to aim towards big international high-growth markets.”

Among the 4,400 exhibitors and 120,000 visitors there were numerous foreign industry insiders at this year’s show — a sign of increased interest after Italy established itself as the world’s biggest wine exporter last year.

“Our wine exports have really risen a lot. I’m talking double-digit, even up to 30 percent in some cases,” Mantovani said.

“We’re the biggest exporters to the American market,” he said.

Italy now holds a 23-percent share of the global wine market and is mainly oriented towards sales in Asia, North America and Germany.

Spain is in second place with 22 percent and France has 14 percent, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine said on Thursday.

French wine expert Thierry Desseauve said: “The great thing that Italy has been able to do is to export its style of life.”

“In France, we tend to think: ‘These are the wine people, these are the foodie people, these are the tourism people’,” he said.

Giovanni Bertani from the Tenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve vineyard which makes Valpolicella and Amarone, said Italian sales were a different story however.

“We realise the trend recently has been to consume the same quantity of alcohol but at a lower cost. The average price has gone down a lot,” he said.

(Rows of wine bottles in Enoteca Regionale del Barolo, Italy via Patrycja Zadros / Shutterstock.com)

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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