4 April 2014 – Regional wine exports: in 2013 the Veneto Region increased the distance

Milan, 2nd April 2014 - With nearly €1.6 billion worth of wine exports in 2013, the Veneto region has not only confirmed its role as the leading Italian region in terms of cross-border sales, but it has increased the distance from its closest competitor – the Piedmont region – which accounts for €969 million of export sales. Thanks to the peculiar moment that Prosecco is currently experiencing, between 2012 and 2013 Veneto wine exports grew by 10%, a trend well above the national average (7%). To be fair, it must be said that, in percentage terms, there are also those which have performed better. Among these there are the wines of Abruzzo and Lombardy regions (both +12 %), while among the other major wine-producing regions, exports from the Emilia Romagna region rose by +10% (reaching an all-time high of €388 million), from Piedmont +9%, from Tuscany +6% and Trentino-South Tyrol +6% (the latter is erroneously considered a "unified" region by customs code, despite the enormous differences not only in identity, but particularly in viticulture).

Yet there are also negative signs. The most striking decline among the main producing regions concerned Apulian wines, which - after having experienced a decade of steady growth with exports nearly doubling between 2003 and 2012 – saw its exports drop by 21%, thus reducing the value of its exports to less than €100 million (specifically €96 million compared to €122 million in the previous year).

The conditions in Friuli and Sicily regions are stable and stationary. The exports of Friulian wines have remained around €76 million for several years, while Sicilian wines have failed to break through the threshold of €100 million, remaining by far at around €99 million. Maybe this represents a small extent, given the significant potential expressed by Sicilian viticulture and especially because of the reputation that this area holds in the perception of distributors and consumers around the world.

This also becomes evident in the results of the Wine Trend World of Wine Monitor, a survey of international operators that - among other issues - measures the brand recognition of European wine regions. The WM survey has pointed out the main production areas of bestselling wines and 6 are Italian regions. Among these, the Veneto region stands out once again - it seems to have gained a sort of leadership within international wine exports – followed in order by Tuscany, Sicily, Piedmont, Apulia, and South Tyrol.

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In the overall regional context concerning exports of PDO wines, Tuscan reds have reigned supreme with more than €500 million in international sales in 2013. Among the whites, it is purely a matter of the North-East, with Prosecco prevailing among the sparkling wines.

PDO and PGI wines constitute more than 80% of Italian wine exports. Although the customs classification does not allow going into the details of all of the denominations, it may be possible to derive some insights and interesting trends concerning developments in 2013 from those data that are available.

Beginning with PDO sparkling wines, in 2013 exports of Asti reached more than €173 million, a value 16% higher compared to the previous year. This increase was primarily a result of the strong recovery of sales in Russia, a market that accounts for 20% of wine exports. After a standstill in 2012 caused by the sudden "reorganization" of importers’ licenses, the Russian market for Asti registered an increase of 83%. We should not neglect to mention the strong appreciation of Asti by consumers in Latvia (fourth target market with €14 million of exports) and in the Ukraine where exports increased 19% and 41%, respectively, between 2012 and 2013.

An even higher growth trend characterized the "macro category" of other PDO sparkling wines, also including Prosecco, the main driver of the +26% increase in export value which has led this category to exceed €392 million of exports in 2013 (signifying an increase of as much as 130% over the value of three years earlier!).

Within the area of PDO still wines, Tuscan reds hold the record in international sales, accounting for more than €500 million of exports in 2013. Compared to the previous year, this value has increased by 5%, whereas it is 25% higher than in 2010. More than one-third of this export volume ends up in the United States.

However, even in this case the highest rate of growth was associated with another category of PDO red wines, in particular those from the Piedmont region which experienced a rise in exports of over 17% between 2012 and 2013. For these wines, the United States is again the largest market, accounting for about 26% of exports, while the highest percentage increase was registered by the Swiss market (+54%), with exports of these wines expanding from €10 million to €16 million between 2012 and 2013.

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