Vinitaly World Tour Takes Off in Chicago
(While the Italian Wine Export Still Forging Ahead)
Staff Writer - July 28, 2007
The organization the Vinitaly US Tour, which after Chicago will be in San Francisco and Los Angeles is already in the advanced phase. Japan and China will close the Vinitaly World Tour 2007, but in January 2008 everything starts again with Vinitaly India.
The positive trend for the Italian wine export continues with an increase of 15.5% in value and 20.5% in volume during the first quarter of 2007. The data provided by ISTAT, the Italian Institute of Statistics, show that during the first four months of the year the value of the export of Italian wines worldwide is over one million Euros, for a total of 5.94 million hectoliters (over 627 million gallons) of wine.
Among the top buyers of Italian wines is the US, which, from January first to the end of April, imported around 780,000 hectoliters (over 82.4 million gallons), or an increase of 16.5% over the same period a year ago, for a value of 260 million Euros (8.5% increase). With such numbers, the United States has secured its position as top buyer of Italian wines worldwide.
These achievements are the result of insisting in top quality production and, finally, recognizing the importance of promotion and marketing on the part of the Italian producers and organizations. The regions and producers who invested in marketing in the US are now those harvesting the fruits of their effort. The strong competition and the weak dollar are of no help in maintaining and expanding the Italian market share in the US. However, the brand names who understood the importance of making their products familiar to US consumers investing in marketing and participating in events such as the Italian Flavor Forums organized by WineCountry.IT, are now seeing a return to their investment.
To emphasize the great importance of this market, Vinitaly World Tour 2007 starts in the US with the Vinitaly US Tour, which will open on October 22nd in Chicago, then will move on to San Francisco on the 24th, and end the 25th in Los Angeles, with the Fifth Salone di vini, olio di oliva e prodotti tipici italiani (Showroom of Italian Wines, Olive Oil and Typical Products).
"The United States represents a partially ripe market, though in part it is still unexplored," points out Giovanni Mantovani, general director of Veronafiere. "There are in fact millions of people who don't know a thing about wine, while at the same time those who are familiar with it are often able to understand the quality and great variety offered by the Italian wines and Italian small producers. Though Italy is currently the main wine importer", concludes Mantovani, "well organized promotion must continue."
"I couldn't agree more," announced Loris Scagliarini, president of WineCountry.IT, who will be at the San Francisco and Los Angeles to assist and facilitate the contacts with West Coast buyers for the estates associated with Italian Flavor Consortium participating in Vinitaly US Tour: Tenuta La Carlina S.a.s. and Azienda Vitivinicola Caliscana di Roberto Crea.
After the US, it will be the turn of Vinitaly Japan, in Tokyo on the 27 of November for the Second Salone dei migliori vini italiani (Showroom of the best Italian Wines), and from November 29 to December first it will be time for the Vinitaly Cibus China, in Shanghai, at the Ninth Salone dei migliori vini italiani (Showroom of the best Italian Wines). The China event in particular has become fairly important for the wine and food sector in the whole Asian continent, thus the event is organized with the assistance of the new Veronafiere representative office there, inaugurated in May 2007. By being physically present in the overseas market, the organization can develop a better commercial relationship with Chinese companies.
"Being present in the foreign market and offering a full range of services is extremely important," said Loris Scagliarini.
"The experience of our company in the US shows that this is the path to follow. In fact, in addition to promoting Italian wine and food products in the US, organizing events dedicated to local sector professionals," continues the president of WineCountry.IT, "our group imports and distributes the products promoted in various US states. This is possible thanks to a growing web of partnership and collaborations with US distributors."
The number of consumers who discover and appreciate Italian wine in the United States is growing constantly, but on the other hand worldwide wine production is growing as well, and the competition on the attractive US market is particularly cutthroat.
"Mantovani is right," concludes Scagliarini, "to maintain and expand the market share currently enjoyed by the Italian vitiviniculture in the growing US market, producers must continue to focus on delivering top quality wines, but at the same time it's necessary to have an ongoing re-investment of the income in organized marketing."