NOTE: This article is written by, Livelitaly only traduced to english, all credits goes to them


6.8% rise to nearly two billion dollars. France lead for second year in a row thanks to the advantage in rosé. Our country remains the leading supplier of reds and whites. Forte (ICE NY Agency): we need to improve our positioning

2018 closed for Italian wine with the largest increase in exports to the United States over the last five years. In terms of value, there was an increase in 2017 of 6.8% to 1.984 billion dollars after the + 3.4% recorded the previous year. In terms of quantity, the annual increase was 1.2%. Market share also improved, rising to 32% in 12 months from 31.4%, as did average prices, up 5.4% to $ 5.9 per liter.

For the second year in a row, Italy was confirmed in absolute terms in second place behind France, which in 2018 saw its wine exports to the US increase by 12.7% to 2.104 billion dollars with a share of market rose to 33.9% from 31.6% in 2017. We need to go back to 2016 to see our country top the list of those who exported more wine to the US. It must be said, however, that our country is the first US supplier for white wines (with a 40% share) and red wines (32.5%), two categories whose value of bottles exported in 2018 has suffered an annual decrease respectively by 0.2% and a rise of 6.5%. The rosé wines have allowed France to overcome our country, albeit slightly. “If we eliminated the category of rosé, in which France has an 80% market share, we would win hands down,” said Maurizio Forte, director of the ICE Agency in New York, in an event during which he photographed this sector describing trends and opportunities.

It is precisely in that category that Forte sees wide margins of growth opportunities. In Italy, Italy registered + 23.6% on 2017 and has a market share of 9%. Double-digit increase also for sparkling and sparkling wines (+ 16.5% annually, with a share of 34%), for Vermouth and other aromatized wines (+ 34.1% with a share of 84.7%) and for liqueur wines such as Marsala (+ 13.4% with a 28% share). Forte explained that 82% of Italian wine exported to the USA comes only from four of the 20 regions of our country: Tuscany, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Piedmont. And that 61% of the wine consumed in the USA is concentrated in 10 states with California in the first place; in the top 5 followed by Florida, New York, Illinois and Texas. “This shows that the number of export territories can be expanded,” Forte explained, stressing the importance of “improving the positioning of Italian wine” in the American market. The next growth opportunities for Italian wine companies could be Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia, “perhaps in the beginning in terms of quantity and then quality”, continued Forte.

The strategy on which the ICE Agency intends to focus is the one on which the campaign was based (presented at the beginning of 2018) by the slogan “Italian Wine – Taste the Passion”, part of a broader promotional project dedicated to wine that foresees for United States an investment of around 20 million euros in three years. It is aimed at enhancing the main characteristics of our wine: quality, diversity, uniqueness, link with the territory, authenticity, versatility and family tradition.

Since our country suffers a positioning that is not in line with the high quality of its wines, which is reflected in the sales prices, the Ministry of Economic Development has created a specific Wine Table that has collaborated on the setting up of the US Wine Project; it provides a wide range of activities in support of our producers: consumer communication campaign, training for professionals, inclusion of new companies, trade events in collaboration with Italian partners and – among other things – a specialized desk at the ICE in New York.

At the end of the first year of the mentioned campaign, the results were encouraging: a total of 900 million impressions were achieved, of which 85% were achieved on digital channels, but above all a good increase in average prices was recorded which was main objective of the US Wine Project. Other activities have been added to the communication, including training and missions in Italy, both realized thanks to the collaboration with Vinitaly.

“We are satisfied with the good results achieved in the first year of activity, especially in terms of improving the positioning of Italian wines, because our producers are not content to be leaders only in terms of quantity”, declared Forte. “Obviously we still have a lot of work to do to strengthen and consolidate this trend in the coming years”, concluded Forte. “The quality and diversity of our wines requires an ongoing commitment in the US market that the Italian government is ensuring with great determination”. Also because there is a growing interest in Italian wine: from March to December over 6.3 billion impressions on the “Italian wine” theme were reached in the US press.

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