ITALY’S FIRST WINE EXPORT SLUMP IN 30 YRS, EXPORT TO CHINA DOWN 44% JAN TO MAY
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: David Mathews
Italy’s wine export to China fell 44% by value between January and May this year amid the first decline in total export of Italian wines in 30 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according data from Italy’s agricultural trade organisation Coldiretti.
Making the remarks in 2020 Cibus Forum, a gathering of Italy’s agri-food traders, Coldiretti also highlighted that wine nevertheless remains the most important export item among Italy’s agri-food products despite a 4% decline in export value in the period.
The organisation said that in China, where the coronavirus was first detected, the consumption of Italian bottles between January and May fell in value by 44%.
Italy’s wine exports hit a new record of €6.5 billion in 2019, but the threats posted by Brexit and the trade war between USA and the European Union cast a shadow over the sustainability of this growth trend.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which were unexpected by the end of last year, added to the woes already faced by the trade.
Between January and May this year, wine exports to United Kingdom, which is an important market for Prosecco, fell by almost 12% due to uncertainties and tensions related to Brexit.
Italian wine exports to France declined 14% in the period mostly because of the pandemic, while wine exports to Germany fell by 1%.
The risk of extra punitive tariffs on EU wine exports to USA did not materialise during the period, Italian wine exports to USA were slightly down by 1%. USA is an important market for Prosecco, Lambrusco, Chianti and Italian Pinot Grigio.
Coldiretti estimated that Italy will produce 47.2 million hectolitres (mhl) of wines this year, representing a 1% decline on last year and a 4% drop compared to the average in the past five years.
Coldiretti said Italy will remain the world’s biggest wine producer this year, the second biggest producer France is estimated to produce between 44 to 45 mhl in 2020.
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