The new cycle of masterclasses “I Love ITAlian Wines & Spirits,” a traditional event to promote Italian wine in China, will restart from Beijing. The program includes training activities with associated tastings, aimed at importers and distributors, media, and retailers.
The initiative, promoted by the Italian Trade Agency, meets an increasingly widespread interest in Italian wine culture, territories, and production methods in China. Italy – reconfirmed in 2022 as the world’s leading wine producer with more than 50 million hectoliters, and known for being the country with the largest number of indigenous grape varieties in the world – can boast an extremely diverse production panorama. From the best-known wines to niche productions, Italy stands out for the high-quality levels of its wines, which satisfy the most diverse needs as well as the curiosity of wine professionals always looking for new inspirations.
The courses, carried out by the Italian Trade Agency office in Beijing in collaboration with Federvini, Unione Italiana Vini, and Federdoc, aim to continue the wine training campaigns throughout the Chinese territory, in order to improve knowledge of the diversity of Italian grape varieties, enhancing the organoleptic characteristics of production.
Since 2016, the year of the first “I Love ITAlian Wines & Spirits” masterclass, the format has been successfully revived in 21 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an, Nanning, Changsha, Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Wenzhou, Xiamen, Shenyang, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, Sanya, Guiyang, Kunming, and Lanzhou. Since then, more than 1,600 participants have become promoters of Italian wines all over the country. These include importers, distributors, catering and supermarket managers, sommeliers, and industry media.
Under the guidance of an expert lecturer on Italian wines, the trainees will taste 64 wines from 20 production regions over the course of the two-and-a-half-day training (starting in Beijing from March 17 to 19), while delving into aspects related to the history and culture of Italian wine, current laws and regulations, cultivation, and production, innovation, trends, and markets.
Confirming the centrality of this initiative in the promotional agenda, four new stops are planned for 2023:
- Jinan (Shandong): May 26-28
- Dalian (Liaoning): June 9-11
- Taiyuan (Shanxi): Sept. 8-10
- Chongqing/Chengdu (Sichuan): Sept. 22-24
ITALIAN WINE IMPORTS IN CHINA
In 2022, the value of Italian wine imports to China was $135.6M, down -17.95% from 2021. Chinese wine imports from the world were $1.4Bn, down -15.07% from 2021. However, Italy reconfirmed its position as the third largest supplier country, with a market share of 9.45 percent, after France (46.13 percent), and Chile (22.77 percent). Then come Spain (7.13 percent) and the United States (3.38 percent).
The gradual reopening of China after a long period of isolation (nearly three years) related to the zero-Covid policy is fueling widespread optimism in terms of opportunities for the wine industry. In addition, the possibility to travel and visit Italy is a further growth opportunity for the entire sector.