Italian wine exports boom over the last 20 years

Since 2004, Italy has emerged as the world's second-largest wine exporter, boasting a 188% increase, while also becoming the fifth-largest exporter of spirits, with a remarkable 300% surge
Italian wine exports boom over the last 20 years

Safeguarding Italy’s wine, spirits, and vinegar industries in a complex global landscape. These were the central themes at the latest general assembly of Federvini, the Italian federation representing producers, exporters, and importers of wines, spirits, liqueurs, syrups, vinegar, and related products. The sector accounts for €21.5 billion in revenue, encompassing 2,300 companies, over 81,000 employees, and about 20% of Italy’s food and beverage exports.

This year has been marked by significant developments and changes, with geopolitical, commercial, and economic tensions threatening key sectors of Italian agribusiness,” said Federvini President Micaela Pallini. “Our companies are striving to maintain their productive capacities, investing in internationalization, research, and sustainability. To address international challenges, we need clear rules that ensure fair and free market competition, resist neo-prohibitionist trends, and move beyond retaliatory tariffs that have unjustly penalized us in recent years.”


The Russia-Ukraine crisis, the conflict in the Middle East, and fears of new retaliatory tariffs create a critical scenario for sectors like those represented by Federvini, where exports drive growth and value creation.

Thus, securing free trade agreements with new partners, following the positive experience of CETA with Canada (where Italian wine exports grew by 7.6% from 2018-2022 compared to 3.7% from 2013-2017, and the aperitifs, bitters, liqueurs, and spirits sector grew by 13.1% compared to 2.9% in the previous period), remains essential for supporting sales and high-quality production, where Italy is a recognized leader.


This objective has led Federvini to appeal to the current Italian G7 presidency to ensure that trade disputes in other sectors do not impact agricultural production.

From Ireland’s initiatives and more recently Belgium’s on health warnings on labels to the revision of the packaging directive, labeling regulations, and the regulation on Geographical Indications, numerous issues have affected Federvini’s sectors during the recent legislative term. These significant dossiers often overlooked the economic, social, and cultural value of the wine, spirits, and vinegar industries, according to Italian industries.


According to data from the Federvini Observatory, in collaboration with Nomisma and TradeLab research firms, Italian wine exports have grown substantially over the past 20 years, increasing their market share from 17% in 2003 (with France at 38%) to 22% in 2023 (while France declined to 33%). This growth, alongside a total export value increase of 188%, allows Italy to solidify its second-place global position and expand its market leadership to 46 countries compared to France’s 51 (from 9 versus 41 twenty years ago).

Positive trends are also evident in the spirits sector. Over the past 20 years, according to Nomisma, Italian spirits exports have increased by 300%, reaching a value of €1.7 billion (making Italy the fifth largest global exporter). The positive export trend extends to the vinegar sector as well, with a 180% increase in value over the past 20 years. Overall, exports represent 50% of revenue for wines, 35% for spirits, and 48% for vinegars.

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