Italian wine exports surge in first quarter of 2024

Despite growth in the first two months and a decline in March leading to a cumulative increase of 3%, prices remain stable
Italian wine exports surge in first quarter of 2024

In the first quarter of this year, Italian wine exports surged, according to data released by Istat. The trend shows a 3.1% increase in volumes exported, translating to a 3.9% rise in value, or 1.84 billion euros. This starkly contrasts with French competitors, who saw a 0.2% decline.

However, analysis from the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV) Observatory on Istat data reveals lingering uncertainties in the market. After a robust start to 2024, with an 8.3% rise in bottles shipped abroad in the first two months, March witnessed a reversal with a 4% decline, primarily due to significant drops in exports to Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and France. Despite all categories posting positive value balances – sparkling wines up 7.3% since January, bottled still wines up 2.7%, and semi-sparkling wines up 12.2% – average prices (excluding bulk wines and musts) have fallen. This suggests a reluctance in the market to pay more to offset a notably poor production year.

The boost in export volumes (source: UIV) is entirely due to a spike in orders from Russia, without which growth would have been flat. Noteworthy is the return to positive figures for bottled PDO red wines (up 2.8% in value, reaching 459 million euros), a double-digit rise in PGI white wines (up 12.7%), and strong performances by Prosecco (up 7.8%) and Asti DOCG (up 7.5%) among sparkling wines.

The current economic environment demands utmost vigilance,” says Lamberto Frescobaldi, President of Unione Italiana Vini. “In this highly uncertain phase, it is crucial for companies to keep a close watch on the markets and monitor price lists. The long-term objective remains to enhance the positioning of Italian wine. We believe that even in challenging times, strategic investments in promotion, innovation, and vineyard restructuring should not be abandoned.”

A divergence persists between 2024 results for Italian wine demand from EU countries (down 0.6% in value) and non-EU countries (up 7%), with slight growth (up 1.3% in value) in the top five markets, which together account for 59% of total exports: the US (up 2.2%), Germany (down 2.7%), the UK (up 7.8%), Switzerland (down 7.8%), and Canada (up 8.9%). With a dramatic 142.6% increase in demand, Russia has jumped to sixth place, overtaking France and Japan. This surge is expected to normalize, influenced by a significant increase in excise duties effective since May and subsequent early stockpiling.

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