Wine & Spirits, all the challenges in the Mediobanca and Sace report

The first joint report on the Italian wine & spirits sector was presented today, dedicated to the analysis of domestic and international markets and the study of socio-cultural dynamics of consumption, “Wine and Spirits: the challenges of Italian excellence”. The Mediobanca Research Area, the Sace and Ipsos Research Department signed the study.


The pandemic has brought with it new habits on this front, from new purchasing approaches (online has become very popular) to the change in the way Italians consume. Greater attraction for quality, for the value of the place and its products and businesses, the use of delivery food, are all factors that are now being looked at more carefully.

The phenomena that are most frequently encountered are a growing polarization of the price range, with the accentuation of the gap between low and high level bottles and a consequent weakening of the intermediate price range, with a slide towards the lower one.

The boom is then recorded among those interested in organic wines, consumers who are divided into bio-attracted, or those who are highly interested in organic wines and who represent 36% of drinkers, the bio-light, characterized by an approach that is not convinced and a bit fashionable to organic products that reach 33%, and finally the bio-refractories that form the residual 31%.

But let’s see in detail all the data of the Report presented this morning in the presence of Gabriele Barbaresco, Mediobanca Research Area Director, Alessandro Terzulli, chief economist of Sace, Enzo Risso, scientific director of Ipsos, Marco Magnocavallo,, ceo and co-founder of Tannico, Roberto Castagner, ceo Acquavite SpA, Alessandro Mutinelli, chairman and ceo IWB, Luca Giavi, general manager of the Prosecco Doc Protection Consortium, Nadia zenato, owner Zenato Winery, Giovanni Mantovani, general manager of Veronafiere SpA, Gianni Bruno, exhibition manager Wine & Food Vinitaly e Simonetta Acri, chief mid-market officer di Sace.


The major wine producers expect growth of 3.5% for 2021, which would reach 4.6% for the export component alone. For the major spirits companies, sales are expected to grow by 5.4% and exports by 4%.

But how did 2020 go? Italian wine producers recorded a decline in turnover of 4.1% (-6.3% in the domestic market, -1.9% abroad). Still wines did better (-3.5%) than sparkling wines (-6.7%). Cooperatives contained the decline to 2%. Large-scale distribution has seen its incidence rise to 38% compared to 35.3% in 2019, while wine bars and wine shops go from 7% to 6.7% (-21.5%).

Online sales during the pandemic recorded the highest numbers. + 74.9% sales on proprietary web portals, + 435% for specialized online platforms, + 747% for general marketplaces.

The investments of the major wine producers in digital during 2020 also increased (+ 55.8%), also considering a 14.3% drop in overall investments and 13.4% in advertising spending.
Vegan wine holds on to the market (+ 0.5%, also 2.3% of the total) but instead biodynamic wines are still not successful, -21.9% (0.1% of the market).

Finally, 2020 brought a 5.8% growth for wines packaged in more eco-sustainable containers alternative to glass (brick, cans, bag in box).


The regions that produce the most, data for 2019, are Veneto, with 20% of the national total, Puglia with 19.6% in volume and 13.3% in value, Tuscany and Piedmont which have about 5% of the volumes, but double the weight if you look at the value.

Veneto is also the region that in 2020 exported the most, with 35.5% of total sales, more than double the second, Piedmont with 17.2%. Tuscany, third region, represents 15.5% of national wine exports.

The most consistent drop in sales abroad was recorded by Umbria (-24.2%), followed by Valle d’Aosta (-21.9%), Sardinia (-18.8%) and Marche ( -14.5%).


The world map of the propensity to consume wine and spirits notes that the ritual of drinking is most felt in Australia, Great Britain and the USA, with some Eastern European countries such as Serbia and Poland and Russia, and in the North of the world Canada and Sweden. China emerges and in an intermediate range are Germany, France and Italy. The South of the world is more problematic, with the sole exception of South Africa. In general, however, the propensity to consume wine is higher than that of spirits.


The best growth potential is represented by China (+ 6.3% annually) followed by Canada and Japan (+ 5.9% annually). In general, for the two-year period 21-22, an increase in wine consumption of 3.8% per year is expected for many of the main markets, with an average annual growth of 2% for the USA and 3.1% for the Germany.

In fact, in 2020 the export of Italian wine counted 6.3 billion euros and mostly reached the US (23.1% of the total), German (17.1%) and British (11.4%) tables. .


The pandemic has affected some consumption habits by changing them: 58% of Italians who in the pre-Covid era bought wine and spirits products in the large-scale distribution have been reduced to 52%. It still remains the preferred channel for purchasing, but with evolving dynamics.

Those who have never turned to a wine shop to buy a bottle of wine are down from 48% prepandemic, to 42% today. The increase in purchases in wine shops first of all involved women (with a decrease in non-frequenters by 8%, from 52% before Covid to 44% in 2021), but it affected all segments of society, with reductions in 5% among Millennials, 6% in Generation X and among Baby Boomers.

There is also an increase in wine buyers in the cellars of producers: in the pre-Covid period, the Italians who had never visited a producer’s cellar were 46%, today they have fallen to 39%.

Owned e-commerce allows people to directly access the winemaker: before the lockdown 71% of Italians had never made an online purchase from a winery’s sites, today the share has dropped by seven points (64%).

Furthermore, the percentage of people who before Covid had never used the e-commerce site or the online offer of a wine shop was 74%, today the percentage has dropped to 69%.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick