There is still a few hours left for the go-ahead to the Draghi Government Decree Law which will have to put on paper the rumors that have been circulating for days on the reopening calendar, from catering to fairs, passing through events. Without forgetting of course the schools, sports facilities and mobility between Regions, an aspect that, with the curfew (on which there is strong pressure from the League to move it from 10 pm at least to 11 pm, without which it could not vote the decree) , will have an important impact on the ways and possibilities of restarting, especially of tourism, to which a large portion of the turnover of the catering sector and, by extension, of the agri-food sector are linked. Certainly, the reopening alone, however limited and full of restrictions, will not alone be enough to make up for the losses recorded up to now (50 billion euros between 2020 and the first months of 2021, according to Fipe / Confcommercio), nor of catering , neither from wine, nor from the banqueting and catering sector. Reopenings that, for bars and restaurants, except for last minute surprises, at least until June 1, will only apply to the Regions in the yellow zone, and will allow the service for both lunch and dinner, only outdoors. Which cuts out half of the Italian clubs, and puts all the others under the further unknown of climate and bad weather. While the whole chapter of the new refreshments remains open, which until now have been largely insufficient to cover real losses, and on which, for the future, there is no certainty, as highlighted yesterday to WineNews by chef Claudio Sadler, president of Le Soste, and Cristina Bowerman, guide of the Ambassadors of taste, or two associations that bring together the best of Italian catering. In this picture, the general secretary of the Italian Wines Union (UIV), Paolo Castelletti, commenting on the discussion on the Dl Reopening on the agenda today in the Council of Ministers, recalls that “the lockdowns have heavily penalized catering and with it the world of wine, which only in Italy, in the last year, it recorded unpaid credits from Horeca for 500 million euros and lost sales in away from home for 1.5-1.8 billion euros. Now, with the intermittent reopening foreseen in the drafts of the Dl Reopening, normality is still far away and financial tensions are getting stronger. For this reason, we ask the Government to activate with the “Fund for supply chains in crisis” also support measures to deal with the suffering of non-payments and tools to support catering. Catering – adds Castelletti – has always been the best ally of wine and even in this juncture we share the difficulties of one of the sectors most affected by the crisis, certain that once back to normal, the combination will once again become the main testimonial of made in Italy. . Uiv believes that in view of the reopening – in particular the most imminent ones in the United States and the United Kingdom – the sector also needs a strong promotional action to capitalize on its image in the world and intercept the rebound in consumption that should arrive faster in some international markets. It is therefore necessary to increase the budget of the CMO promotion measure and simplify the rules ”.
But the restart of Italian catering remains fundamental, because it weighs heavily on the wineries’ economy. “The reopening of restaurants, bars and farmhouses is worth 2.5 billion for Italian wine, the made in Italy agri-food sector most penalized by the Covid emergency, with the closure of the catering channel which represents the first outlet market”. According to Coldiretti, in the online conference “The wine market after a year of pandemic” promoted by Coldiretti and the Wine Policy Support Committee which traces the balance of the effects of Covid on the Italian Vineyard. Also underlining how exports, after -2.2% in 2020 over 2019, in the first months of 2021 decreased by a further -20% on last year (Istat data), reaching an all-time low for over 30 years.
Amaro, on the other hand, the comment by Paolo Capurro, president of Anbc – National Banqueting and Catering Association, who, on the drafts that have been circulating for days of the Dl Riaperture, says: “as is now known to everyone since last week, we only talk about restart, which will see the date next April 26 to gradually resume the activities of various sectors. Instead, on when the events, both private and business, will be able to start again, a few words and nothing official, only some worrying rumors. Worrying because, apparently, the government has identified a recovery date for our sector in July 1, in well over two months. If this were really the case, we would obviously be out of time. We have been waiting for days for clear and precise indications on how and when our entrepreneurs will be able to resume their activities – continues the president of the National Banqueting and Catering Association – but this is certainly not the news we wanted to comment on. I remind everyone that we have practically stopped since March last year and that our turnover has dropped by an average of 90%. Do we have to wait more than two months for this? We cannot wait any longer, we cannot afford it in any way. For this reason we believe it is right to bring the date forward by at least a month, so as not to lose even the few bookings that have been postponed to June 2021 since last year. Otherwise it will be necessary to think about finally adequate compensation, which takes into account the enormous losses and fixed costs, or for us it would be the coup de grace. Among other things, I would like to point out to those responsible for making this type of decision – concludes Capurro – that our work depends substantially on the possibility of planning, so we must have certainties “.
Focus – The numbers of the Unione Italiana Vini Observatory
According to the Osservatorio di Unione Italiana Vini (Uiv), the greater presence of wine in the cellar (+ 3.6% on the same period of 2020) is determined by a last harvest that increased by 3.2%. It follows that the current 200,000 hectoliters in excess over the past year are almost totally an effect of the higher production. In 2020 the domestic market (-24% in value) lost 10 times more than exports (-2.3%, to 6.3 billion euros), with horeca at -38%, wine shops at -23 %, direct sales at -19% against a 12% growth in sales in large-scale distribution. The numbers, on the whole, attenuated by the performance of the large companies that work with large-scale distribution, however, do not reveal the great difficulties of thousands of small and medium-sized producers (backbone of the Italian product), which have always been linked to the catering sector.