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The fact is that the world of wine, if on the whole it seems to hold up, sees many realities in great difficulty due to the pandemic. Especially those oriented towards a horeca that if it has restarted in Asia, in the USA and in the UK it is doing so, in Europe, in many countries, it is still completely at a standstill, as in France and Germany, and in others, such as Italy, is starting again but on a narrow gauge (at least until May with the service only outdoors, and therefore with a potential more than halved). And in light of this, but also of the requests that come from the various representatives of the supply chain put on the “Wine Table”, coordinated by the Undersecretary for Agricultural Policies (with responsibility for wine), Gian Marco Centinaio, it seems to go back more or less to a year does. And if there are measures required that everyone agree (from liquidity support to tax and contribution reliefs, from the need for greater promotion to the approval of the decree on the single sustainability standard), on other measures, such as crisis distillation for Dop and Igp wines, for example, there are different views between the representatives of the supply chain.
As already reported, in recent days, by WineNews, for the Alliance of Cooperatives, whose wine group is led by Luca Rigotti, the priorities are the introduction of a crisis distillation for PDO and PGI wines at remunerative prices, structured in a different way and with more resources than the measure introduced in 2020, which was not very successful, but also a hold on wine yields municipalities, as well as the extension of the expiry of the planting authorizations 2021, a request shared by Confagricoltura, because the companies do not have the liquidity to face the necessary investments.
And precisely the issue of liquidity is the priority to be addressed, for example, according to the Italian Wines Union (Uiv), led by Ernesto Abbona: “Right now tools are needed to secure financial security for thousands of wine companies bent by horeca closures, with 500 million euros of problem loans and lost sales, ex cellar, for 1.5 / 1.8 billion euros. At the same time, a more flexible promotion to third countries will also be needed to intercept the rebound we expect. The sector must start from these 2 cornerstones, while we think that distillation is not suitable for this particular moment. Italian wine is playing its own future in the coming months. If through the Supply Chain Fund it is possible to adopt effective financial measures to steer the sector out of the impasse, we will be ready to restart. Otherwise there is a risk of chain distortion dynamics, in particular on the price front, capable of overwhelming a system that has so far been successful. Between lost revenues and unfinished credits, the market situation today is particularly fluid and it would be a shame not to take advantage of a scenario that could prove to be favorable. This – concluded Ernesto Abbona – is a liquidity crisis, no longer a market one, and if we do not satisfy the latent demand it will turn elsewhere ”. Among the requests of the Italian Wines Union (Uiv), the strengthening of non-repayable contributions, the exemption from the payment of social security and welfare contributions also for 2021 and the suspension of tax payments and the payment of VAT on trade receivables stranded. Interventions also requested regarding the storage of Dop and Igp wines and the approval of the implementing decrees on the yields of generic wines and on sustainability. On the subject of distillation, the vision of Federvini, according to which it is not a priority measure, at least at a general level: “if for some specific situations at the C and Ig level the producers request it, they will have our support – underlines the president Sandro Boscaini – but it cannot be a generalized request for Italian PDO and IGP at a national level, otherwise we are once again attacking the value of our products ”. In a complex international framework, underlines the president of Federvini, in a Europe where the dossier on cancer is being held (with the possible future introduction of labels such as on cigarette packets to deter abuse) and the reform of the CAP and the OCM Wine, the tensions on duties that if between the US and the EU are suspended for now, are growing in other areas of the world, as told by the recent quarrel on wine between China and Australia, passing through new bureaucratic complications in Russia and China, without forgetting the United Kingdom and Brexit, “the wine sector needs to see the HoReCa channel and the hospitality sector in general restart safely. They are our first allies, they are a very important channel for wine consumption: there is no magic recipe to propose but urgent action must be taken both on the financial front for energetic injections of liquidity, and on the fiscal front to lighten all situations. criticism in particular on the credit front ”
In any case, for the president of the Italian oenologists (Assoenologi) Riccardo Cotarella, it is clear how “dramatic is the situation that the entire sector, at all levels, is experiencing”, especially for producers, “the weakest link at the moment, but also the most important, of the entire wine chain and that most others are blaming the crisis that has hit the wine economy and all other sectors of national entrepreneurship ”. Like cooperatives, it considers voluntary crisis distillation to be important only for PDO and PGI wines, “as long as it is at reasonable prices”. According to Cotarella, looking at stocks, in some Regions there are figures up by even + 10-11% over 2020, especially for some white wines, “which will see their value drop even more with the arrival of the next harvest”. “Voluntary distillation – the president specified – is also dictated by the need to prepare for the upcoming 2021 harvest and to cope with the lack of the Horeca distribution channel”. And then, obviously, an injection of liquidity is needed, both for wine companies and to restart catering, support for the storage of wines, but also a “strong promotion campaign in favor of wine tourism both on the national territory and in the ‘abroad. A need, the latter, raised by several parties given the absence of international fairs due to the Covid emergency. Not secondary, according to Cotarella, is the whole chapter of the reliefs on contributions and taxes, but also the definition of the single sustainability standard. All measures that will be financed, according to the Italian oenologists, with resources to be found outside the National Support Plan for wine.
So many proposals, therefore, put on the table by the supply chain. Some shared, some less. Politics will now have to find a synthesis, represented at the “Wine Table” by the Undersecretary for Agricultural Policies, with responsibility for wine (and former Minister of Agriculture) Gian Marco Centinaio (in the next few hours, in an interview with WineNews) : “I am convinced that wine is the spearhead of the agri-food sector of our country, and that it is able to drive all the made in Italy – said Centinaio – just as I believe that a large part of the tourism that will arrive in the near future will be able to be linked to this sector. Given the economic and social situation we are experiencing, I will put all possible effort. And those who know me know that if I make a commitment I try to carry it to the end. The priority now is to solve the problems, then we will have the opportunity to plan. I will focus on interventions that concern three macro sectors: aid to businesses, promotion in Italy and abroad, simplification and de-bureaucracy. As soon as possible, I intend to update this table on measures and projects. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and work to give the sector answers as quickly as possible ”.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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