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A Central Command in Hong Kong for Italian wineries to conquer Chinese market

The consortium has announced a word of advice and an invitation to the country’s entire wine sector to formulate a strong and united national strategy in order to conquer emerging markets

The consortium, with eleven of Italy’s well-known producers from different regions, has announced a word of advice and an invitation to the country’s entire wine sector to formulate a strong and united national strategy in order to conquer emerging markets like China, making joint efforts to promote and educate the potential customers.

This Central Command only can maximize the effectiveness of the several individual initiatives launched in China so far by Italians, according to this consortium.

‘Italy has used extraordinary strength and creativity in the past and conquered many markets where we are well-established and now consider practically our domestic markets. It has been able to make excellent use of the resources at its disposal even in the recent past,’ says Ettore Nicoletto, President of the Consortium

‘Italy must rediscover the Chinese market which is huge, far-off and a complex market where we have even been all too cautious and wary in the past. It is in the markets of the future, such as China, where we have to strategise over the next few years. Despite the signals we are receiving from consumers, the overall production in Italy is too fragmented for us to be able to obtain significant results. If we start to look at the specific characteristics of the Chinese market, we have to take into account that there is a very high share of consumption of domestic wines and that there is a more consolidated presence of some of our competitors, like France.’

In the way of clarification, it says, ‘China consumed 156 million cases of wine in 2011 (as a perspective, India consumed a miniscule 1.5 million-editor). Out of this, 130 million cases were Chinese domestically produced wine. Of the balance 26 m cases, 8m were of French wine; only 1.4 m were exported from Italy. That’s simply too small a proportion. We must reverse this trend and improve our overall performance. In three years, consumption in China is expected to grow by over 50% to 240 million cases. For this reason we all have to act together and take advantage of this great opportunity that is opening up. Otherwise, we will have only a marginal increase that does not befit the true role and substance of Italian wine’.

How can one realize this opportunity? “The Italian wine sector has to find means to set up a ‘Central Command’ that can launch a global Italian strategy in China, picking up on the positive signals from the market. We must construct an overall image for Italian wines, make consumers more aware of it and educate local sommeliers, restaurateurs and members of the trade. We also have to help Italian producers equip themselves so that they can present themselves properly in the Chinese market. It’s a tremendous effort for a single entrepreneur but we can do it, if we are together.”

The Italia del Vino-Consorzio is participating in the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Show and will also be among the sponsors of the VIP Lounge. This is an important opportunity to present a strong, concerted image of Italian wine.

Banfi, Ferrari, Sartori, Zonin, Gancia, Gruppo Italiano Vini, Marchesi di Barolo, Medici Ermete, Santa Margherita, Drei Donà and Terredora are the eleven members of Italia del Vino-Consorzio.

Italian producers are known to be highly individualistic, almost to the point of being obstinate and narcissistic and are thus very fragmented, just as historically Italy has been a fragmented nation. Apart from each area and region having their own independent Consorzios that defend the complicated appellations and also help market the wines, the producers form their own independent alliances. A producer may be a member of more than one such group or consortium.

Sartori is not only a member of the Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella which also promotes wines of Valpolicella including Amarone, but the owner Luca Sartori was the President of the Consortium for 3 years till last year. But interestingly, 12 historical producers of Amarone left the Consortium to form their own association, called Famiglie dell ‘Amarone d'Arte' (Amarone Families). Similarly Zonin is also a founder member of another powerful association - Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia having about 200 members who are elected based on a track record of being consistently successful producers.

Similarly, Yes Grapes Italia is another group of family vineyards and wineries that make wines from their own grapes and stretches beyond Piemonte, its main region of origin. Both these groups are taking part in the Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Fair to be held from November 8-10. Another Consorzio participating will be Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, the highly respected and active association of Chianti Classico producers .

by S. C.
05 november 2012, World News > Italy

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