Vinitaly 2020

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and debonair Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about…



Wine2wine: Despite the horrid china virus Italian wine sales in the USA increased by 2.3%
Boom for e-commerce and fine wines. Italy in pole position, France falling back…
Verona, 8 October 2020- Covid-19 has changed the approach to wine consumption in the United
States but did not cause a fall in demand. Off-premises consumption is booming and online sales
even more so, thereby largely offsetting the downturn seen for on-premises consumption (bars and
restaurants). In this context, Italy has benefited from the additional duties applied to its main
competitors to take an even longer lead over France, now faced by growing difficulties.
Veronafiere highlighted this from the latest customs data processed by the Vinitaly Observatory –
Nomisma Wine Monitor for wine2wine and during the web-focus yesterday evening discussing the
effects of Covid on Italian wine moderated by Gino Colangelo with internet connections with other
leading figures on the American market.
In the US Market Italy increasingly a top player, France loses one-quarter of the market!
Italy is increasingly in the forefront of wine sales in the United States; While France is increasingly affected by additional customs duties. The latest customs data analysed by the Vinitaly
Observatory-Nomisma Wine Monitor for wine2wine indicate that in the first 8 months of this year
Italy regained over 370 million euros over its historical competitor from across the Alps and closed
the summer with a further leap to 1.16 billion euros in sales (2.3% over the same period 2019),
while France posted its poorest performance and a downward trend of 25.7% (998 million euros).
The scenario – the precise opposite compared to the same period last year – is affected more by
additional customs duties than Covid-19. It need only be mentioned that in addition to -25.7% by
value for France – with still wines at -32.5% -, Spain (-11.8%) and Germany (-34.4%) also posted
significant drops, which made a decisive contribution to the overall contraction of US wine imports
in the period (-10.5%).

“Italy,” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, “today holds a share of the US wine import market close to 35%, a record achieved thanks to the current economic situation and a more competitive quality-price ratio than ever before. We must now consolidate this lead and realign the market segments affected by Covid-19 by accelerating promotion of ‘Made in Italy’. This,” Mantovani
went on, “is what the Wine2Wine Exhibition & Forum aims to achieve. It is an attended as well as a
digital event which, thanks to the partnership with ICE-Italian Trade Commission, will involve
hundreds of buyers in person and as many more online in master classes, networking, b2b and
remote seminars.”

Vinitaly Webinar: e-commerce and fine wine: the winning combination
e-commerce through large online sales centres is booming, as highlighted during the Vinitalywine2wine seminar (in collaboration with Colangelo & Partners) by Heini Zachariassen, founder of
the world’s leading wine app Vivino: “In recent months, we have seen the largest ever increases in
purchases by our 46 million users, with three-figure growth during the 5 months of the health
emergency. In the same period,” he added, “we registered a turning point for fine Italian wines,
especially Tuscan reds, Amarone and Brunello di Montalcino.”
The founder of the portal, Michael Osborn, shared this opinion: “The share of our users
making purchases grew from 24% in the pre-Covid period to 86%. This is an incredible performance
which one of our surveys suggests will also be maintained in the post-Covid phase. During the year,”
he concluded, “purchases of Italian wines grew by 53% thanks to high-end purchases by millennials
and generation X.”
The scenario as regards the horeca segment is quite different: Aaron Sherman, co-founder and CEO
of SevenFifty, suggests that it “fell by 33%.” “The wine business in the United States is very resilient,
even during the lockdown,” said the founder of Colangelo & Partners, Gino Colangelo, “and in this
context Italian wine enjoys advantages. Today, high-end wines are fastest growing category (over
50 dollars), which matches the profile of the major Italian brands.”
The seminar was also attended by Alison Napjus, senior editor at Wine Spectator, and Kristina
Kelley, Wine and Spirits Communication Director for E.J. Gallo Winery.
The webinars involving the USA are organised by Vinitaly together with the Italian-American
Chamber of Commerce in Chicago and in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation, Assocamerestero, Terlato Wines International, Banca Popolare di
Sondrio and Promos Italia.
USA: TOTAL WINE IMPORTS (cumulative January-August)
TOTAL WINE Values (euro)
2019 2020 Var. %
Total Imports


3,331,559,898 -10.5%
of which


1,160,864,910 2.3%


997,617,989 -25.7%
New Zealand


290,936,394 7.1%


190,195,009 -11.8%


181,719,822 -6.3%
Data processing: Vinitaly Observatory / Nomisma Wine Monitor based on customs data
Veronafiere Press Service
Tel.: + 39.045.8298.223 – 210 – 350
Twitter: @pressVRfiere
Simone Velasco (327.9131676;
Benny Lonardi (393.4555590;

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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