Vinitaly 2013: Opera Wine and Focus on Chinese Market

Vinitaly 2013 started with a bang yesterday with the Wine Spectator Opera Wine tasting of Italy’s top 100 wines. Most of Italy’s most well known wineries were represented and the event was packed, a mix of a chic gathering and a wine tasting. I got to taste a number of wines which I normally can’t afford and meet some producers I didn’t know and see old friends at the same time. I will write about the wines later.

Yesterday was also the Vinitaly International press conference where they announced a new eCommerce site for Italian wines as well as an increased focus on the chinese market. These new changes follow those established last year: Internet for those who want it and a different schedule for the fair- Sunday to Wednesday instead of Thursday – Tuesday.

According to a press release from Veronafiere, “Export of Italian wines was up 6% in the USA, 11% in Canada, 15% in China and 28% in Japan.” Clearly the export market is the focus of this year’s Vinitaly as Italian pro capita consumption dropped to below 40 liters a year. The wine industry and those linked to it account for 1.2 million jobs.

At a time when Italy is having both a political and a financial crisis, our industry is a ray of sunlight in an otherwise depressing scene, producers told me, although they all complained about the level of taxation on small and medium sized companies.

The fair is about to begin and I am going in through the press entrance but I wanted to post before the day began. As anyone who has been to Vinitaly knows, once you are inside, the circus begins. The sheer scale of the show is impressive and a bit overwhelming but I really enjoy it and feel lucky to be here. More to follow.

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