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Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. Experiences the Best Year in Its History

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2019 a record year – 92 million bottles sold and revenue up close to 2 percent
First quarter of 2020: the retail sector prevails during COVID-19 crisis
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. up 16.8 percent in value and 18.6 percent in volume.

Future prospects: the strength of the brand, the added value of UNESCO status and the post-COVID-19 measures will draw numerous visitors to the Denomination.

Solighetto, May 22 2020 – The 2019 economic data for the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. Denomination were released in recent weeks in a video conference. Participating were: Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G.; Vasco Boatto, Professor of Economics and Farming Policy at the University of Padua and in charge of the District’s Research Center; Eugenio Pomarici, Professor of Economics and Farming Policy at the University of Padua and Scientific Director of the Economic Report; Simonetta Melis, Client Service Senior Manager at IRI Infoscan; and Enzo Risso, Scientific Director of SWG, an Italian market survey specialist.

Their findings outlined the overall picture in 2019 – and the positive results that were achieved – as well as insights on the first few months of 2020 and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis as it related to the region.  Apart from having had an immediate effect on consumption patterns, there is a general consensus that consumers are reaching for these wines, eager for a great quality and price ratio during a challenging economic time. “We are experiencing an unprecedented moment in history, which is threatening the entire world and all of its production sectors,” stated Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. “But in this difficult scenario we are proud to have reinforced the strength and unity of our Denomination, which can now face this crisis with the expertise and experience that culminated during our 50th anniversary in 2019 in record economic results: 92 million bottles sold and further growth in value terms of 1.2 percent.”

The Economic Results for 2019

Thanks to a particularly generous vintage in 2018, the bottles produced and sold in 2019 totalled 92 million, the largest number since the creation of the Denomination in 1969 and the overall revenue increased by 1.2 percent for the 2018 harvest. This goes to show a progressive recognition in the marketplace of the quality of the wines, resulting from the focused activities and messages to promote the product and the Denomination carried out by the Consortium. The total number of bottles sold of sparkling Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. corresponds to just under 50 million, with a value of around 296 million Euro, destined for the Italian market (56.3 percent), and almost 39 million bottles, with a value of about 202 million Euro, destined for international markets (43.7 percent). Exports are growing due to the producers’ desire and ability to reach new markets where demand is increasing, whereas domestic consumption in Italy is contracting slightly as a result of their commercial strategy of targeting the more quality-led on premise channel to a greater degree, rather than the discount retail channel.

The added value of the Denomination: wine tourism and sustainability

The strong image that the Denomination projects beyond its boundaries is evidenced by the growing economic value garnered by Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. The promotion of the Denomination and of sustainable programs on the part of the wineries and growers has contributed to increasing this value proposition, found in both the terroir and the bottle. A more progressive, welcoming hospitality at the wineries is now ubiquitous, and the individual wineries are developing and investing in tourism, both in terms of onsite offerings and a dedicated and educated staff.

In 2019, 460,000 visitors came to the Denomination, registering an increase of 13 percent compared to 2018 and 45 percent compared to 2010. The wineries in the Denomination are reaping the rewards of their hard work and are seeing a return on the investments they have made in the area of hospitality. The economic results reveal a total spend by wine tourists that has grown by 25 percent compared to 2018. Also, the amount spent by each individual visitor has increased, to just under 90 Euro per person.

Alongside wine tourism, which now appears to be well consolidated, an incentive for further growth for the region and its wines is the prestigious recognition that has been granted by UNESCO, which bore witness to the unique character of the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The beauty and distinctive nature of this area are preserved with even greater pride and dedication by the growers and wine producers, the vast majority of whom now adhere to the Viticultural Protocol drawn up by the Consortium.  In terms of adoption of the protocol by the producers within the consortium, 72.6 percent are increasing the well-being of employees in their workplace, 60.3 percent have attended best practices training to further improve the quality of the grapes, and 55 percent are embracing renewable resources.

Analysis of the international market

After a 2018 that had seen a contraction in exports, 2019 saw significant growth in sales abroad, both in volume (+ 17.2 percent) and in value (+15.8 percent), with rates well above the global market average.

Of absolute importance is the growth in UK imports, which grew by 80 percent in value and substantially doubled in volume, reaching a record 12.7 million bottles sold. Also important was the dynamic in Germany where, despite an overall decrease in the imports of international sparkling wines, the volumes and in particular values (+ 7.5 percent) are growing, showing an orientation towards higher quality products. This phenomenon is also found in the USA, with greater accentuation since in this market only values grew (+ 4.9 percent) out of a total of more than 2.8 million bottles sold.

Among the new importers, the performance of Central Eastern European countries is particularly positive, with growth rates reaching 46 percent in value and 49 percent in volume for Central European and Baltic countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia).

Exports to Latin America also increased (+ 24.5 percent in value and + 23.5 percent in volume), repeating the double-digit growth already recorded in 2018. As regards Asia, there was significant growth (+ 60.6 percent in value and + 76.6 percent in volume) in South East Asia (Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Brunei, Burma), consolidating the trend already observed in previous years.

Prospects for the future

A summary of the 2019 statistics underscores that the Denomination, thanks to its production structures, expertise, commercial relationships and the overall solidity of its business, will be able to overcome the crisis in the marketplace that the COVID-19 epidemic has caused worldwide. The synergy between the activities linked to the production of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore and the social fabric of the Denomination will be an invaluable support in the months to come.

From the experience of past crises – even though not comparable to the current one in terms of global impact – one can deduce that quality will once again prevail, because demand will be more selective and those consumers who choose Conegliano Valdobbiadene will continue to do so, as long as the product delivers on all fronts. It is anticipated that there will be trade ups on the part of consumers, turning towards the categories of Rive and Cartizze, and the sustainable tenets and UNESCO heritage status of the Denomination, bodes well for the commitment to quality for the long term.

About the Consorzio of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G

The Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is the private body, founded in 1962, that guarantees and controls adherence to the production regulations for D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. The sparkling wines produced on the hillsides between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the Province of Treviso, obtained Denomination di Origin Controlled status in 1969 and the Denomination di Origin Controlled e Garantita in 2009. The production zone includes 15 municipal areas: Conegliano, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo, Susegana, Pieve di Soligo, Farra di Soligo, Follina, Miane, Vidor, and Valdobbiadene. The Consortium, whose current President is Innocente Nardi, has its headquarters in the village of Solighetto in Pieve di Soligo. It groups together 182 sparkling wine producers and 427 vinifying companies. For the Denomination, this means that there are almost 3,500 local families involved in producing Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. It operates principally in three areas: protection and promotion of the product, both in Italy and abroad, encouraging knowledge of the product through educational activities, and the organization of events, as well as relations with the press. It also offers technical assistance to its members, from the vineyard to the winery.

For more information, interviews, images and inquiries for the U.S. market, please contact Charles Communications Associates at 415|701-9463 or [email protected].

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