Tuscan wines more popular than ever overseas

 FLORENCE -- The 16 Tuscan wine protection consortia (with combined sales reaching upwards of one billion euros) recently presented ‘Anteprime 2017’ at the Fortezza de Basso, Florence; an event targeting the global market, organised by the Region of Tuscany in collaboration with the PromoFirenze special-purpose company of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence. 

 With an increase of 55 percent in sales over the last decade and a high proclivity for export, the producers of Tuscan DOP wines (wines with Protected Designation of Origin) are today an important driving force for the growth of the territory’s economy, as the Region of Tuscany Councillor for Agriculture Marco Remaschi pointed out during the presentation, “Exports of quality Tuscan wines show no sign of slowing down – in fact, for the first time, exports have accelerated three years in a row. Exports of DOP Tuscan wines in 2016 amounted to 586 million euro, with an increase of 2.05 percent with respect to 2015 and an extraordinary 10.4 percent over 2014.”

 These numbers are even more significant in comparison to the slight decrease in overall wine exports, which dropped from 903 million euro in 2015 to an estimated 858 million euro in 2016 (-5.24 percent), and called attention to how, more and more, the market tends to reward quality. The effects on employment have been invigorating; Tuscany’s wine sector employs more than 25 thousand workers, with a 5 percent increase over the last ten years. 

 Among the major customer countries for Tuscany’s bottled wines in 2016 were the United States (absorbing 139 million euro in exports), Germany (62 million), Canada (34 million), the United Kingdom (25 million) and Switzerland (21 million).

 And Tuscany’s famed reds are not the only sellers. Exports of DOP white wines increased by 12 percent over the previous year, thanks in large part to livelier demand from Asia: Hong Kong has taken over third place in the ranking of top customer countries with 1.7 million euro; Japan purchased wines for a total of 0.8 million euro. 

 The global extent of interest in Tuscan wines is also evident in the world media. If we consider only the major press outlets, 1,115 articles have discussed these regional excellences. The U.S. led in numbers (31 percent) and was followed by Germany (25 percent) and the United Kingdom (25 percent) – but even our rival France found itself forced to speak of Tuscan wines (accounting for 5 percent of the mentions). 

 “This excellent communication exploit, together with the continuing increase in exports of the DOC and DOCG wines,” Councillor Remaschi commented, “are positive signs pointing to a future in which the quality and value of the Tuscan wines will be appreciated more than ever.”

 Also testifying to the success of wine-sector products at the event at the Cavaniglia Pavilion at the Fortezza da Basso, were more than 150 journalists from around the globe, including Fabrizio Bindocci, President of AVITO (Associazione Vini Toscana DOCG, DOC e IGT) and entrepreneur and Tuscan wine icon Piero Antinori, who reminded their audience that Italy is the only country in the world to boast a winemaking pedigree stretching back 300 years.

 Starting from this tradition, in its ongoing quest for excellence, Tuscany has attributed great importance to the renewal of its vineyards, to the point that according to COM Wine (Common Organisation of the Market for Wine) estimates, 68 percent (40 thousand hectares) of the region’s vineyards are younger than 20 years old and, of this total, 17 thousand hectares of vineyards are less than ten years old. 

 Finally, just a few steps from Anteprime 2017 at the Fortezza da Basso’s Spadolini Pavilion, the two-day BuyWine 2017 event closed, the broadest-reaching commercial initiative for the Tuscan vine-growing and winemaking sector, at which 210 companies (63 of which organic producers) presented the wines of 41 Tuscan denominations to 210 buyers from 191 international companies: proof that Tuscany’s wines are no longer just Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico, but also Bianco di Pitigliano e Sovana, Carmignano, Colline Lucchesi, Cortona, Elba, Maremma, Montecucco, Morellino di Scansano, Nobile di Montepulciano, Orcia, Val d’Arno di Sopra, Val di Cornia and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.