For as long as wine has been popular the Italian win distributors in particular have been at or near the top of the pile when it comes to creating great vintages that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. In fact, this quality has led to continued expansion of the Italian wine industry, with a particular focus being placed on producing vintages that are enjoyed by an international audience as well as those that are enjoyed by domestic consumers.
In fact, recent statistics have shown that Italy is no longer the top nation in the world when it comes to wine consumption. Both the United Kingdom and the United States consume more bottles of wine per year than the Italians, despite neither having a particular tradition in place as regards to cultivating and creating wines.
All of this means that the wines consumed by these nations are generally imported, often from Italian producers, and this increasing demand doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. With a larger amount of men in these countries moving away from more traditional lagers and beers and towards experimentation with varieties of wine, we are set to see even more wine consumption on the part of international territories in the coming years.
Popular wines abroad
Of course, this attitude should be tempered somewhat by the fact that there are particular variations of wine that are popular in international territories. Outside of specialist shops, it is difficult for somebody outside of Italy to even so much as hear about some of the more exclusive and interesting wines that are produced in the country, which means that much of the wine consumed internationally generally favours whichever variations of most widely available in the countries.
The continued spread of online shopping has mitigated this issue somewhat and allows for those with more inquisitive minds to explore the world of Italian wine a little more thoroughly. The online market has also provided a platform for an increasing amount of distributors to advertise their wares to people who may never have been exposed to them otherwise, which in turn has only been positive for the Italian wine making industry as a whole.
In fact the popularity of Italian wine is such that recent reports from the Associazone Enologi Enotecnici Italiani which said that wine makers in the country may only be able to produce 41.6 million hectoliters this year as opposed to 48.16 hectoliters from last year has created a genuine fear that there will not be enough Italian wine to go around, especially as demand from international territories continues to increase.
This places distributors in the odd position of both being able to grow their businesses exponentially thanks to an increase in interest, while also forcing into consideration a variety of problems that were perhaps not as prominent when the majority of their wines were being sold domestically. Simply put, the increased allure of Italian wines in international markets is mitigated somewhat by the ability of Italian producers to make enough wine to go around. If there is a particularly bad harvest or something else effects production we may see a number of consumers being turned off due to a lack of availability, which could have the opposite effect on the industry as a whole.
Examples of Popular Italian Wines
Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of the spread of Italian wines in international territories can be gleaned from the fact that many of these territories now produce their own variants of both the grapes and the wines that are particular popular in their area of the world.
Taking Prosecco as an example, it is easy to see just how popular this particular variety of wine has become. Italian distributors currently generate more than 150 million bottles on an annual basis, with as much as 30-40% being consumed overseas rather than domestically. This popularity has been exacerbated in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, where the wine is not only distributed from Italian vendors but, in some cases, is also produced regionally. While such wines don’t carry the relevant DOC or DOCG classifications that mark them as being genuinely Italian, the fact that such nations go to the effort of cultivating the grapes and, in some cases, producing their own versions of the wine demonstrates just how far the Italian wine culture has spread.
This can perhaps be explained by the fact that Italian wines hold something of a cultural significance, especially in countries that contain people who have an appreciation for Italian culture as a whole. Coming back to the UK as an example, many of the people in the country regard Italian art and architecture as being amongst the greatest and most desirable in the world, a fact that is demonstrated by the rich tourist trade attracted by areas such as Rome and Venice. This appreciation of Italian culture extends to the wines produced in those regions, especially those that come from producers who have a rich history as it relates to both wine production and involvement in the politics and development of the Italian region during critical points of its history.
Though white wines such as Prosecco are generally favoured, most likely due to their lighter characteristics and ease of consumption, red wines such as Chianti are also achieving some level of international acclaim, especially following the advent of the ‘Super Tuscan’ era. Generally featuring richer flavours and deeper textures, red wines are slowly creeping up in popularity in many regions, which can again be related to their association with a culture that is perhaps richer, or at least different, to that experienced outside of Italy. Variations of Chianti and other wines have achieved enough prominence to be able to sponsor international events, which in turn means that exposure to such wines has increased.
It is this increased exposure that is perhaps key to the continued expansion of the Italian wine industry on an international level. We live in an age where information is more readily available than it has ever been before and many people will use this information to continue to expand their cultural and wine consuming horizons.