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English News Giovedi 16 Giugno 2022

Wine Prices, the American Dreams and the Italian ''sales''

The wine average costs in the United States constantly cause us to reflect on the Italian rating: it is good to consider the situation. Read the statement by Friulan producer Antonella Cantarutti for Ribolla Gialla Spumantizzata for 1,99 Euro.

di Fabio Piccoli

Every time we run into wine selling statistics on the American market, I am on one hand enthusiast about how the USA consumers give a great “value” to wines (especially to their own), and, on the other hand, I am perplexed because we are far from that collection.

In these past few days, thanks to the super up-to-date Wine Analytics Report, I read the wine bottles’ average prices bought in the DTC (Direct-To-Consume) channel – which today represents the 11% of the wine selling in the USA and in 2021 it registered the nth record reaching 4,2 billion dollars – discovering that in March it arrived to 52,86 Dollars. A normal data for the Americans, but absolutely surprising for us considering, for example, that the average price for buying a wine bottle on the platform vino.com in 2021 (according to a Wine Monitor analysis) has been 12,13 Euros. And we are talking about the online channel which, however, registers even higher average prices respect to what happens in our large-scale distribution where, in 2021, the average price for buying a wine bottle (o,75 l) has been 5,5 Euros (with an encouraging +4,1% respect to 2020).

But, going back to the American El Dorado, in the DTC channel the higher average bottle price in the first few months of 2022 has been registered by the Cabernet Sauvignon with a surprising 75,86 dollars which, surely, strongly affected the whole mean considering the remarkable 48,35 Dollars for the Pinot Nero, the 34,13 Dollars for the Chardonnay and the 32,23 Dollars for a sparkling made in USA.

Of course, there is not just the DTC in the USA. However, the prices situations are surely great on the on-premise channel, where the mean is higher than 50 Dollars. And, on the other hand, besides what has been highlighted by the statistics, everyone who enters a restaurant in the USA can easily realize the average wine prices, and of the American wines in particular.

Reflecting on that, I came across a “curious” ranking, realized by numbeo.com, on the average prices for a wine bottle on an international level (it is not specified but it is clear that the prices refer to the off-premise shelf) from which it is understood that the USA with 12 Dollars are in  20° place on the ranking. In first place we can find Qatar with 27,46 Dollars, followed by Singapore with 21,96 $ and Giordania with 21,15 $.

What about Italy? We are in 83° position with 5,41 $ (the ranking is not truly up-tp-date considering how, as we highlighted before, we are now at 5,5 $ more or less), at the same level of another great market like Germany in which, however, the wine discount selling is well known.

Among the most important wine market we can find the UK in the 35° place with 9,13 Dollars (we thought it would be less considering the key role of the UK gdo), and Canda in 23° place with 11,92 Dollar, China in 16° place with 12,50 $ and Hong Kong in 8° place with 17,85 $, while Russia, a more-and-more unbalanced market, is in 53° place with 7,43 $.
The last three position in the ranking are, from third to last, Saudi Arabia with $ 2.67, Pakistan with $ 1.63 and Iran with only a meager dollar. But it is natural to ask numerous questions about the veracity of these latest data.

But, besides the reliability or otherwise of some data, there is no doubt that wine continues to have very different "perceptions" on the consumers’ point of view in relation to their country of origin.
It is clear that the economic component exists, that is the spending power of some countries compared to others (to use a hyperbole, it is evident that an emir of Qatar will have a few coins more than an ordinary Pakistani), but there is also a cultural factor.

In fact, in countries (such as Italy) in which wine has been inside the daily life for a long time, where the purchase is very easy, where there is a great product portfolio with an even vaster price range, there is the inevitable tendency towards lower prices.

Of course, mine is a crude simplification, but which I believe, to some extent, should make us reflect on how the "sight" of very low prices on the shelves of large-scale distribution still generates in many the idea that, in the end, a decent wine can also cost very little. And this is not a good thing.

For this reason we cannot fail to support the recent stance of Antonella Cantarutti, a well-known Friulian producer (Cantarutti Alfieri company in San Giovanni al Natisone - Udine) who took the fateful pen and paper to write a denouncing letter to the Minister of Agricultural Policies and to her own President of Region and Regional Councilor, regarding a promotion by a well-known discount chain of a Ribolla Gialla sparkling wine at a "SHAMEFUL" (as Antonella wrote in her letter) price of 1.99 euros.
It is very difficult not to agree with Antonella and to not support her battle.