Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, and Italian wines are known worldwide for their broad variety. Italy, closely followed by France, is the world’s largest wine producer by volume. Its contribution is about 45–50 million hl per year, and represents about ⅓ of global production.
Italian wine is exported around the world and is also extremely popular in Italy: Italians rank fifth on the world wine consumption list by volume with 42 litres per capita consumption. Grapes are grown in almost every region of the country and there are more than one million vineyards under cultivation.
Anyway, customs figures show that in 2015 and 2016 Italy only ranks 5th as the source country of imported wines in China with 29 million litres worth 100 million USD – far behind France and Australia.
The best advantage for Italian wines is the fact that the most Chinese consumers have a good impression on Italian lifestyle, and many of them are eager about luxury products from Italy.
‘Will Chinese consumers decide to buy only because they see Italian wines in their supermarket? I don’t think so,’ said Sergio Bertasi, chair of China-Italy Chamber of Commerce, adding that to communicate Italian lifestyle to Chinese consumers is a ‘gradual process’.
Besides the language and cultural barriers, ‘Italian wines haven’t established a unified identity in the Chinese market yet,’ said Liu Qiang, managing director of specialised Italian wine importer SinoDrink.