The “COVID-19 crisis” is global and also the wine sector. Italian but not only. Because while the activities in the winery and the countryside must go on (with all the costs that this implies), the stop of the catering industry weighs, more and more, dramatically, not only in Italy (where the latest estimates of Fipe report a loss of 30 billion euros at the end of the year, ed), but in many of the main markets of wine (Italian and not), from the U.S. to the United Kingdom, from France to Germany, to China (which, slowly, it seems, is starting again).
All countries that, at different times and in different ways, think about “Phase 2”, but in each one, the catering and social gathering activities in general, will be among the last to start again, at least for the moments of “on-site” consumption (while in many countries, unlike Italy, the takeaway activity is allowed basically to everyone. Weigh, therefore, the temporary closure and the uncertain restart of Horeca and other meeting places where conviviality feeds the consumption of wines and sparkling wines.
But also the strong slowdown of the tourism industry (which also has a strong impact on the many investments for the reception in the cellar implemented over the years by many realities of Italian wine), the restrictions on freedom of movement in general, which will last until beyond the primary and necessary reduction of infections, we will not arrive at a cure and a vaccine that ensures zero risks (and it will not happen before 12 months according to the most accredited sources). The wineries in Italy and around the world will suffer in 2020 drops in turnover ranging from 30 to 70%. Higher for small and medium-sized wineries. But even those who make more important volumes will suffer, with the increase in sales recorded to date in the fundamental large-scale distribution channel, and also on e-commerce, which, however, at least in Italy starts from very low numbers, which does not compensate for the drop in consumption at all of the catering. A problem, however, for all producing countries, as the estimate that comes from the USA shows, for example, according to a first survey by the “Wine Institute”, the losses for American wineries could reach 6 billion dollars. A figure, on what is currently the most important wine market in the world, which says a lot about the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the sector.
In the Italian market in particular, then, the liquidity crisis due to the lack of income during the period, many stress, will be aggravated by the abuse of late payments and insolvencies on invoices already old before the crisis arrives. And, someone points out, even from abroad, a market that is generally more quickly “solvent” than the domestic one, there is no shortage of attempts to take advantage of the situation. And we will have to reckon, not least, with a worldwide flow of tourists that, for a period that will certainly not be short, will be very far from what we were used to. With all that this implies in terms of consumption, economy and employment. A picture with increasingly darker shades, which should be reiterated. Because the responses of the Italian and European institutions, to date, do not seem to be adequate to the seriousness of the situation, both in economic terms and in terms of access.
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