Locked indoors, in quarantine, in smart working or forced stopover, in the world, one continues, however, luckily, to drink wine. Italians do it, as told by the growth of sales in large-scale distribution and e-commerce, wine lovers in many countries do it. Like the U.S., a strategic market for Italy’s wine, which will be cultivated even more after the pandemic. And, to investigate the wine habits of the Americans in time of COVID-19, is research by Nomisma-Wine Monitor, commissioned by Pasqua Vigneti & Cantine, a Veneto-based reality of the Pasqua family that celebrates 95 years of activity this year, with a turnover up 10% in 2019, at 60.2 million euros. Also thanks to the USA, the winery’s reference market. Well, on the whole, compared to 40% of respondents who claim to have reduced their consumption in quarantine, is counterbalanced by a 37% of wine lovers who have not changed their wine consumption, while 23% declare, instead, an increase. As it rises to 25% for those who are taking advantage of smart working and red wine lovers.
Alongside a higher consumption during meals (26%) and the aperitif (20%), 27% of those interviewed drink more wine in moments of relaxation, a percentage that reaches 32% for those who work from home and 30% for those who prefer reds. And if 34% of consumers have decreased their toasts based on Italian labels, especially because they no longer go to restaurants (a sign of how, even in the U.S., away from home is a fundamental channel for the consumption of quality wine), there is also a 19% of Italian wine consumers who have increased their purchases, and they have done so because they are looking for more quality than before. “Meditation” labels such as Amarone Della Valpolicella seem, therefore, to get the better of other wine categories.
The changes are also reflected in purchasing power: 43% spent more on wine in the last two weeks. For some categories, the propensity to spend more during the quarantine increases those who have good financial resources (family income of over $75,000 gross per year), those who buy wine online (72%) and Italian (49%). Most of them are men, aged between 39 and 54 years. But if this is the present, however difficult, we try to understand what the near future will be like. And if it is difficult to make short and long term forecasts, some suggestions, suggests the research, may indicate the way forward. Social distancing and restrictive measures adopted also in the US are forcing the public to change their purchasing channels: e-commerce, used in the last two weeks for wine purchases by 44% of consumers in New York and California – two of the most important US states for wine consumption – is taking off, 24% of which have bought wine online more than before. The share of buyers reaches 58% among those who have continued to work (both on the premises and in smart working) and 49% among consumers away from home. A sector that will certainly continue to grow in the future and therefore needs to be studied in the best possible way.
Certainly, consumption in the US will also come to terms with the consequences of the Coronavirus crisis. After the lockdown, 19% of consumers think that once the quarantine is over they will drink more wine than they do now, compared to 33% of those who expect a reduction in consumption. 25% of “away from home” consumers will drink less wine because they go to restaurants and other places less, while 24% of consumers expect wine consumption to return to the same level as before and 23% will spend more regardless of the amount consumed.
“In a delicate and difficult moment for the entire sector, the economic repercussions will be inevitable – underlines Riccardo Pasqua – the COVID-19 emergency requires us to reformulate our business strategies on both the Italian and foreign markets: analyzing the current evidence is now more necessary than ever because it can provide us with useful indications on future trends, allowing us to intercept and constructively interpret the new ways of consumption that will be created. We are also in contact with our offices around the world so that we can receive constant updates and feedback, allowing us to better monitor the situation, be updated on the evolution of the situation and share know-how. The unity of intent and team, we believe, can distinguish our ability to live with the virus and will determine the result, when it is time to restart”.
And it will be important to do so to return to a growth that seemed to start marching again, at the beginning of 2020, at least from the Easter observatory: among the markets that were controlled, before the lockdown, the subsidiaries Easter USA and Easter Asia grew by 8.1% and 26.5%, respectively, while revenues in the domestic market increased by 1.4%. “Interesting results to analyze, in the face of constant growth – also in 2019 – which becomes for Easter Vineyards & Wineries leverage to face the crisis of COVID-19, with due caution but also confidence in the future economic situation and the restart of the sector, once the emergency is over”, explains the company.
Which, as mentioned, reaches the milestone of its first 95 years of activity, confirming its position as one of the leaders in its competitive market and growing by 10% over the previous year, with an increase from 54.7 to 60.2 million euros in consolidated turnover, keeping the number of bottles produced constantly. The solidity of the income results, which are positive and growing, with an Ebitda value of 13% of revenues (7.4 million euro), push the company to confirm the investments planned for 2020.
“The data that we disseminate is a very encouraging basis for us,” says President Umberto Pasqua, “and it is precisely in these situations that it is important to send a strong signal, first of all to our employees and then to the market. That’s why we have activated a health insurance policy, covering all our employees and we have given them a 100% bonus, equal to about one average month’s salary. We are convinced that the key to the success of our labels depends not only on the goodness of our wines but also and above all on the people who contribute to their creation. And their safety comes first for us: just think that long before the emergency exploded in our country, our Chinese headquarters sent us thousands of masks. A cue with which it was thus possible for us to “anticipate” some of the government measures that came later: we have provided for the sanitization of the work environments and, where possible, the preparation of smart working”.
Alongside the support for employees, the company wanted to demonstrate its closeness to the community through a donation to the Verona Hospitals. The measures and interventions adopted by Pasqua Vigneti & Cantine are possible thanks to one of the company’s strong points: the value of exports, which rose from 49 million in 2018 to 54 million euros last year.
In 2019, Pasqua confirmed its growth in penetration in strategic markets such as the USA (+8.1%) and Asia (+26.5%). The excellent performance achieved is also due to a steady increase, over the last 10 years, in wine imports into the two countries. Comparing the data for 2007 with those recorded in 2018, consumption in the Stars and Stripes nation (especially red wine) increased by 39%, but China’s growth is the most interesting in absolute terms, at +30%.
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