The Triumph of the Italian Bubbles
Italian sparkling are having more and more success in the world thanks to its high value for money.
Perhaps you’ve never paid attention but the Italian sparkling are trendy. Italy triumphs in the world with its bubbles and they have become an alternative to champagne because of their much lower prices and higher value for money than the consumer appreciates so much. Its key markets are the US and UK that counted in 2014 with 330 of the 840 million bottles of sparkling exported, besides in early 2015 recorded a 24% of the sales, ranking both as reference markets.
Italy grow up in the market for its excellent value for money, but is still struggling to find a space in the line manned by the champagne, whose strength is immense for the visibility it has achieved as brand, by tradition and by its position in the luxury sector. In any case, the binomial Champagne-Prosecco is heard increasingly throughout the world and continues the face to face in 2014 with (307,000 to 310,000 bottles respectively).
The Italian bubbles continue to grow up inside and outside Italy. After the analysis of sparkling wine exports, according to the OVSE (Observatory of the wine) shows that 2014 was a good year for Italian sparkling wines. Total exports in 2014 were around 458.4 million bottles (+ 11% in 2013) with an increase in value of just over 800 million / € (+ 8.1% in 2013). A total consumption of 458.4 million bottles, of which 435.5 million are in Italian method and 22.9 million in classic method. Of the 313.4 million bottles they were consumed abroad (+ 10.9%) and 145 million in Italy (+ 0.4%).
Italian sparkling wines are becoming more successful thanks to high quality standards achieved by the wineries. But the map of Italian bubbles is large, varied and complex. Bubbles, whether sweet or dried, confirm the extraordinary richness of the wine production in Italy that expands across the country, from north to the south, either hot or cold places. There isn’t any Italian region where not produced sparkling wines, from the Valle d’Aosta to Sicily.
Some of them are produced by ‘Metodo Classico‘ or ‘Charmat ‘method (called Martinotti in Italy). There is no area that has not competed in the difficult art of sparkling wine, either using the classical legacy of French varieties such as Chardonnay or Pinot Noir or native varieties, in smaller proportions, but very interesting.
Italy is the country, from my point of view, with more quality sparkling wines by ‘classic method’ when compared with the champagne. These are called ‘Spumante Metodo Classico’ of second fermentation in the bottle. A variety of them start to prevail so in the important restaurants like in international tastings above many champagnes, conquering all kind of tastes.
When I enter in the world of Italian sparkling I feel a contradiction that fascinates me. On the one hand, in relation to its position as a technical product that has grown in recent years in terms of quality and in the other hand the consistency with the existence of the two methods (classico and Charmat) showing two choices, two ways to produce, two qualities, definitely two worlds.
Anyway I think that Italy maybe is wrong introducing a typological variety overly broad, as interesting as incomprehensible to the normal consumer. In that sense. I think they have failed to simplify the message, they have failed to create a concept as did the French with champagne: a clear and unique concept. In this sense, also others sparkling in the world have failed to know sell its territory.
Only prosecco has managed to hook the consumer making the price’s battle. Whether we agree or not, the results speak for themselves, with worldwide sales of prosecco, that some year has exceeded the champagne.
I think many Italian regions should change their strategies and try to strive to get out of the intermediate position in which they are positioned as excessively fragmented with its thousand denominations. Developing perhaps more communication campaigns and making self-reflection, because one thing is the domestic market and other export market, where the message must be very clear. In the following article you will understand why my reflection.