Spirits set to overtake wine as global drinking habits change

According to a report from the World Spirits Alliance released on Wednesday, global sales of spirits such as vodka and whisky are expected to surpass wine as drinking preferences have shifted.

The report from Oxford Economics and alcohol market research firm IWSR states 2.67 billion cases of spirits were sold in 2022, almost as many as the 2.8 billion cases of wine sold that year.

“Should current trends in both categories continue, spirits volumes will soon surpass those of wine,” the report states.

Trends, including a shift towards drinking fewer, more expensive drinks, notably a growing range of cocktails, have seen spirits displace wine.

The wine industry has faced a global supply glut, difficult weather and falling demand, which has hit a 27-year low. Beer companies are also grappling with a shift to spirits in some markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

Beer accounted for 75.2% of total beverage alcohol volumes in 2022, followed by wine at 10.4% and spirits at 9.9%;

In terms of the value of sales in 2022, spirits accounted for 40% of total beverage alcohol sales followed by beer at 38.1% and wine at 17.6%;

Indian whisky is set to be the fastest growing spirits category between 2022 and 2027, growing by 50 million cases, with tequila, rum and gin all expected to rise between 10 and 20 million cases. Cognac and Armagnac are set to grow the least in the spirits market.

The production and sale of spirits contributed some $730 billion to the global economy in 2022, when activity ranging from farming and manufacturing to shipping and sales in shops, bars and restaurants is included.

Source: Reuters

Sicilia En Primeur: Celebrating 25 Years of Assovini Sicilia’s Unified Vision for Sicilian Producers – Filippo Magnani

May 9th and 10th, the Sicilian wine community achieved a new milestone in Cefalù, Sicily with over 100 wine journalists and 59 wineries who convened to explore and evaluate over 300 labels, participate in five masterclasses, and embark on ten curated wine tours.

For over 25 years Sicilia En Primeur has been celebrating the evolution of a diverse wine region on the Mediterranean’s largest island – Its history, culture, traditions and food are as rich as they are diverse.

Some History
Assovini Sicilia was founded 25 years ago by Diego Planeta, Lucio Tasca d’Almerita and Giacomo Rallo who launched an association and has since grown in membership and international success due to their visionary and collaborative approach. The theme of this year’s event was “ Cultivating The Future” which focused on the evolution of Sicilian wine, its cultural value, wine tourism, and future prospects, with participation from journalists, producers, and industry representatives. Mariangela Cambria, President of Assovini Sicilia, emphasized how the association has promoted a contemporary and dynamic image of Sicily, making it a brand of significant cultural value and international appeal. The association’s success is based on innovation and adaptability, integrating new generations into company management roles and focusing on sustainability and wine tourism. Particular emphasis was on the role of the new generation of wine production in Sicily and illustrated with the poignant video entitled “Next Generation”.

The event was moderated by the prestigious journalist Gioacchino Bonsignore (TG5 Mediaset) and featured presentations from an all-star cast such as the one of Monica Larner, Italian reviewer, Robert Parker Wine Advocate who presented the Trends and Perception of Sicilian Wine in the US Market; a glance at the Past to Imagine the Future in the vineyard by Alessio Planeta, CEO Planeta winery; The Story of a Thriving Partnership by Antonio Rallo, President of the Consortium for the Protection of Sicilia DOC; The New Frontiers of Green and the Experience of the SOStain Sicilia Foundation with Alberto Tasca, President of the SOStain Sicilia Foundation and even more including the ambassador of Sicilian culture Regoli, Director of WineNews.

In addition to the conference, Sicilia En Primeur organized their yearly wine tours of the territory which gives participants a chance to delve deeper into the multitude of Sicily’s wine zones, discovering their evolution and the new frontiers of each area. I have had the chance to explore the central-southern part of the island. So, along with the prominent Nero d’Avola, the identity of Sicily in red in different versions (rosé, sparkling, fruity and light or more structured reds); there were also the whites especially Catarratto in which many producers of the area specifically believe in for the production of wonderful Classic Method Sparkling wine especially at high altitude; I could taste different versions of my beloved Frappato with its versatility and captivating juicy character also able to produce rosé, delicious bubbles or it is blended with the generally more concentrated Nero d’Avola for a perfect balance.

The Landscape of the Chianti Classico Farm Villas: A Step Toward UNESCO Status

The Italian Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano expressed “satisfaction” with the decision of the Board of Directors of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO to send the candidacy of “The landscape of the Chianti Classico villa-farm system to UNESCO”, for submission to a preliminary evaluation of the advisory bodies for the purposes of inscription on the World Heritage List. “It is a candidacy that enhances an identity landscape of our nation, which has the full support of the Ministry of Culture”, declared Sangiuliano.

The candidacy falls into the category of cultural landscapes and consists of an area that includes seven municipalities distributed across two provinces, Florence and Siena, and which occupies an area of approximately 54 thousand hectares. The proposal represents, through its integrity and beauty, an exceptional testimony to the renewal process which, started in the 16th century, gave rise to a new efficient and sustainable agricultural settlement system. The image of the historic territory is still outlined today by the rhythmic sequence of typologically differentiated buildings, but consistent with the unitary production organization of the villa-farm, by the wise choices of location of the buildings, which allow for a wide intervisibility, and by the continuity of the traditional connections between wooded areas and the areas intended for the main tree crops.

The preliminary evaluation of the advisory bodies of the World Heritage Committee is the first step of the new procedure established by UNESCO for the inscription of sites in the World Heritage List. It optimizes the work of the Convention States, providing an initial assessment of the application dossier and offering observations on which to concentrate efforts during the drafting of the application documentation.

The project, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture through the UNESCO Office of the General Secretariat, was promoted by the Tuscany Region and supported by the Foundation for the Protection of the Chianti Classico Territory. The exchange activities with UNESCO were assisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

UK Sees Surge in Wine Tourism

WineGB has released its first wine tourism report, revealing a significant surge in visits to UK vineyards and wineries. The recent findings indicate that visits have surged by 55% in the past two years, underscoring the growing popularity of wine tourism in England and Wales.

The report further indicates that 1.5 million people visited UK vineyards and wineries last year, accounting for a quarter of the total income for these establishments. The industry anticipates continued growth and investment, with WineGB forecasting further expansion in the coming years.

WineGB’s 2024 Industry Survey, which captured responses from over 130 members accounting for more than 90% of UK wine production, provides a detailed snapshot of the sector’s forward momentum. The survey reveals that there are currently 300 vineyards and wineries actively engaged in wine tourism.

Among the top activities attracting visitors include:

275 cellar doors and shops
260 guided tours and tastings
103 venues for hire
97 self-guided tours
92 places to stay and eat
38 picnic areas

A notable 42% of inbound visitors expressed high interest in visiting a winery. According to Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, commented on the report’s findings: “Our Manifesto for Growth identified essential policies for accelerating our sector’s development. Today’s report showcases the immense value and importance of wine tourism in our industry. It’s our call to action for policy changes in tax, planning, and marketing to unlock the full potential of wine tourism and reach 16 million visitors.

An Exclusive Conversation with Maximilian Riedel, CEO and President of Riedel, by Liz Palmer

I am thrilled to conduct an in-person interview with Maximilian Riedel, the visionary CEO and President of Riedel, a company renowned globally for its innovative and high-quality glassware. Under Maximilian’s leadership, Riedel has continued to elevate the art of glassmaking, blending tradition with cutting-edge design to enhance our wine and spirits experience. In this exclusive conversation, Maximilian shares insights into the company’s journey, his personal inspirations, and the future of Riedel in the ever-evolving world of glassware craftsmanship. Let us delve into the mind of a leader who is redefining the way we savor our favorite beverages.

Company Vision and Strategy

Riedel has a long and storied history in the glassware industry. How do you balance tradition with innovation in your role as CEO?

“So, obviously, tradition is for me an orientation, but I see it in my back mirror, and sometimes it’s good and advisable to look into the back mirror, but it should never interfere with the cause of an entrepreneur.

We are in the present, we’re working for the future, and sometimes you also have to break with tradition to bring forward newness and excitement, and that’s exactly what I have been doing over the last 10 to 20 years.

So, I feel like I am in the midst, and I’m doing a good job in balancing them both.”

Product Development and Innovation

How does Riedel approach sustainability and environmental responsibility in its manufacturing processes?

“For us, this, of course, is a very important subject, especially since we live off raw materials, which are natural.

Lately, very challenging for any manufacturer in Europe because the cost for energy and raw materials has gone through the roof, and it’s challenging for us right now.”

Are there any upcoming products or innovations that you are particularly excited about?

“Always, but we remain creative, and every year we bring forward newness, and invest in our technology which allows us to bring forward products which are very unique to the market.”

Market and Industry Trends

How do you see the global market for luxury glassware evolving in the next 5 to 10 years?

“Amazing. I think we have not seen so much development like we did in the past 10 years.

Sadly, it’s coming to a halt because the wine industry is not booming anymore, and because of that, it’s a little bit challenging also for us as glassmakers because we are so connected.”

Personal Insights and Experiences

Growing up in a family business, what are some key lessons you learned from your father and mother?

“From my father and mother …everything, everything.

I’m in the business because of them.

They made it so exciting and so attractive to me that I wanted to join ever since, and the reason why I’m here is because of my parents.”

What motivates you both personally and professionally?

“Well, I’m living the dream.

I mean, who does not want to deal with wine and food and glass every day. I get to travel the world…. I get to meet very interesting people.

Also, thanks to social media, in my little environment, I’ve become a celebrity because of my passion for what I do.”

Future Outlook

What partnerships or collaborations are you currently exploring to expand Riedel’s reach and influence?

“Well, obviously we have a lot of partnerships with wine and champagne houses, but I think we need to look outside of that because we learned from Tiffany and other companies… right now partnerships with other companies, with other brands can be of great benefit so, we’re seeking for that.”

Maximilian Riedel’s Favorites

Let’s dive in and learn about your favorites.

What is your favorite Riedel Collection and why?

“I don’t have one because I love them all, otherwise I would discontinue them. I love them because of what they stand for and whatever comes handy, I use.”

What is your Favorite Decanter and why?

“Definitely the Ridel Eve Decanter, it’s one of many designs that I created… it’s my favorite.”

What is your favorite wine (if you had to choose one) and why?

“Don’t have one….It depends on the situation, depends on the momentum, depends on the people I’m with.

But, if it comes to champagne, I grew up with Dom Pérignon, and for sure it’s a wine I would look at.”

And lastly, my most important question [I also love vintage cars especially sport cars]…whilst your passion for wine runs deep, so does your love for collecting and driving your vintage sports cars on the track, through vineyards and through the European countryside, which car do you favour overall to drive through the vineyards?

Well, it’s similar to wine. I’m fortunate to have a few cars, and it’s also about the situation and the momentum. Cars are like beautiful pairs of shoes. You have one for every occasion, or you should have. I definitely have a passion for Porsche cars, and vintage Porsches with their air-cooled sound it’s very special.”