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.

Campania Stories 2024 – A Memorable Experience

Campania Stories, one of the most significant wine events in southern Italy, took place this year in Sannio on the northern edge of Campania from May 21st to 25th. The 12th edition welcomed wine writers and other trade professionals.

This year was an incredible success with over 90 wineries who submitted their samples to a wide audience of international bloggers, journalists and wine critics. The setting could not be more beautiful as the event consists of a journey through the main wine areas of a region known by visitors for the beautiful Amalfi Coast and the vibrant city of Naples.

Sannio just north of the Naples, the town of Dugenta hosted the event at the luxury resort, Tenute del Gheppio. Producers had the opportunity to present their latest white wines along with their Riservas. Presentation of the 2023 vintage was led by Francesco Martusciello, one of the flying winemakers of the region, at Rocca dei Rettori di Benevento, in cooperation with Assoenologi. Francesco Martusciello emphasized the 2023 vintage trend which was an uneven year with limited production but of very high quality. The whites were a perfect example with their predominant fermentative aromas that will certainly dissipate with time to show the true character of the grape.

We also enjoyed an in-depth journey through Campania to see producers in their element visiting estates in Sannio and Irpinia where they discovered the landscapes of smooth hills, mainly of clay, with expansive vineyards divided by the main rivers of Calore in Irpinia, and Volturno in North Sannio. These visits were made possible in part by the close collaboration of Miriade & Partners headed by Diana Cataldo, Massimo Iannaccone and Serena Valerian.

This is an area known for is great viticulture, since the Roman times when it was known as Campania Felix. A place where Roman heritage is still evident with the discovery of several amphoras and tools for winemaking, but also marked by incredible buildings dating back the 18th century, such as the majestic Carolino aqueduct that dominates the valley as a Unesco Heritage site.

This beautiful corner of Campania shows history, art and culture that are only discovered by venturing off the beaten path, such as Vigna del Ventaglio near Caserta in San Leucio, another UNESCO World Heritage site. The place was already known in the past for high quality silk production, when the Bourbon King Ferdinando IV selected a vineyard in the shape of a fan and divided it into nine sectors, each cultivated with unique grape varieties he loved the most, like Piedimonte Rosso and Bianco, Procopio, Delfino Bianco and Siracusa Rosso, parental vines of the modern ones.

Modern winemaking equipment has been introduced in Campania. For instance, prominent estates have been using high -ech crushing machines and tanks with cooling jackets, and at the same time the wine estate are preserving certain traditional winemaking techniques like the use of amphoras where local grapes such as Greco, Fiano and also Coda di Volpe perform well.

The two-day tasting was a true pleasure for me, with sparkling, whites, reds and rosè from all over Campania, over 200 samples from 90 producers. I focused mostly on the sparkling wines which are showing interesting improvements. While at the beginning, most sparkling wine from Campania was Charmat method from some of the semi-aromatic grapes of the region, mainly Falanghina, but now several traditional method wines are becoming more and more popular with large improvements in terms of quality.

This was definitely a roadshow of the best expression of Campania viticulture and landscape. For a full immersion in this promising growing region, Campania Stories is wine not to be missed. And now I can only wait for the 2025 edition, which will be hosted by the Volcano Vesuvio.

Filippo Magnani

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.