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Italian wines grasp larger global market share



The wines of Italy now claim 22 percent of the global wine market, in part thanks to better marketing by regional wine groups.

With Vinitaly slated to begin this weekend, here’s some good news for the Italian wine industry: a report today at TheDrinksBusiness.com says the Italians have grabbed 22 percent of the global wine marker, largely thanks to a 17 percent increase last year in Prosecco shipments to the U.S.

The story quoted Giovanni Mantovani, director general of Veronafiere – which organizes Vinitaly – as saying the cause for the growth can be found in  “a growth of professionalism” among all Italian wine producers.

For many of us long-time Italy watchers, the phrasing comes off as a bit of an enigma. Does that mean Italian wine makers weren’t “professional” (supply your own meaning here) prior to whenever Mantovani is referring? Or that the wines didn’t reflect that professionalism?

Maybe it means Italian wine makers can be more professional by mimicking California-style wines, unfortunately something we’re seeing more and more, and forget the more-traditional styles that made Italian wines desirable in the first place.

If that’s the case, I would prefer they stay in the amateur class, with wines that tell a story of the people and land of Italy.

Or maybe il buon signore Mantovani merely is saying Italy finally is catching up with the rest of the modern wine world in terms of marketing, of getting awareness of their product out to a media-inundated world, with wine choices from every corner of the globe.

For that, we can in great part thank the many winemakers, grape growers and producers who make the long trek from Italy to the U.S., carrying their hopes and their wines to an increasingly receptive audience.

And a bit of thanks, too, to the many writers who continuously keep Italian wines in front of the fickle American public. Writers such as Alfonzso Cevola, Susannah Gold, Jeremy Parzen and Tom Hyland, among many others, too many to list, who keep this side of the Atlantic aware of the challenges of maintaining anything close to that “growth of professionalism” in a wine country often beset with economic and political conditions able to strangle even the strongest dreams.

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