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Italian wine in the US: imports up, but consumption collapses

“Houston, we have a problem”. Or rather: US, as a whole. In fact, it is a snapshot with more shadows than lights that gives a snapshot of the market in the US, the first outlet for the sales of Italian wine abroad with a value that in 2023 approached 2 billion euros. In fact, if on the one hand the sign is slightly positive for imports from overseas in the first quarter (volumes +1.1%), on the other there is a further and worrying drop in consumption in the US off- and on-trade channels . According to the UIV Observatory on a SipSource basis, which measures sales in 75% of US commercial establishments, the month of March (-13%) further worsened the quarterly picture which sees Italian wine consumption at -9.5% on already a complicated start to the previous year.

The state of the art of Italian wine in the US: consumption is collapsing, only Asti Docg, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino resist

Wine market with more shadows than lights in the US and not only for Italian wine, which recorded a -9.5% in consumption in the first quarter of 2024.

A trend, the tricolor one, which goes hand in hand with overall wine purchases in the world’s largest market, which is contracting by more than 10%.

In a context of declining trend that has persisted since last May, all types of Italian products pay a price, starting from whites (-11.5%), as well as reds (-8%) and sparkling wines (-6%). .

The state of the art of Italian wine in the US: consumption is collapsing, only Asti Docg, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino resist

Among the main denominations, double-digit drops for Barolo up to Chianti Docg and Pinot Grigio. Prosecco is also down (-4.5%), while consumption of Asti Docg is stable, Chianti Classico is growing slightly and Brunello di Montalcino is rising by double digits.

A complicated start to the year on the tables but stable at customs, which reported a mini-recovery in orders in the first quarter with volumes at +1.1% (80 million litres) and values at +2.6% (508 million dollars ) after 2023 closed at -13%.

In the period, sparkling wines decreased in volume by 4.6%, while bottled wines recorded a +0.6%. The overall data records a regression in March compared to the first two months, which closed with an increase of almost 3% of bottles headed to the US.

“The hope – underlines the general secretary of the Italian Wine Union (Uiv), Paolo Castelletti, regarding the data arriving from overseas – is that we can stop a spiral resulting from a mix of cyclical and structural factors, and the refilling of orders to start year can be a good sign as long as consumption supports orders.”