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Italian wineries must take advantage of wine tourism, finds report

Published:  05 December, 2014

The small size of most Italian wineries means they are struggling to take advantage of wine tourism and professionalise - both of which are required in order to secure the industry's future, a new report says.

ItalySelf-sustaining: Italy’s vineyards must take greater advantage of tourismThe small size of most Italian producers is limiting how they can professionalise and their role in wine tourism.

Wine Monitor Nomismo's report into the Italian wine industry, carried out by Denis Pantini, analyses how individual regions are performing in terms of turnover and land values, while also assessing attitudes to farming life.

It shows that Italian wineries are turning over €6 million per annum on average, with the Veneto region proving most lucrative - its average sales were €14.5 million.

Across Italy, all of the wine producing areas have seen their return on equity drop significantly between 2009 and 2013. Brunello di Montalcino still has the strongest return on equity, although it too has fallen from 11.8% in 2009 to 5.8% in 2013. Asti has been badly affected by a poor performance all round in its local area, but return on equity fell from 5.9% to 15.9% in 2013.

Land values are grown most strongly in Sangiovese di Romagna, where they've risen by  14% to €40,000/ha. However, Alto Adige, where prices have held steady, has the most expensive land, at €600,000 to €1 million/ha. Barolo has seen prices plummet by 20%, falling to €230,000/ha.

However, land values and return on equity "don't always go in the same direction", the report says.  While Barolo saw return on equity go from 0% to 1.6%, its land values fell by 20%. The reverse was true in Sangiovese di Romagna, where return on equity fell from -2.1% to -6.8%, but land values rose by 14%.

Overall one in four Italian farmers grow vines, with 65% of vineyards located in areas that are difficult to farm - namely in hilly regions.  Agriculture is still regarded as a "second class" profession by the majority of young farmers - two thirds of those questioned as part of the survey agreed with this statement.

The report concludes saying that while wine can offer "wellbeing and sustainability" to rural areas, the small size of farms makes it difficult for farmers to take advantage of this.

In order to ensure sustainability, both in the supply chain and with producers, they must develop wine tourism and professionalise the industry in order to make it more competitive through access to credit and training among other factors, the report states.