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WSTA marches on Rome

Published:  23 July, 2008

A UK wine trade delegation will travel to Italy later this year to try and convince regional representatives to back a generic Italian marketing campaign.

Italy, alone among the major producing nations, has little generic presence in the UK, despite being the fifth-largest importer in the UK off-trade and second in the on-trade. In recent years, however, its share has been slipping.

The delegation is a result of an Anglo-Italian meeting between the WSTA Italian Wines Committee and representatives from the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Federvini, the Italian Wine Union and the Italian Trade Commission head office in Rome. Pierpaolo Petrassi, chairman of the WSTA Italian Wines Committee, said: Meeting the Italian regional representatives face-to-face

may be the breakthrough we have been seeking for a

number of years.

One of the main problems in launching a generic campaign is that there is no central government funding for a UK campaign in 2005. The regions, however, do have money available, but according to a spokesperson from the WSTA, [they] spend it on sporadic and unfocused trade activity, which has failed to engender a positive image of "Brand Italy" with consumers'.

The spokesman added that although the Italian Trade Commission confirmed that an umbrella marketing concept called "Origine" was produced in 2003, this has so far struggled to gain acceptance from the regions'.

Petrassi added: The intense passion which the trade feels about the opportunities for Italian wines was evident during the meeting, given the pleas of Angela Mount and Jane Hunt MW. However, time and time again, discussions focused on the need for a generic campaign to inform consumers and reinforce the quality image of Italian wine.'

Following the meeting, both sides agreed that a meeting would take place later in the summer between representatives of the UK trade and all the Italian wine-producing regions - who would all have to work together and pull resources if a campaign is to get off the ground.