Advertisement
 
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

The Associated Press In this Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 file photo the sun rises on the Villa Germaine vineyards of Ariccia, on the outskirts of Rome. Domestic wine consumption is currently at its lowest levels since Italy was unified as a nation in 1861, according to Coldiretti, Italy's main farmers' association.

Advertisement

Italian vintners look abroad as home sales slump

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - Updated: 6:57 AM

TORANO NUOVO, Italy (AP) -- It's harvest season at the family-run vintner Emidio Pepe in central Italy and workers are wading into the vineyards, hand-picking grapes and pressing them under their boots in giant wooden vats.

The seasonal ritual has brought together generations of rural communities. But the final product, the highly-rated Pecorino white, is now more likely to be enjoyed in New York or Beijing than in the local village of Torano Nuovo, in the Abruzzo region. That's because wine-drinking in Italy, one of the world's biggest producers, is hitting record lows, forcing many vintners to seek buyers abroad.

Consumption is at its weakest since Italy was unified as a country in 1861, according to Coldiretti, the main farmers' association. The most immediate cause has been the economic downturn, which has pinched incomes. But that has just accelerated what has been a decades-long slide in consumption.

Italians are expected to drink 40 liters (10.6 gallons) a head this year, down from 45 liters (11.9 gallons) before the financial crisis began in 2007 and just about a third of the 110 liters (29 gallons) seen in the 1970s, according to Assoenologi, the main enologists' association.

In the past 25 years, wine "has become a hedonistic product, which is not part of Italians' basic diet anymore," said Michele Fino, law professor and wine expert from the University of Gastronomic Studies in Pollenzo.

That leaves it more exposed to short-term fluctuations in economic conditions. The two-year recession was like "the flu that arrives when one's defenses are already low," Fino said.

Italians' change of attitude is going hand in hand with the increasing popularity of other, more casual alcoholic drinks -- above all, beer, particularly among the young. While the average Italian's consumption of wine is only a third of what it was in the 1970s, beer drinking has doubled.

"We like beer because it's more refreshing, lively, soft and lighter," said Francesco Rizzo, a 30-year-old hanging out with friends one night in Rome's Campo de' Fiori, one of Rome's nightlife hotspots where beer is a top choice.

With interest ebbing at home, more than 50 percent of Italian wine is currently exported, up from 28 percent in 2000. The biggest buyers are the United States and Germany.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Saturday, February 13, 2016

    Four face charges after fights at school
    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Concerns spark resignations
    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Officials express concern wage hike will hurt business
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Family begins endowment to help Make-A-Wish kids
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Donations lining up to help develop park in East End
    Monday, February 08, 2016

    GASD narrows superintendent field to three
    Friday, February 12, 2016

    Council plans to sell some foreclosures separately
    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Fonda, Fultonville face a deficit in the sewer budget
    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Gloversville man charged with murdering his wife
    Thursday, February 11, 2016

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook