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Italian fine wines see ‘historic’ demand in 2020

New figures from Liv-ex have cemented the notion that Italy is very much in fashion among fine wine collectors and merchants.

From Super Tuscans to the patchwork vineyards of Piedmont, trading in Italian fine wines has risen by 70% in value on Liv-ex in the first seven months of 2020.

‘Just this morning, the value of Italian wine trade in 2020 surpassed the whole of 2019, and volume is soon to follow,’ said the group on 25 August.

The ‘historic’ growth on the secondary market has been led by trading in the 2013 vintage of Giacomo Conterno’s lauded Monfortino Barolo Riserva.

In second place was Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia 2017 from Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast.

Liv-ex noted that 2020 has been unusual in that Piedmont has broken the dominance of Super Tuscan labels in terms of trades by value on its platform.

Several merchants in the UK and US have previously told Decanter that Piedmont in general has benefited from a run of strong vintages, culminating in the release of the highly anticipated Barolo 2016 wines this year.

Although some of the very top Piedmont wines already have high prices – partially a result of small production – Italy is also considered to offer interesting value options for collectors when compared to a number of fine wines in other regions.

UK-based merchant BI Fine Wine & Spirits said in its recent second-quarter report that Italian wines ‘remained healthy’, despite the economic uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also noted ‘a greater interest in the 2017 Tuscan vintage (which is good but not excellent) than we would have seen with an equivalent vintage a couple of years ago’.

While Italy has so far avoided the 25% US import tariffs imposed in October 2019 on some other European wines, including much of Bordeaux and Burgundy, merchants and analysts argue that the country’s fine wines were already commanding more attention from savvy collectors.

However, the picture was less rosy for Italian wines overall. Farming union Coldiretti said recently that Italian wine exports were falling ‘for the first time in 30 years’.

Exports were down by 4% for the first five months of 2020, mainly due to the loss of restaurant orders during the Covid-19 pandemic, it said

Around four out of every 10 Italian wineries were ‘experiencing difficulties’, said Coldiretti president Ettore Prandini.

Look out for the Bolgheri 2017 vintage report on Decanter Premium. 

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