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13 July 2021

Wine and catering: signs of optimism for out of home consumption

Whether chosen à la carte or recommended by a sommelier, wines in restaurants should always be on the table, even after the pandemic. Nevertheless, it will take time to return to 2019 levels. This emerged during the Catering and Wine webinar: a successful report for the "restart" test organized by Vinitaly and Fipe, with the involvement of Corriere Vinicolo, which highlighted the first signs of optimism for out of home consumption, starting with catering and strong bonds with quality Italian wine.

Analysis by the Federation of Public Premises based on Tradelab data indicates that partial reopening even in the evening in May saw consumption rise by 90% (to 4.1 billion euros) compared to the previous month, with peaks of 221% for the restaurant segment and 375% for premises serving aperitifs. Nonetheless, the deputy director general of Fipe, Luciano Sbraga, suggests that there is still a long road ahead: "Values posted in May are still 30% lower than for the same period in 2019 and operators remain convinced that pre-pandemic levels will only be reached around 2023. Having said this," Sbraga went on, "85% of bar and restaurant managers are confident that, once the pandemic is over, they will be able to return to their profession, even though just over half believe that their work has by now changed forever." And if the catering/wine matching proudly raises its head after the lockdowns, Covid has in any case left a trail in historical business relationships: today, one in four wholesalers wants to be paid for before delivery and of these the most evident supplies requiring immediate payment are precisely wines and sparkling wines (59%). According to the Manager of the Italian Wine Union (UIV) Observatory, Carlo Flamini, the summer season promises to be positive for sales on the Italian domestic market but the return to pre-pandemic values in the horeca segment is not expected to be achieved this year. Despite the increase in on-trade is estimated to improve compared to 2020 (+19%), the gap at the end of the year compared to 2019 will still be -26%. UIV suggests that the catering sector is still burdened by about half a billion euros of debts towards supplier wine cellars.

The event moderated by Giulio Somma of "Il Corriere Vinicolo", whose round table was attended by producers (Francesca Argiolas, Cantine Argiolas and Antonio Rallo, Donnafugata) and restaurateurs (Lorenzo Lisi, Ristorante Da Pierluigi - Rome and Nadia Pasquali, Ristorante alla Borsa - Valeggio sul Mincio, Verona) was an occasion for comparisons to think up new forms of collaboration between these two worlds with the aim of enhancing "Made in Italy" and strengthening supply chain relationships.