Organic wine, a lion’s 2016. Sparkling wine also grows, and likes bag-in-boxes


Extraordinary growth for organic wine, which definitely broke out of the niche in 2016 by establishing itself on the shelves with 25.7 percent sales growth. Sparkling wine also did well, while interest in wine packaged other than the classic 750ml glass bottle declined. With the exception of bag-in-box.

These are very positive figures, those contained in IRI’s report on the performance of wine sales in the large-scale retail trade (GDO), the leading sales channel for wine, with 505 million liters in 2016, worth 1.5 billion euros. The research will be presented at Vinitaly, in Verona April 9-12, 2017. But the anticipations deserve a toast.

Organic wine awarded

The report highlights the recovery of the domestic market, directed by the search for the best products. Organic wine is growing at an extraordinary rate, confirming Italian consumers’ appetite for organic, from fruits and vegetables to grains and processed products. Organic wine alone sold through large-scale retail outlets reached 2.5 million liters sold in 2016. Equal to a sales volume increase of 25.7 percent.

Bubbles a go-go

Sparkling wine also marks a very positive result. Not only in terms of sales. In 2016, the volumes purchased in supermarkets grew to 54 million liters, an increase of more than 7 percent, double that of the previous year. Also characterizing the trend is the seasonal adjustment of bubbles. A sign that sparkling wine is also chosen outside of festivities, as an aperitif or wine for munchies.

First the bottle, then the bag-in-box

The superiority of the classic 750ml glass bottle is unquestionable. Moreover, even in terms of wine storage, it has recently been confirmed as the ideal solution, in research conducted by the University of Eastern Piedmont.

Among packaging alternatives to glass, the convenient and lightweight bag-in-box continues to gain popularity. It conveyed 12 million liters of wine during 2016, a growth of 11.7 percent.

The bag-in-box exception is confirmed by the poor performance of other packaging. Brick is still falling (-2.5 percent) and all other formats are collapsing: -8.6 percent for packaged wine from 0.76 to 2 liters and 9.7 percent for formats other than these (all volume data).

Wines with designations of origin well

Sales and prices of appellation of origin wines grow, in the 0.75-liter glass bottle. Sales rose 2.7 percent in volume (224 million liters), and 4.4 percent in value. Better than 2015 (+1.9 percent).

Most purchased wines

The trio of the most purchased wines in Italy remains unassailable. Lambrusco marks +2.5 percent (13.1 million liters). Chianti follows: +4.9 and 12 million liters. In the DOCG version, Chianti is growing by 8.2 percent. Top of the denominations, with sales close to 10 million liters worth more than 45 million euros.

The “emerging” wines

Without undermining the leading trio, 4 wines are growing at a rate of more than 4 percent. They are Nero d’Avola (Sicily), Vermentino (Sardinia), Muller Thurgau and Gutturnio (Lombardy).

Among the “up-and-comers” are Ribolla Gialla (Friuli Venezia Giulia), Passerina (Marche), Valpolicella Ripasso (Veneto). Pignoletto (Emilia), Pecorino (Marche/Abruzzo) and Passerina (Marche) also did well.

It costs money to drink well

Good drinking has its price. The pursuit of quality and the election of the glass bottle are also reflected in price trends. Despite the leverage of promotions, which, however, has held steady at 50 percent for the past two years, says the IRI report, the values of wine sold continue to rise: 75cl denomination bottles have an average price of just under 5 euros (4.81 euros per liter).

The decline in alternative packaging to glass, on the other hand, affects the overall figure for packaged goods, which is -1 percent in volume and + 1.1 in value.