Exports of Italian wine to China have been drying up this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, seeing a nosedive of 44% in the first five months of the year, according to data released by Italy’s agricultural trade union Coldiretti.
The drop is the sharpest among its major export markets, where France and the UK saw a decline of 14% and 12%, respectively due to closures of restaurants and bars. Exports to Germany and the US in the meanwhile are stable, slipping only 1%, according to the trade union.
Overall, Italian wine exports so far have slumped 4%, the first time drop in 30 years, according to the association.
In China, different from the US or the UK where online wine sales boomed during lockdown, consumers tightened up wallet and avoided splurging on luxury items including wine.
In the second half of the year, China has largely returned to normal despite being the country where the virus first originated, while other countries are still struggling with slowing the virus spread.
Vinitaly has launched a roadshow across China to revive consumer interest in Italian wines ahead of their first Wine To Asia wine fair in Shenzhen this November. It remains to be seen if this will boost Italian wine sales in the market.
“With almost four out of 10 producers in difficulty after the (coronavirus) crisis, we must swiftly intervene to support exports, reduce costs and cumbersome administration,” said Coldiretti chairman Ettore Prandini.