Italian Wine and the Eurasian World: A Real Challenge for the Future

An article by: Andrea Andreoli

Wine and exports: Paolo Castelletti, CEO of Unione Italiana Vini, details the opportunities associated with commercial relationships linking Italian companies and the Eurasian world. An open window to the future.

The Euro-Asian bloc implies just under 120 million liters of exports in 2022, with a ten-year growth of 45%, worth just under 360 million euros, which is 126% higher for the same period. Top-ranked both in terms of volume and value of exports we find Russia (about 50% of the total bloc volume) with a volume increase of 10% and the value up about 75%. Just below Russia are two Baltic republics: Latvia (20% share) and Lithuania (over 10%), with triple-digit value growth, also aided by product triangulation towards Russia (primarily Asti but also Prosecco).

Despite a decline in 2022 caused by the war, Ukraine remains in a very positive position, ranking fourth in both volume (12 million liters) and value (35 million euros). The fifth spot is taken by the third Baltic republic, Estonia, with triple-digit growth over the decade and a share of over 5%. Belarus and Kazakhstan represent the last two destinations with volumes exceeding one million liters, but in terms of cargo turnover, the Asian state is worth more than 5 million euros (+123%) compared to 4.6 for Minsk (+442%).

Next is the Caucasus region, with Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia where the total turnover is about 3 million euros, with the most significant growth recorded in Armenia (+223%). Last on the list is Kyrgyzstan with nearly amateur volumes and values, just over 160,000 euros.

Asian Bloc

The Asian bloc represents 101 million liters worth 522 million euros – both figures are on the rise, however, with a much bigger push in terms of value (+71% vs. +10% in volume). The first country overall is Japan – the most mature market in the region, with 45% of volume and 38% of total sales in Asia. The second place belongs to China, which, however, is on a sharp decline in 2022, –30%). The share of Dragon wine is 110 million euros, which is 47% more than in 2012. It is followed by South Korea with a share of approximately 14% in value terms, where over the decade, also thanks to the free trade agreements signed with the EU, there has been an increase in both volume (+150%, 11 million liters) and especially value that rocketed to 73 million euros with an increase of more than 300%. In terms of volume, the fourth spot is occupied by Vietnam, 5.6 million liters and 10%, while in terms of value, Hong Kong’s position shows about 27 million euros (+8 %) and 5% shares, which is half a point higher than Vietnam. Hong Kong in terms of volume falls to the seventh position, giving way to Thailand (share of 3.5% and 32% growth) and Taiwan. Singapore is in eighth position in volume (a share of just over 2% and +18% in ten years), followed by the Philippines (+90%), India (+220%), Malaysia, and Indonesia, the latter two with a share of just under 1% and volume less than one million liters. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that small Malaysia has a higher turnover in value than India (5.7 million euros compared to 5, the same turnover as Indonesia). Surpassing the 20-million mark, in addition to Hong Kong and Vietnam, we find three countries: Thailand (about +200% and 5% share, as in Vietnam), Singapore (+87%), and Taiwan (+240%).

According to Paolo Castelletti (picturted), Secretary General of Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), “Overall, both European and Asian regions represent a large part of the future for Italian wine exports. In particular, the decade-long trends show that trade relations with the Euro-Asian bloc, less geopolitical tensions, have picked up, with the growth rate (+126%) twice the global export average. Notably, during the concerned period, almost all major Eurasian destinations – in some cases real customs hubs in the direction of Russia – have grown by triple digits, and despite this, they still show significant growth potential, primarily in terms of the desired increase in demand for mid-range products, with subsequent increase in the average price that is still too low. Finally, this is an area where Italy is clearly ahead of France, whose export volume is less than one-third of that of this beautiful country.”

“The Asian region can count on clinching fifth place outside the EU for Italian wine, but overall, the observed differences are less striking: +10% in volume and +71% in value. The reason for the slowdown is primarily related to the slowdown in demand in China in recent years, while the data on South Korea, Vietnam, as well as Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan are becoming more interesting; furthermore, they are all focused on the medium-high level. Overall, however, 522 million is not that much compared to the French competitor, which is six times better, worth almost 2.7 billion euros.”


Andrea Andreoli