27th June, 2014 by Tom Bruce Gardyne
While Prosecco sales in the UK continue to grow, the demand for Italian Pinot Grigio is starting to slide.
“Prosecco’s obviously the big trend this year said Jane Hunt MW, organiser of the Definitive Italian tasting in London yesterday (June 25th).
Dermot Magee, representing Fratelli Martini, who own the Canti brand, agreed, but wondered if the wine’s success – 30 million bottles and counting, was at the expense of Pinot Grigio.
“Are the weekly Pinot Grigio treaters now spending a pound more to drink Prosecco?” he asked.
At Continental Food & Wine, one of 59 exhibitors present, wine development manager Nck Tatham MW said: “If Italy’s [still wine] volumes are down 10% according to Nielsen’s second quarter figures, then by definition Pinot Grigio’s down.”
Others mentioned the fact there have been fewer aggressive price promotions than last year, and that non-Italian Pinot Grigio was stealing volume share. While Boutinot’s Tony Brown MW felt sales of entry-level Pinot Grigio had been hit by price rises in 2001/12, and were being absorbed by Spain and South Africa. He believes there’s still scope for an Italian red to ‘do a Pinot Grigio’ – “a wine that’s not oaky and jammy or too thin – a wine full of fresh red fruit. I’m biased, but I would have to say Barbera.”
Overall attendance was put at around 430 guests, the same as 2012, with 44 exhibiting companies as per last year. Once again the separate ‘Italian Journey’ tasting proved popular – where exhibitors each submit one wine retailing at over £7.50 and made from a native Italian grape.
Hunt said that the tasting – now in its 16th year – had been launched due to complete lack of collaborative promotion for Italy’s vinous diversity, quality and individuality.
“Italy’s wine offer in terms of diversity, quality and individuality is second to none, yet Italy’s inability to fund and work together nationally to promote its wines is also second to none,” she said.