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How Campanian wine can overcome the challenges of Brexit

At the preview of VitignoItalia in Naples, there was much discussion about the growing presence of Campanian wines overseas, and how Brexit has created issues for producers wishing to export to the UK.

Left to right: Giorgio Dell'Orefice, Nicola D'Auria, Maurizio Teti, Ferdinando Natali, Nicola Caputo, Gabriella Migliore and Luciano Pignataro.
Left to right: Giorgio Dell’Orefice, Nicola D’Auria, Maurizio Teti, Ferdinando Natali, Nicola Caputo, Gabriella Migliore and Luciano Pignataro.

According to data from Wine Monitor shown during the presentation, in 2021 wines from Campania constituted just 1% of the value of Italian wine exports, as opposed to Tuscany, which made up 16%, and Veneto, which had the biggest share at 35%.

However, the region is on an upwards trajectory. From 2016 to 2021, the value of exports of wine from Campania rose from €41.3million to €57.2m, a 38% rise (the value of exports from the whole of Italy only rose by 26% during this period).

As of last year, the four major international markets for Campanian wines are, in descending order: USA (30%), Germany (7.6%), Spain (7.4%), and the UK (6.8%). Giorgio dell’Orefice, an agricultural journalist speaking on the panel, noted: “There are new markets to focus on, like South Korea and Australia.”

Between 2016 and 2021, the value of exports of Campanian wine to the former rose by 58% for the latter and an astonishing 184% for the former. Of the five international markets for Campanian wine in particular that grew the most between 2016 and 2021, only one, Germany, is in the EU (78%).

When it came to discussion concerning the UK market, the spectre of Brexit loomed large – despite the growth of non-EU markets for the region’s wines. Gabriella Migliore, from Naples, worked in the private sector before joining the Italian Trade Commission in London to work on the Brexit desk.

Speaking to an international audience, she recounted how exporting wines to the UK had become “more difficult” because of the country’s departure from the European Union: “Some months ago, a winery from Campania called me to ask how to invest in the UK, and I asked what their experience with exporting to international markets was, and they said ‘France and Belgium’. I explained to them that in the EU it is not an exportation, but an exchange…the UK is a different country, and this makes a difference in terms of timing.”

Indeed, the issue of shipping delays was raised during db‘s recent discussion with Tuscan winemaker Brando Baccheschi Berti.

But, though there are logistical difficulties, Migliore was optimistic that Brexit would not cause trade ties between the two countries to irreparably deteriorate: “It’s still a very important market…relations between Italy and the UK are very old and very strong.”

Migliore commented that the UK press had written recently on the possibility of a UK trade deal that is similar to the one between the EU and Switzerland. However, there is still considerable debate within the UK Government and it will be a while before we see what exact trade arrangements are made.

Optimism for a future deal was not shared by everyone. One producer from Emilia-Romagna bluntly told db at the fair that Brexit had created a “nightmare”, forcing him to cease business in the UK. However, most of the producers present, mainly from Campania, still expressed a keen interest in the UK market.

The panel also discussed how Campania is developing into a destination for wine tourism.

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