Expensive energy and raw material costs are also affecting Italian wine producers, who are now in a truly critical situation following Covid and the heavy repercussions on the entire Horeca supply chain and on the export front. From north to south, an alarm cry is heard from one of the leading sectors of Made in Italy.
In Piedmont, Marina Marcarino, president of the Albeis consortium, explains: “As a consortium set up to protect the historic Albeis bottle, the crisis of raw materials, especially glass, is certainly a topic that affects us. In recent years, we have tried to act with foresight, regulating the management of glass and its distribution, interfering with real production programs, which turned out to be fundamental in unexpected times. So far, the associated members of the Consortium have personally not experienced any major problems with restocking, despite the fact that this issue has had a strong impact on the entire Italian wine sector ”.
“However, when it comes to logistics, we have not faced any particular delays or difficulties so far, but in this aspect, as well as with regard to the energy crisis, there is still no certainty as to how the next months will be dealt with. As president of the Albeis consortium, I continue to support the development of this reality. The work done so far has received positive feedback with a membership increase of around 25%: the producers are in fact looking for the quality and sales guarantees that distinguish the Albeis bottle ”.
In Oltrepò Pavese, President Massimo Barbiere speaks on behalf of Cantina Sociale Torrevilla: “The energy and raw materials crisis is putting us to the test. I think I can speak for not only the Torrevilla winery, but all local producers. In fact, this crisis must be placed in the context of the social fabric and complex agricultural territory that has experienced periods of instability in recent years. In addition to this pre-existing situation, there is a crisis that has greatly destabilized the economy of the entire wine sector. Torrevilla’s current goal is to protect the work of producers and to have the necessary strength to continue to guarantee payments to its suppliers. However, the numbers are alarming: in fact, the bills have risen by 500%. We expect specific and quick responses from the competent authorities and institutions ”.
In Friuli Venezia Giulia, president of Consorzio Tutela Vini Collio, David Buzzinelli, says: “The raw materials crisis has hit us firsthand. At the beginning of the year, we experienced significant delays in bottle deliveries. Glass mills had serious difficulties in obtaining supplies of raw materials, which consequently suffered throughout the supply chain. Our members have found themselves in similar situations when it comes to the supply of labels for bottles, cartons and fertilizers ”.
“Many companies were therefore forced to postpone bottling, he continues, or to choose different bottle models than usual. Without delays, however, for corks which have not increased, if not in any case, the Consortium’s estimates clearly show that the increase in selling prices for wine bottles last year will not be sufficient to cover the costs of running supplies. ‘
Among the groups operating in this sector, the Tommasi family estate, present in Tuscany, Basilicata, Sicily, expresses concern at the words of Pierangelo Tommasi: “Concerns about the increase in energy costs are significant, given that the bill shows increases of around 300% between transport and production costs. . We, too, can count on the share of our own photovoltaic energy production, which at the moment in various companies of the group is worth one third of our needs, in order to become completely our own in the long run. sufficient “.
“The need to find concrete solutions therefore remains a priority for all players in the sector who look to the future and cannot see the certainties from an economic point of view. I am very worried because the purchasing power of families will be affected, ”he warns.
Mario Piccini is Managing Director of Piccini 1882, present in Tuscany, Basilicata, Sicily, Piedmont, trying to find solutions on the energy and logistics level: “At this delicate historical moment, the Piccini Group was quickly looking for solutions by allocating new Raw Materials. We accelerated our logistics interventions by creating a new automated warehouse that could increase the storage capacity of finished goods and materials. In addition, solar panels were installed at the Casole and Castellina in Chianti plants with energy efficiency in mind. The new plants with a total value of 1.7 million euros will be able to produce one million kilowatts per year. In particular, the historic site of Castellina in Chianti will be entirely electric and 50% of the energy needs will be generated by the new plant. “
Moving south in Calabria, Paolo Librandi, owner of the Librandi vineyard, declares: “The situation in the last months of this year has soared. We in no way thought that our economic activity would be so strong a blow and so sudden, resulting from geopolitical tensions and war at our fingertips. And yet it is so, and this premise becomes surprisingly necessary ”.
“Our perspective to act as citizens and entrepreneurs is necessarily limited. Simply put, in 2021 the costs of supplying our company with energy accounted for slightly more than 3% of the total production costs. If the situation continues, they will account for at least 20% of the total in 2023. Suddenly, we had to face seven times higher costs, planning on this basis for the immediate future of our basement. Fortunately, investments in renewable energy in recent years have allowed us to mitigate the impact of rising costs, but there are no definitive solutions in the near future. It becomes clear that the company will find itself in a situation that it has never experienced before, but that has suddenly arisen, ”she emphasizes.
“The only levers we have,” he explains, “are two at the moment: reducing consumption and increasing selling prices. In the first case, we are talking about reducing consumption, which is not strictly necessary, but we are talking about minimal filing. In the second case, the increase in sales prices must be well thought out so as not to lose competitiveness. The hope is that the situation on this scale will be resolved by mutual agreement between EU countries and their international partners, as it is objectively inconceivable that companies can find internal solutions to manage these problems on their own. The risk is that in some sectors it is no longer possible to stay in business, with obvious professional and professional repercussions. social “.
In Sicily, says Assovini CEO Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, “our companies face difficult times due to expensive bills that threaten to invalidate not only the recovery from Covidie that brought the first months of the year to life, but also to question the very continuity of many companies.” “Saving energy and reducing electricity consumption,” he adds, “may be an answer that is not always possible at the company level. What matters is finding buffer solutions in the short term and following the path of ecological transformation in the medium term with the utmost determination. ‘
“Due to a series of international unforeseen circumstances,” emphasizes Antonio Rallo, president of Consorzio di Tutela Vini Doc Sicilia, “we are going through a phase of general uncertainty. All our producers are experiencing significant consequences in a variety of ways: from rising prices to difficulties in finding raw materials needed for production, from poles and wires to new vineyard systems, to glass, cartons and screw caps, to an increase in giddy gas and electricity and fuel bills. The exponential rise in costs, on average by more than 50%, caused precisely by the energy and raw material tensions also caused by the war in Ukraine, is holding the wine world back ”.
“If, on the one hand, an increase in price lists seems inevitable for the survival of the supply chain, on the other hand, in this complex situation, we intend to support small wine producers and vineyards even more by constantly monitoring the trend and working with institutions to propose specific solutions that may stop their difficulties. ”He concludes.