Dominique Génot, manager and winemaker at Caiarossa says: “The Asiatic market is important but, as far as we are concerned, China is not yet a big market. From what I have seen there, most Chinese consumers are more interested in famous brands than ‘boutique’ wines. 

“On the opposite, Japan is a more mature market where people – from the retailer to the consumer, are more educated about wines.

“The US is a leading export country but Europe is not to be left behind. The UK and Germany are very important too,” he says.

Indigenous focus

“In general, the focus is more and more on wines that are typical of their region of origin, so it means mainly made from indigenous grapes. Concerning the alcohol content, it doesn’t seem to be such an issue anymore: most people have understood that what is written on the label has little importance. What really matters is what you feel in your glass,” says Génot.

Alessandra Zambonin, communications manager at Zonin, which exports to the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, UK and Sweden, sees a growing demand for single varietals, more white wines and “a request for low alcohol wines at entry level”.

Monteverro sales and marketing manager Olympia Romba says: “We are well represented in the US and Canada but our main market remains Europe, with a special focus on German-speaking countries.

“When it comes to high-quality products you will always find a way to present your products on the market, be it a more traditional indigenous wine or an ‘international style’ wine such as ours. Generally speaking we noticed that the care not to interfere with terroir  – we only use indigenous yeast, natural fermentation – is usually very much appreciated by our client, as well as the fact that our wines are produced in small quantities. 

“It is nevertheless true that people are nowadays more aware of alcohol content and try to avoid too alcoholic wines,” she says.

Asked what types, styles of wines buyers and consumers are requesting, Romba says: “Back to nature. People tend to avoid the blockbuster style of wine to the advantage of more elegant and refined wines. Not too much extraction. There must be power but at the same time the wine must be the mirror of the place it comes from.”

She continues: “More and more competition from the New World producing countries, which produce at lower costs, are affecting the old traditional wine producers who want to stay competitive but guarantee their quality over the time. 

“The challenge is to increase the consumption in traditional markets or find new consumers, maybe in new markets where people are starting to discover wine –China, Vietnam etc.”

Cinzia Merli, owner of Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, about 100km from Florence and 5km from the sea, is moving towards becoming biodynamic. Exporting to 47 countries, she says: “The current global recession is definitely affecting even the wine world, leading to a higher request for cheaper wines.