“Le Macchiole is a ‘niche production’ with 150,000 bottles in total. This global recession is lightly affecting us in several markets.”

Consumer awareness

San Felice general manager Alessandro Marchione, says: “Consumers have a healthier lifestyle and are more aware of not drinking wines with a high level of alcohol. It does not mean that there is a low-alcohol wines trend but an awareness of the content. Wines over 14.5% might be a bit scary.”

All grape varieties grown on the Tenuta degli Dei estate, near Panzano in Chianti, are of French origin: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Alicante Bouschet. Owner Tommaso Cavalli says: “As for the wine style, due to the increase of global wine production, the focus is to shift to wines capable of expressing the typicity and tradition of their territory, especially if they belong to established DOCG, like Brunello di Montalcino.

“After years of heavy concentration and full-bodied structures, connoisseurs’ palates are more oriented to elegant, lighter and food-friendly wines. 

“There is a necessary return to the care of the vines instead of the recent efforts in manipulating the product for commercial reasons and to please the standards of the most influential international trade press. Organic winegrowing, at different degrees, is getting more successful as it maintains the health of the soil and longevity of the plants. 

“The weather and the seasons are the most critical factors in wine growing, as standard quality strictly depends on that. As for international export, market shares of traditional producing countries (such as France, Italy and Spain) are inevitably reducing because of the quality of wine production in many emerging countries, such as China, Brazil and India, and the consequent regionalisation of consumption (local wine and local food supported by regional media and globally spreading).

Diego Bonato, general manager and winemaker of Tolaini, says: “They love Sangiovese but also Super-Tuscan wines, so wine made from a blend of Sangiovese and international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet.

“Buyers are not seeking a particular kind of planting but they like round wines, balanced with a touch of oak but well integrated with a good structure and soft tannins.

“Of course, I’m talking about red wines as, when I think of Tuscany, I think only about red wines,” says Bonato.

“The global recession is one thing and the exchange rates are very bad for export now. Also the regulation and the custom tax in countries such as China and Brazil, are too high. Our government is doing nothing to help the export-oriented producer,” he says.

“We also have to consider that globalisation made the market more competitive and so every producer is required to fight with all the world in terms of quality, price and brand image. Not all producers are prepared enough to deal with it. This is another cause of the bad economic situation we are in now,” concludes Bonato.