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Who are the Brunello lovers?

Why do French wines have higher prices and a higher prestige than ours? How wide is the range? Who are the Brunello lovers in Italy and in the USA?

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Benvenuto-Brunello-2019–Nomisma-survey -on-Brunello-lovers

During  Benvenuto  Brunello, Luciano Ferraro the journalist, presented a survey by Nomisma-WineMonitor regarding prices, markets, and sentiments with respect to French and Italian wines. They used as a comparison method bottles of red wine. To understand the motive for the gap is difficult because the range between the prices is big, and seems to get even bigger, even though in the opinion of the specialized press, and of the best wine critics in the world, it is the other way round.


As I said the Nomisma-WineMonitor study concentrates on bottled red wines, those for which Tuscany is famous all over the world. Let’s start from something already known: at a national level 40% of our expert, equal to 2,5 billion Euros, regards bottles of red and of this number more than half is made up of DOP wines. The problem is that their journey towards success gets slower and slower.

In the last 5 years the increase in exporting of Italian bottled red wine has grown in value by 7% while that of the French counterparts jumped up by 56%. In China they export wine for 686 million Euro and us only 61. If we then look at Hong Kong it’s time to cry: they export 371 million and us 16.


Benvenuto-Brunello-2019–Nomisma-survey -on-Brunello-lovers

Looking at average prices for export of bottled red wines the situation is less dramatic: France 6,09 € per litre, Italy  4,64€. But it is at the high end that this range widens: Burgundy 25,54€ Bordeaux 12,05€ Tuscany 6,89€. It seems that Piedmont is better off with an average price per litre of  9,12€.

This situation is not good for the Tuscan reds, and looking at exports from 2015 to 2017 business has decreased from 552 billion of euro to 427. Veneto and Piedmont have slowed down but they have bubbles like Prosecco and those from the Langhe, while in Tuscany we are not strong on sparkling so we have had a bigger drawback.

Fortunately Switzerland buys the most expensive wines, with respect to any other market and has in fact an average price for importation of 12€ per litre which is very low compared to what it pays for Bordeaux  (29,49€) and Burgundies (54,5€) but it is however much more than in the UK where our bottles arrive at 4,5€.


Alfredo-Tesio-awards-the-Premio-Leccio-d’Oro-to-Hedonism-wine -store-from London

Certainly within the galaxy of bottled red wines Brunello is its own thing with a high perception on behalf of consumers for its intrinsic quality (35%) its status symbol character that expresses luxury (25%) and the fact that it is among the classics of tradition (21%).

It is consequently a wine for great occasions and not for everyday use, except for millionaires. And even among “Brunello lovers” only 12% open up a bottle 2-3 times a month, while the majority (31,8%) open just one per year.  However there is still 5,5% of Italian consumers who have never heard about it.

The profile of the Brunello consumers that they have a degree, they earn more than 2.500€ per month, they live in central Italy and are aged between 36 and 51. Men in 44% cases, buy 43 % of consumers of Brunello are women, something that fills me with joy.


In the perception of the USA consumer or rather in that of him who buys wine in the biggest market in the world, Italian wine represents tradition, fun, and conviviality.  French wine is seen to be more creative and exclusive.

Still in the US and concentrating on the attention regarding Brunello and the consumer who quotes Brunello thinking of fine wines, we see that a Millennial with higher education lives in New York-New Jersey and has in his pockets the first earnings but most of all he has likely been to Italy during the last 12 months.

Finally our Brunello lover feels wine to be an element of conviviality whilst eating out at a restaurant, taking part in wine tastings or events. He explores the National and International wine panorama. He prefers organic wines and uses internet to get information but also to buy.


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