Commissioned by ProWein - the leading trade fair for the international wine and spirits industry - late 2021 saw Geisenheim University survey experts representing the entire wine supply chain from 48 countries for the fifth time now. Following the sharp downturn in the wine trade caused by Covid, the industry has recovered significantly and is looking positively to the future.
The report examines whether the importance of sustainability has changed during the pandemic and what specific sustainability
measures the wine sector has already implemented. According to Prof. Simone Loose, Head of the Department of Wine and Beverage Business Research at Geisenheim University, "the industry faces a trifold challenge. It has to adapt to climate change, become sustainable and convince customers of this in a credible way. This will only be possible if the industry joins forces and when the whole chain of wine producers, wine trade and gastronomy credibly act and communicate sustainability."
THE MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGES
Economic climate better than expected
The wine sector is doing better in 2021 than in the previous year 2020. International wine trade has recovered significantly, and the industry is optimistic about the post-Covid-19 period.
Players face different challenges
Supply chain congestion and price increase are acutely the main challenges for the whole industry. Beyond that, players differ in the challenges they face. Hotels and restaurants, as well as specialty wine retailers, are still suffering from Covid-19 sales restrictions. Climate change and stronger environmental regulations paired with concurrent lower profitability face wine producers with major challenges.
Organically certified viticulture has paved the way for sustainability. It is already widespread with strong regional differences due to climate. Spain, France and Italy lead the way, while Germany's moist summers make organic viticulture difficult.
Measures taken for sustainability
The importance of sustainability remains high, and stakeholders are actively implementing measures to improve it. In the wine trade, support for producers through listing and marketing of sustainable products can still be expanded.
Further development of organic viticulture demanded
Sales to direct customers could be increased for 44% of wine producers – specifically through special offers with discounts (46%) and increased customer activation via newsletters (40%). Every fourth wine producer tried to profit from the sales increases in the food trade and online trade by negotiating new listings there.
A strong standard is demanded
The industry is calling for a uniform, strong and credible standard on sustainability that can be communicated convincingly and credibly to consumers.