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Economic and structural aspects of vitiviniculture in Sicily

  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2008
  • Tipologia: eedings
  • Parole Chiave: wine market, Sicily, vitiviniculture
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World wine market is among the most dynamic in the agro-food sector and in the last few years it has undergone deep changes concerning production, consumption and trade. The growing presence of new wine-producing countries and the reform of the vitivinicultural Common Market Organization (CMO) have strongly contributed to the changes occurred in this sector. Accounting for 49% of world wine supply, Italy, France and Spain are the three main wine producers in the world. Italian situation is characterised by few wine-producing regions which altogether represent the major part of cultivated areas and wine production. In this scenario Sicily, according to 2004 ISTAT data, is the Italian region with the largest area destined to vineyards (over 135,000 hectares, correspondent to 17.6% of national grape area), followed by Puglia (14.3%) and Veneto (10%). In terms of wine production, Sicilian supply represents around 13% of national total, after Veneto (16.6%) and Puglia (14.3%). Vitiviniculture is mainly concentrated in western part of Sicily with a prevalence of white on red wines, both of them mainly originated from autochthonous vines, although international varieties are also quite common. At present, notwithstanding a general reduction of grapes yields in favour of quality, wine production in Sicily is still mainly represented by ordinary table wines and grape musts, so that this region is predominantly considered a raw material supplier to Italian and foreign industries. Both DCO and DOCG wines have a small incidence (around 3%) in terms of wine regional production, even though the former are quite well represented (21). As to productive structure there are lots of “wine growers’ cooperatives”, which sell their production mainly for distillation or as loose wine in Northern Italy or abroad, with a consequent loss of value added. There is also a group of small and medium farms which, although they have started a process of wine quality improvement, run into difficulties when trying to find new markets for their product. In the end, there is a restricted number of leading farms, strongly oriented to product and process innovation and to marketing, and successful in placing their wines in a medium-high segment of national and international markets.