the forecasts were good, but now the numbers confirm this. The 2021 vintage was particularly positive for the Asti wine world which achieves many “pluses” and some production goals that are not at all obvious in times of pandemic.
Let’s start with the bubbles. Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti have broken through the ceiling of the 100 million bottles produced. Together they reached 102 million, with an increase of 11% compared to 2020. The double-digit growth is valid for both types: Moscato d’Asti marks a + 10%, Asti Spumante, which in recent years it had struggled to hold its own, grew by 12 per cent. It is a success that is good for the whole supply chain: thousands of farmers who take care of 10 thousand hectares of vineyards in the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, over 1000 realities that produce and bottle, from small companies to large sparkling wine houses to cooperative cellars.
The turnover is around 400 million euros. A nice contribution to the Italian sparkling wine sector which, according to Coldiretti, in 2021, exceeded one billion bottles for the first time.
The producers of still reds, rosés and whites also celebrate. To give the numbers in this case is the Consortium of Barbera and Monferrato Wines which protects 9 Doc (Albugnano, Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato, Dolcetto d’Asti, Freisa d’Asti, Grignolino, Loazzolo, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Monferrato, Piedmont) and 4 Docg (Barbera d’Asti, Nizza, Ruchè, Terre Alfieri). The sum of the annual production is 65 million bottles. Within the Barbera world, which totals 20 million, the Superiore typology exceeds 5 million (+ 5.6%) and Nizza scores a + 13 percent: there are over 700 thousand “top of the range” bottles“, With average prices around 20 euros. “It is a result that goes beyond our wildest expectations also because, due to Covid, we have had an almost total blockage of supplies to hotels and restaurants for many months”, he underlines Stefano Chiarlo, president of the Nice producers’ association which gathers about 70 of the 90 wineries promoting the DOCG. Half of the production is exported to about forty countries in the world: “Nizza is depopulated in the USA and there are American or Northern European entrepreneurs who buy the vineyards in our area”, adds Chiarlo, who is also vice president of the Barbera Consortium together with Lorenzo Giordano. Ruchè is also trendy in Italy, Asia and the USA. “A special year has ended for us, the milestone of one million bottles is finally a reality”, he underlines Luca Ferraris, president of the Association which represents about thirty wineries including producers and some bottlers. The «little» Albugnano has exceeded 60 thousand bottles, + 18 percent on 2020. It was born in the Terra dei Santi, from selected Nebbiolo vineyards cultivated between Albugnano, Pino d’Asti, Castelnuovo Don Bosco and Passserano Marmorito. «The strength of the team has allowed us to achieve goals that are not even imaginable – he notes Andrea Pirollo, president of the 549 Association born in 2017 – we must try to grow by safeguarding this territory which is also unique for its biodiversity. We are a stone’s throw from Turin and this enclave of ours with vineyards nestled between a territory of woods and pastures is something special ». In the final balance drawn up by the Consortium stands the + 142% achieved by Piedmont Rosato (1.5 million bottles) which is especially popular with the Chinese and + 42% by Piedmont Rosso which reaches 2.4 million bottles (from Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Freisa and Croatina). The refined Viognier, a very popular white grape variety in France, is also finding new admirers on the Piedmontese market and beyond: with 142,000 bottles produced, it leaps by + 190% compared to 2020. The performance of Monferrato Nebbiolo is even more extraordinary: 200 thousand bottles, 313% more. “Despite the difficult global context, our Consortium is growing in terms of numbers and, above all, qualitative – concludes the president Filippo Mobrici – this means that not only the professionalism pays, but the ability that our producers have had to invest in the territory, making themselves ambassadors of these wonderful Unesco lands ». –