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Among the importers of Italian wine in the United States, Nicola Angiuli is one of the most influential. In 1999, with Alessandro Francoli, he founded Francoli USA and, since then, Angiuli has positioned some of the best Italian labels overseas, confirming, year after year, a prominent figure for wineries that want to enter the competitive US market.
In the interviews with “The Wolf Post”, Nicola Angiuli has always offered an objective, critical but also proactive point of view, the result of experience and the ability to look “beyond”. We asked him for a balance sheet in 2022 and what prospects for 2023.
With a pandemic “under control”, 2022 should have been the year of recovery for international trade. The conflict, which is still ongoing, has had and is having important consequences on the price front and on the difficulty of finding supplies. What has changed compared to our last interview on this front in the world of wine, in particular for Italian exports to the USA?
The most difficult challenge is given by the prices of raw materials, which, contrary to the forecasts of early 2022, have increased. The war between Russia and Ukraine also contributed to increasing energy costs, which affected both the prices of raw materials but also the production prices of the final product. Compared to our last interview, therefore, I would say that on the one hand the situation in terms of costs and availability of raw materials has worsened; on the other hand, there was an increase in demand for Made in Italy and we hope that this increase will soon coincide with an increase in the availability of raw materials.
The US market is confirmed as the most contested and the main market in the world, especially in the wine sector. How have Italian wines positioned themselves, according to your experience, in 2022 and which are the major competing nations?
In 2022, there was a recovery in the Italian wine market. Concerning the competition, several factors must be taken into account here: the Biden administration has removed the tariffs imposed by Trump on Spanish, French and German wines, tariffs that did not affect Italian wine and which, therefore, make these wines competitive again.
The United States, however, is confirmed as a wine producer and American wines are the main competitors of wines not only Italian, but European.
Our strong point is that Italy’s primacy in wine biodiversity is higher than the biodiversity found in the vineyards of its main competitors.
What is the budget for FRANCOLI USA for 2022 and what challenges for 2023?
2022 will be closed positively by both Francoli USA and other importers.
The challenges I see for 2023 are different. The first, in my opinion, is that the exchange rate will return in favor of the Euro, weakening the purchasing power of the Dollar because American interest rates will not rise further. I could also be wrong, I’m not an economist, indeed I hope I’m wrong because a strong dollar favors imports.
Another challenge concerns the shortage of raw materials. I sincerely hope that the producers in Italy have organized themselves in the meantime and that they have stocked up to avoid having to wait another months before receiving glass or corks. If not, this will be a problem. The biggest challenge will be that of inflation, not only in America, but also in the rest of the world.
In a broader view, despite the fact that it is difficult to make predictions in unstable times like the current ones, what forecasts for the export of Italian wine overseas for 2023?
My forecasts are optimistic: we have overcome the pandemic, we already know what to find raw materials. Of course, it is complicated, we are preparing for inflation and this means that both we and the producers can start preparing ourselves and not be caught off guard. If you prepare in time, 2023 can be a very good year, in which there will be a resurgence of wines such as Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Tuscan wines, Piedmontese wines. I am noticing that Americans are starting to know and appreciate Southern wines.
An Italian wine that this year has given you particular satisfaction and one on which you are aiming for 2023?
More than wine I would like to talk about spirits, because I am noticing a boom in Italian spirits, including Grappas. I would also add Vermouth to spirits, used a lot in Negroni, a trendy cocktail. If I had to choose a wine that is giving me satisfaction, I would say Susumaniello. In 2023, I would focus on Sagrantino with all the other great wines of Umbria.