Giornale online di enogastronomia • Direttore Fabrizio Carrera
Il personaggio

Italian wines in The United States, boom will last

12 Aprile 2012


Leonardo Lo Cascio, the Italian- American founder of Winebow  talks about it

“Italy, the first Country in import in The United States considering the volume.

It’s also the only one able to communicate the territoriality through the own labels. Furthermore It has an advantage: it created a synergy between food and restaurant sector”.

Who talks is Leonardo Lo Cascio (in the picture above), the chairman, that means Chief of Administration Council, and the founder of Winebow, the most important company in wines import and distribution in The United States, it owns a client portfolio that  involves  ten brands, whose the most important is  Italian.
The company was founded in 1980 and nowadays has 535 employed and every year it bills 270 million dollars. Lo Cascio, who manages Italian Clients, has already left the position of CEO to Jon Moramarco.
The Chairman tell us how the wine consumption is changing during the last 30 years. “Pinot Grigio and Prosecco are the most appreciated wines- said Lo Cascio -the success of Pinot Grigio is a market need. In fact it’s a substitute of Chardonnay, loved by Americans, but it isn’t good paired with food. Right now It’s the moment of Prosecco: it has a niche that is becoming the cheap alternative to Champagne that is considered as a luxury good.
But white wines don’t have anymore the primacy in selling. During the last years the consumption of white wines exceeded and it was higher than red ones. Now red wine is very appreciated. The growth of wine knowledge was properly related to  sophistification taste.
The demand increase would be caused to the way of emulation of French life style, or as Lo Cascio says-  “The French paradox” that would determinate people taste change.
” I remember when I Started- continued Lo Cascio- few products were known from Italy, for example there were Chianti’s flasks  with straw around and Brunello was considered as esoteric beverage.
Nobody knew Vino Nobile of Montepulciano. Now  the situation is totally different and Italy was the first Country considering the rate of volume in The United States, followed by Australia”.
The increasing consumption of Italian products is helped by a quality decreasing of Australian wines. In fact, the consumers were tired to drink different wines with the same taste, and  they want to  looking for new experience in tasting.
“If we taste 50 Australian wines it will seem like drink 50  times the same wine. They don’t have any identity and it has increased a more frequent search of Italian wines, that express totally the diversity of territories and the peculiarity of native wines.
Deteminating factor for wine growth is represented by  restaurant sector, that creates a symbiosis with wine that is unique in the world. “Our restaurant sector is  unique  in the world-said Lo Cascio-  the French one is already old and it can’t create this synergy. Furthermore considering that  the population is increasing  of 2 %, that means almost 6 million of consumers per year, It would have  30-40 % of ‘pro capite ’ consumption. And it makes us  optimist”.
In Lo Cascio opinion the lack was  the weak support of  Institutions. And he stabs at Ice (Institute for international trade). “During last years this Body, in place of helping  the international trade, invalidates it .
It  was used to include every company, inviting every producer from each region. The result was a big waste of money and other damages for the companies that  created a minimum of trade.
It was used to create big caravans of winemakers. And finally the importers had to pay for wine tasting: the final setback!
 A certain market for Lo Cascio is the Fair. In fact he expresses his positive impression  of the last edition of Vinitaly, that appeared in increasing. “For us Vinitaly was always a great investment and a great appointment.
This year we brought more than 40 people, some of them in prize trip, while others came in order to let them know directly Italian wine world. They have to be able to recognize our reality, our producers, and they have to catch the differences from a typology  to another, for example from Chianti to Amarone.
I think It was a good idea starting the Fair on Sunday. And we would appreciate If It  would last one day more.

Maria Antonietta Pioppo

Translated by Maria Antonietta Pioppo