Italy: Organization of trade

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Italy’s wine trade resembles those of its European neighbours in terms of a division of labour between individual properties, commercial and négociant houses, and co-operative wineries. What distinguishes Italy is the overwhelming importance of the latter two categories, a dominance which is the direct result of the extreme fractioning of vineyard property with individual holdings averaging just 1.8 ha/4.45 acres. Middlemen for the marketing of the wines, be they négociants or co-operatives, are thus indispensable links in the distribution chain which connects growers to consumers. Private estates of a certain size are an important reality in Tuscany, Puglia, and Sicily, and, to a lesser extent, in Friuli, while the development of a significant number of prestigious small ‘domaines’ in the finest zones of Piemonte might be considered a riposte to burgundy.