The online wine market in Italy and abroad: a world to explore

Marco Magnocavallo, Founder of Tannico | October 6th, 2016

When talking about online wine sales, many people tend to label them as a niche, but is it really such a small segment?

Here is some overall data:

• Italian wineries are more than 100,000;
• The Italian wine industry is valued nearly 10 billion euros;
• Over 10% of sales consists of wine that costs more than 7 euros – the one you usually buy in wine shops;
• More than 1 million Italians drink expensive wine;
• The international wine industry is valued 250 billion euros.

This little data is enough to understand that wine is not a niche but rather, in Italy as well as in Europe, a huge market and a still largely unexplored online channel, one that will surely grow in the years to come.

But then why is the penetration of online wine sales in Italy so low if compared to other European countries like France and UK? (Indeed it only amounts to 0.5% of the whole industry).

First of all, the growth of online sales has started later in Italy than in the other European countries. We have dragged this delay for years but we are now slowly catching up in all product categories. Indeed, Italian e-commerce has increased by 16% in 2015, according to a well-known research by the Observatory of the University Politecnico in Milan. A second reason is definitely linked to traditional Italian customs. We are used to buying wine directly from the producer’s cellar – though this is less and less true for younger generation. Finally, there is one more point to make, one that seems difficult to explain: when talking to people or interviewing them we are often asked, “can you really buy wine online?”. Yes, you can buy wine online! It is more convenient, there is a wider choice and you do not have to break your back carrying heavy boxes.

These are the reasons why, nearly four years ago, I decided to found Tannico with the twofold objective of becoming the dream wine shop for all wine lovers and to position ourselves in Europe and in the world as the benchmark for the Italian wine offer. We have therefore chosen, back in the early years, to build the most complete catalog of Italian wines, and today we have more than 6,000 wines from 1,400 different wineries. It has been for us a commercial, editorial and selective effort, but it has enabled us to finally have a position in the Italian marketplace and especially in the European industry, where the offer of good Italian wine is extremely limited.

Thanks to the 3.8 million euros new round of investment that we have received by P101 Fund along with several private investors, we are now ready to extend our business internationally. We started in September with a warehouse in North London, which allows us to serve UK customers with next day delivery. But that is not all: in the next few months Tannico will bring the excellence of Italian wine to France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium.

A tiring but exciting path of growth that will help Italian products to find new distribution channels with an enormous potential.