Italian business lobby hails wine sales in Russia

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A strong distribution network has helped drive exports up despite trade restrictions

Italian wines have maintained a strong position in the Russian market thanks to the expertise of Russian distributors, the president of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce has said.

In an interview with RIA Novosti, Ferdinando Pelazzo stated that total exports from Italy to Russia dropped by roughly 75% since the introduction of Western sanctions, as half of all goods previously traded fell under the restrictions. Wine priced under €300 a bottle, however, was exempt and has remained one of the strong performers.

“Wine continues to be sold because there are large distributors in Russia who know Italy very well, who live in Italy and speak Italian better than the Italians themselves. They keep everything under control,” Pelazzo said.

Wine exports from Italy to Russia jumped by 16% last year compared to 2021, reaching a record €172 million, Italian association of agricultural producers Coldiretti reported in April. 

Russian distributors are excellent at selecting the best wines, and they even buy from small producers, Pelazzo said.

Among other goods not affected by the trade restrictions are footwear and fashion items, he added. Previously, many medium and small Italian producers were able to export to Russia. These companies are often family-run and lack the structure to handle all the details related to exporting, and sanctions have put them at risk, Pelazzo said. The focus of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce is to help maintain trade turnover in unsanctioned goods between Italy and Russia, he explained.

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