“A bitter surprise, demonstration of the ignorance in good faith of the people, who at the beginning of the pandemic did not understand how the virus spreads”. To speak is Mauro Facchin, owner of the Ca ‘del Colle di Vo’ Euganeo winery, who a year ago had the bottles sent back to a customer “for fear that the wine was infected” and therefore capable of transmitting Covid-19. The small town of Vo ‘, a little more than three thousand souls a little less than 30 kilometers from Padua, suddenly ended up on the front pages of all the newspapers last February 21 when – simultaneously with the’ patient 1 ‘of Codogno – they came confirmed the first cases of coronavirus in Italy in the Veneto municipality. Hence the initial fear of the winery’s customers, which was followed by the first lockdowns applied on a European scale that forced many companies in the area to stop. An atmosphere of uncertainty that convinced Facchin to set up a wine distribution channel that could replace, at least in part, the orders canceled from closed hotels and restaurants. “One year after the pandemic it is not clear how it will end, but there is no lack of enthusiasm”.
The wine sent back to the cellar
Together with his brother Alessandro, who is also riding the farm with two generations behind him and which today has 18 hectares of land in the Euganean Hills, Facchin is dedicated to the production of the typical vines of the area “such as Fior d’Arancio (wine Docg from the province of Padua, ed) “, but also Serprino,” a sparkling white wine for aperitifs on which we focus a lot “, in addition to the famous Prosecco, a must in this corner of the Northeast. A company that lives above all on supplies to hotels and restaurants, as well as on a good reputation on the foreign market, with an export channel that absorbs about 20% of annual production. But when the wine started to go back “we fell from the clouds and we began to seriously worry about our future”, remembers today Facchin, interviewed by Alberto Pezzella by Treviso Today.
The second wave and the interrupted recovery
“Then the authorities clarified that the wine was not infected even if it came from Vo ‘, and then work began again”. With the national lockdown imposed last March, “we reinvented ourselves with home delivery”, continues the story Facchin. A choice replicated by many producers and retailers of the most disparate goods, from books to food, passing precisely through wine. When the first wave ended “with the reopening of hotels and restaurants, we started to work well again”. “In the summer months we were really happy, we recorded a higher turnover than the previous summer”. But with the autumn came the second wave and “unfortunately the market stopped again”. “Home delivery continues to work, even if the novelty effect is less felt”, which at the beginning of the crisis pushed many people to order bottles. “Perhaps there is less economic capacity”, speculates the entrepreneur. Summing up at the end of the year, “we have reached a total loss of 40%” compared to 2019.
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Waiting for a prospect
And the refreshments? “In total we received around 7-8 thousand euros”, explains Facchin. “They don’t hurt”, he says with a bitter smile, “but they are certainly not enough to recover the difference in turnover”, which in a normal year “can be estimated at around 150 thousand euros”. “Health comes before the economy”, emphasizes the entrepreneur, “but now there should be a slightly more decisive intervention by the institutions to give companies a future” because “for six months or a year it is possible to be patient and invent a different market, but what is missing is a certain future prospect “. Both at the European and at the local level, something could move with the funds for the recovery that certainly will not be able to ignore the wine sector. The EU is in fact the world’s largest wine producer, with an average production between 2014 and 2018 estimated at around 167 million hectoliters. The first aid to the sector has arrived in the summer months with the temporary authorization granted by the European Commission to operators in the supply chain to autonomously organize market measures, such as the planning of joint promotional activities or production planning. This measure was accompanied by an increase in the EU contribution to national support programs for the wine sector and the introduction of advance payments for distillation and storage in the event of a crisis.
Looking at the future
“We hope to have a ‘quiet’ summer”, Facchin hopes, perhaps thinking about the recovery of last year then abruptly interrupted by the resurgence of cases. But the strongest hope is that the vaccination plan will engage and that “by October-November most people have already been vaccinated”. “Surely it will be a 2021 still with some difficulties, but we hope to restart in 2022 with a normal year”, concludes Facchin.