Sparkling Wine International Market Structure and Competitiveness

Karim Marini Thome, University of Brasilia, UnB, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro

Vitoria A. Leal Paiva, University of Brasilia, UnB, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro

Sparkling wine, which is known as a celebratory beverage, and also as a lifestyle symbol, has a strong symbolic function (Velikova et al., 2016). The earliest mentions of sparkling wine production date back to 1531 at the Saint-Hilaire monastery in the South of France (Stevenson, 2003). The most famous, prestigious, expensive, and highest ranked sparkling wines come from Champagne (Epstein, 2011; Rokka, 2017).

The products of that area carry the denomination of origin, and are named as Champagne. Sekt, cava, crémant, and prosecco are familiar terms used to describe the different sparkling wines from outside the Champagne region, and these are becoming better known in the world. Furthermore, their consumption has been trending upwards due to the strong influence of Western culture, reflecting luxury fads (Epstein, 2011), the trend toward indulgence, and to differentiate the chosen wine in order to enhance the experience (Hannin et al., 2010; Mariani, Pomarici and Boatto, 2012).

The wine industry is a multibillion-dollar business engaged in world trade. In 2018, sparkling wine export figures rose to more than US$ 7 billion worldwide (ITC, 2020). France maintains its leadership in sparkling wine exports as a result of its specialisation in winemaking and attention to terroir (Zhao, 2005; Demossier, 2011). However, recent studies reveal changing dynamics in the sparkling wine market, whether due to new entrants (Basso, 2019), new consumers and new consumer behaviour (Castellini and Samoggia, 2018; Velikova et al., 2016; Lerro et al., 2020), or strategies for maintaining established markets (Rossetto and Gastaldello, 2018), resulting in a complex situation described, for example, by Pomarici (2016).

In addition, since the beginning of the 21st century, the sparkling wine trade has been growing and its structure has been undergoing changes due the new competitive market scenario (Mariani et al., 2012). However, just a few studies analyse the international wine market in a sectioned manner in countries (Anderson, 2018; Beluhova-Uzunova and Roychev, 2018; Corsi, Marinelli and Sottini, 2013) or sets of countries (Fleming, Mounter, Grant, Griffith and Villano, 2014; Lombardi, Dal Bianco, Freda, Caracciolo and Cembalo, 2016), and no study deals with international sparkling wines market.

Thus, this paper fills that lack of studies by analyse the sparkling wine market regarding its: (1) international competitiveness; and (2) international market structure.


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