ITALY – Santa Margherita, a historic Italian wine group, has announced the appointment of former Campari Group Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Andrea Conzonato as its new CEO. 

Conzonato, who holds a degree in electronic engineering from the University of Padua, began his professional career in the beauty department of Procter & Gamble. 

He later moved to the beverage sector, becoming first COO of San-Francisco based Campari North America in San Francisco and later the CMO of the Campari Group. 

The last decade saw him change industry once again when he joined British American Tobacco (BAT) as area director for Southern Europe and CEO of BAT Italia, before being nominated group head of sales, activations, and marketing solutions at BAT’s headquarters in London. 

Stefano Marzotto, president of the Santa Margherita Wine Group, said, “Our Group confirms its consolidated tradition in the management of its companies, with the introduction from outside of extremely experienced professionals alongside the family. We have chosen an executive who is a team player and who can bring an innovative vision to our sector.” 

Santa Margherita wine group has been one of the protagonists in the renaissance of Italian wine and its success around the world. 

The Torresella producer is active in almost 100 markets around the world, with a long-established presence in the US through its subsidiary Santa Margherita USA. 

Aside from import and distribution, Santa Margherita USA operates a recently purchased winery in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. 

Last year, the group reported a turnover of over €260 million, of which 73% was achieved in export markets. The top export markets were the US, Canada, and Germany.  

Downtrend in global wine production 

Conzonato joins the Italian wine producer at a time when global wine production is slowing down due to prolonged bad weather, including frost, heavy rainfall and drought, in major growing regions. 

According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), based on information from 29 countries – which account for 94% of global production – the amount of wine made in 2023 is believed to lie between 241.7mhl and 246.6mhl, with a mid-range estimate of 244.1mhl. 

This represents a 7% drop compared to the already below-average volume of 2022 and makes 2023 the smallest harvest since 1961. 

Giorgio Delgrosso, head of OIV’s statistical department, said, “This year’s much-reduced global harvest total is a reflection of extreme climatic conditions which have led to major declines in large wine-producing countries in both hemispheres – with only a few exceptions. 

Early frost, heavy rainfall, and drought have significantly impacted the output of the world’s vineyards,” he added. 

Though poor global production is bad for the industry overall, the OIV notes that falling global demand could mean the overall market remains relatively balanced – avoiding a drop in prices.