Every economic crisis brings innovations as people test the limits of their imaginations to hold onto their businesses. The Italians get full marks on the creativity front (not surprisingly) with the floating of an idea that Italian banks should accept expensive wines as collateral on bank loans from crisis-hit producers. For this to work in India, the wines would need to be age worthy, expensive and with an obvious track record of appreciating in value. Shiv Singh reports.
Arguably, no wine in India fits that criteria as yet.
The Guardian newspaper is reporting that Gianni Zonin, chairman of the Banca Popolare di Vicenza and head wine producer Zonin (owning 10 estates across Italy) proposed the idea last week.
‘We’ve done it with cheese, so why not with good wines like Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico?’ he said. Being the Chairman of a bank and a notable wine producer makes the suggestion all the more natural for Zonin.
The Italian Agricultural Minster has supported the idea which would follow the tradition of Italian banks storing massive wheels of Parmesan cheese as loan collateral. For example, the Italian bank Credito Emiliano has long stored hundreds of thousands of Parmesan wheels in warehouses as collateral while they age.
Zonin also said, “Apart from meeting the need of companies for liquidity, this proposal also recognises that our true gold reserves are the excellent products we make in Italy.”
Most certainly an imaginative thought and given the value of high-end Italian wines and their likelihood of aging well, not a far fetched one. But here in India where we struggle with storage conditions at the retail level and watch wine producers release wines that are inconsistent devaluing their own product, the notion is still far from feasible. Nevertheless, the Italian scenario does point to the fact that the government, the bankers and the producers are coming together to help their local wine industry. We hope Sharad Pawar, our agriculture minister, the Indian banks and wine producers can collaborate in a similar fashion in the not too distant future.
Aspri Wines and Spirits in India imports Zonin wines into the country.