Sparkling wine calls the shots!
In a conversation with Progressive Grocer India, Domenico Scimone, General Manager at Carpenè Malvolti S.p.a, shares his views on how new trends and consumptions patterns are shaping the growth of sparkling wines.
Growing consumer inclination towards global brands and beverages with less alcohol content has turned out to be a great proposition for existing wine players and new entrants to play with innovative flavours and introduce finer qualities of wine in the country.
What are your views about the global wine industry? What is fueling the growth of wines globally?
At the moment, the wine market is more or less stable everywhere, globally. There is only one category that has continued to grow in the last three years and that is sparkling wine – thanks to their superior quality. In fact, the sparkling wine category is just eight per cent of the total wine production of the world.
The sparkling wine category includes champagne, white wine, cava, etc. The market for champagne is much more stable in terms of volume in the last three years. The second is the cava category, which is moving at a normal pace of five per cent. Today, the consumption of sparkling wine is not limited to occasions like ‘Thanksgiving’. Rather, developed taste preferences have made it a usual drink.
How is the Indian wine industry doing? What are your plans for the Indian market?
We entered the country seven years ago with Aspri Spirits as our distribution partners. I believe India is a potential country in all aspects to produce and also to understand consumption trends. However, at the moment, our winery is not planning to invest in the country; rather we are planning to strengthen our brand presence in the country.
Currently, we are present in around 65 countries across the globe. In Asian countries like India, our goal is to improve our distribution and positioning. The most important part of our plan is to position our Prosecco superior wine in India, which is our finest sparkling wine and we want to build a strong brand image and demand for it. Secondly, we would like to add new variants such as grappa and brandy to our distribution channel in India.
Which consumer segments are you targeting? How do you see the consumption patterns changing?
We are first looking to establish our Carpene Malvolti brand in India, which is a leading brand in the Prosecco category. Managed by the Carpene
family, the brand has a legacy of 145 years and is a leader in fine Prosecco wine.
Talking about the consumer segment, our sparkling wine is driven by millennials, female consumers and people who are keen to try something new. In fact, the ideal consumer of our product is within the age group of 25-45 years, even though there is no specific age for consuming Prosecco.
There has been an evident shift in the preferences and consumption patterns of the new generation wine lovers. Globally, people prefer slightly bitter wines as compared to the old sweet preference in countries like India, Japan, Hong-kong, etc. I think the new generation has developed a less sugary taste. However, women still prefer a more sugary taste in both sparkling and Steele wine.
What will be your strategy to compete in the Indian market?
At the moment, we are planning to improve our distribution and reach in the country. With respect to the other players in the wine market, we are a small enterprise; yet one of the major players in Prosecco superior category. So, we are very confident that with the support of our distribution partner we can attain the position as global players. Our strategy is to position it at premium price, as we ensure that we improve more and more in terms of quality and visibility in the premium segment. This is why we produce Prosecco superior with high quality grapes. I don’t see any competition for us in the Indian market.
How do you plan to grow your brand?
At Carpene Malvolti, we produce three different varities: prosecco superior, brandy and grappa. Usually we promote our products by spreading awareness about our wines and this creates a brand recognition among consumers. I believe our brand, in many countries, is synonymous with sparkling wine and meets the requirements of wine connoisseurs. In some countries the demand is more for grappa and brandy and in some countries the demand is more for prosecco superior.
We have a fair number of press offices in various countries like Canada, the USA, to reach out to the right consumers and meeting these goals aren’t very simple. We have worked in the past and continue with our endeavours to spread brand awareness around the world and strategize our actions depending on the region.
Which are the most revenue generating countries in terms of sales? Where do you see your brand in the years to come?
Currently, we are present in 65 countries and in all five continents. We are a small enterprise but the brand awareness is strong. In terms of revenue generation, about 45 per cent of the companies total turnover comes from Italy and France.
In terms of our export market, we are in a very good position in countries like Switzerland, which tops the list followed by the US, Canada, Australia, South America, Australia, and Asia. However, we need to improve our position in the Indian wine market. Over the next 10 years, we see India as a potential market for our sales and brand awareness.
How do you see the regulations in India?
In India, there is a complex situataion but we thank our distribution partners. In the three major cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore – the pricing of our brand is somewhere around Rs. 2000 - Rs. 2500. In fact, most premium brands would prefer these cities to introduce the product and gain maximum market share. About 65 per cent of premium wine and spirit consumption happens in these cities. The taxes and regulations do not impact our pricing.
In your opinion which are the trends shaping the future of sparkling wines?
In the last ten years, the international wine industry has been dominated by Steele wine, especially in regions like South Africa, Chile and Australia. But in the last five years, the new trend is for sparkling wine. The new generation is thought to consume more sparkling wines even if the growth of this category is just eight per cent of the total wine production.
Our focus over the next few years will be on Asian countries like India, China and Japan. I think there is ample opportunity for us to explore these markets. In fact, in the last ten years, I have observed a new trend in Asian countries in terms of brand recognition for Italian and French wines. The awareness in the Asian region has significantly grown and so has consumption, which is indeed interesting for wine producers.
Our focus over the next few years will be on Asian countries like India, China and Japan. I think there is ample opportunity for us to explore. — Domenico Scimone GM, Carpenè Malvolti