Sparkling wine calls the shots!

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Editor’s Note -

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

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