Fresh fizz

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May 17, 2015 8:20 AM

After having gained ground in the India market, Casa Vinicola Zonin, a producer and exporter of some of the best Italian wines globally, is eyeing a bigger market share and hopes to export 5000-6000 cases by the end of 2015. By Rituparna Chatterjee

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After having gained ground in the India market, Casa Vinicola Zonin, a producer and exporter of some of the best Italian wines globally, is eyeing a bigger market share and hopes to export 5000-6000 cases by the end of 2015. By Rituparna Chatterjee

20150531eh10Located in Gambellara, Italy, Casa Vinicola Zonin is a wine company with a history of almost 200 years and spanning seven generations. The company is governed by a simple principle – each region has its own traditions, each region has its own wines – which is reflective in its wine for they represent their own specific areas and express their unique identities. The Zonin family has nine estates located in Italy’s seven famous wine-producing regions – Veneto, Friuli, Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia. The estates cover a total of over 4000 hectares of land, of which 2000 are planted with vines. A further 500 hectares, of which 90 are under vines, are at Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia, United States. In 1821 it was in the estates of the Zonin family that small-scale vine growers in Gambellara, started to produce wines. At the beginning of the 20th century, the company started to market the wines and since then have been exporting globally attaining a  significant  presence in more  than 100 markets. Presently, the US is its largest export market followed by UK, Germany and Australia.

Realising India’s growing demand for imported wines, the company entered this market in 2000 and in 2008 partnered with Aspri Spirits to distribute its specialty product – Zonin Prosecco, a sparkling varietal produced from the Prosecco grape native to the Veneto region. Speaking about its specialty product, Alessandro Guerini, export area manager, Casa Vinicola Zonin mentions, “Zonin Prosecco has shown the most potential in the India market. Its freshness is its USP. In the US we did an ‘Always Fresh’ campaign wherein we promoted the freshness of our Zonin Prosecco. Usually most of the wine companies that produce Prosecco keep it bottled for a year before they deliver it to the market, and because of this it loses its freshness. Whereas our technology allows us to keep it frozen, which is then defrosted, re-fermented, and bottled just before shipping it to the market.” The popularity of the product has won the company several awards including a silver medal at the 17th Vinitaly International Wine Competition in 2009, bronze medal at the India Wine Challenge in 2008 and a double gold at San Francisco International Wine Competition in 2013.

Playing it right

Casa Vinicola Zonin’s strategy to penetrate into the India market has been simple – offering wines across different categories at affordable price points since India is a price-sensitive market. Its entry level wine is priced at Rs 1300 – Rs 1400 a bottle, while the premium level wine is priced at Rs 5500 – Rs 6000 a bottle.  “We didn’t want to be the cheapest brand in the market, yet we wanted to make our wines affordable. The size of our bottles allows us to have a good cost of production and sell good wines at reasonable price points. In addition, we have the passion and a long history of wine-making for seven generations. We are one of the first Italian wine exporters in India and one of the largest leaders in this market,” opines Guerini. The company has been actively promoting itself in India through marketing activities, training and wine-tasting sessions, among others. The company also plans to export 5000-6000 cases by the end of this year.

20150531eh11Jackie Matai (left) and Alessandro Guerini (right)

Casa Vinicola Zonin’s market share in India has recorded an increase announces Jackie Matai, co-founder, Aspri Spirits without divulging the numbers. “There is potential for further growth of India’s imported wine market if taxes are rationalised. Presently, 80-90 per cent of imported wines in India is below Rs 2000 per bottle, but to buy a bottle of good imported wine it is expensive,” opines Matai adding that, “The positive thing is that the wine culture in the country is growing and restaurants are keeping a variety of wines as more and more people are adopting the international food culture which requires wine to be paired with food.”

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