Partners in wine

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Updated: May 18, 2016 8:24 AM

Fratelli Wines, an Indo-Italian venture, aims to establish wine culture among Indians and promote the market for wines in the country. Craig W Wedge, brand director, Fratelli Wines, shares about the changing market for wine. By Mohit Rathod

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Fratelli Wines, an Indo-Italian venture, aims to establish wine culture among Indians and promote the market for wines in the country. Craig W Wedge, brand director, Fratelli Wines, shares about the changing market for wine. By Mohit Rathod

20160531eh29Fratelli is an Indo-Italian venture intended to bring the best of wines to India. Collaboration between three families – the Secci brothers from Italy, Andrea and Alessio; the Sekhri brothers from Delhi, Gaurav and Kapil; and the Mohite-Patil brothers from Akluj, Arjunsinh and Ranjitsinh – the partnership intends to bring in Italian wine making tradition coupled with the favourable Indian cultivation terrains to the wine market.

Grown on a trench line of 330 km with 350,000 samplings, the Fratelli Vineyards are planted with 12 different grape varieties on a combination of 240 acres of virgin land at Akluj, spread over three sites – Motewadi, Nimgaon and Garwad. Using industry plant and machinery houses, the vineyards are equipped with 58 multi-capacity tanks imported from Velo, Italy. The winery also boasts of a fully equipped laboratory for testing at various stages of the production process from grapes to finished product.

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Today with its latest vintage, Fratelli is present in 16 states with over 40 varietals on offer and has international presence in the UK, USA, Netherlands, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan.

New horizons

Speaking about the impact of retail F&B business on the market, Wedge says, “As the quality of food products, imported or domestic, improve and are made available, more and more operators move into this space and simply add to the availability of choice. The more choices available, the growth of the market ensues. The better the food, the better the wine; the better the service, the better the lifestyle.”

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India’s liqour market is largely dominated by beer and whisky; palate for wine has not been established well among Indians. However, Wedge is positive about the changing trends, that suggest wine drinking is developing in the country. He opines, “Wine certainly is moving in a forward direction, albeit slowly…better quality food, and better quality restaurants and such establishments perpetuate the ideology of better quality wine being made available as well. The new drinkers, 21-30-year-old females, are driving the wine culture forward.”

Establishing wine culture

20160531eh30Fratelli is also involved in various efforts to further promote the wine culture in India. Elaborating on the same, Wedge informs, “We are building our own little platform of business based upon the sound reckoning that quality must come first and quantity second. We are of the mind that our brand is our strength, and to build our market ideology around quality, service, sustainability and product reliability as the go to quotient  in all that we do, by virtue the breadth of our distribution grows as more and more people embrace and appreciate what we are striving to do; brand and marketing strength is key and core to all that we do. We also offer various vineyard packages for consumers wanting to visit our 240 acres estate owned vineyards in Akluj, Maharashtra.”

The emergence of departmental retail stores and online stores is serving as an efficient platform for F&B brands. However, Wedge feels that the online segment, at present, isn’t viable for wine producers. “Like most other opportunities for wine channels to market, we are governed by all forward steps in the process by the idiosyncratic excise laws and subsequent parameters that prohibit and inhibit certain aspects of business potential. Under the current set of antiquated excise rules and regulations, online shopping and distribution of wine per se, is a far off dream,” he comments.

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In terms of business expansion, Fratelli is planning to increase its acreage by another 200 acres, while focusing on quality. Revealing the brand’s marketing strategies, Wedge explains, “With focused marketing and sales concepts that promote the core advantages of Fratelli from the viewpoint of quality, drinkability, sustainability responsibility and a discerning passion to create the best wines for India, from India, with price and deals as the second consideration, we plan to promote not just Fratelli, but wine in general. Response from the market has been amazing. Because of consistent premium quality, we have also developed house blends for various hotels – Taj, ITC and the prestigious St’ James Court in London.”

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