Frescobaldi takes advantage of Russians’ passion for Italy

An interesting piece of information about the market dynamics of the Frescobaldi wine family in Russia, composed by Paola Perfetti from ItalyNewsWeek.

“The Frescobaldi” is an Italian winemaking dynasty that produces wine for more than 700 years. Their barrels used to enjoy the British Royal Court and popes in Rome, during the centuries. Nowadays, the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi group exports 65 percent of its 9 million bottle annual output to 85 countries and is looking to win over consumers in Russia and other new markets.

In this period, Frescobaldi’ strives to reach some main markets such as the United States, Germany and Switzerland but it is also concentrated on Russian markets, where sales of the Frescobaldi wines (whose retail price varies from 10 euros to 200 euros ($280) per bottle, with the exclusive Masseto red fetching up to 500 euros, Reuters.com, ndr) have been brisk in south eastern Asia and Russia.

“Russia has been the best performing market this year for us,” Lamberto Frescobaldi, vice president of the group, told Reuters at one of its main estates perched among the hills 30 km northeast of Florence.

Even if Russians go on loving vodka drinking tradition: “There are lots of consumers there with a strong desire for high quality goods … Russians are very open to Italy, to our lifestyle,” said Frescobaldi, who is in charge of production at the group.

Why Russia and not Asian markets? Japanese and other Asian consumers are interesting for Frescobaldis, too, but the group admitted to be cautious about approaching the Chinese market where its French rivals have been rapidly expanding.

For Reuters, Italy’s wine makers have been slow in conquering the immense Chinese market, but Italian wine exports there have surged 242 percent so far this year, Italy’s biggest farmers association Coldiretti said this month. “We want to have clients spread in various markets to give a security to the company future … We want to make wine today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,” said Frescobaldi, 47, who represents the 30th generation of winemakers in the family.

Group total sales are expected to rise 15 percent this year from 71.2 million euros in 2009, driven by top-shelf wines including the famous full-bodied Brunello and SuperTuscan Ornellaia reds, he said. The group, fully controlled by the family, owns seven main wine making estates in Tuscany and one estate in the northeastern region of Friuli, each producing wine with its distinct character formed by local climate and soil.

“Our philosophy is to express to consumers the diversity of every area where we have our vineyards, to make wines which identify their land of origin,” Frescobaldi said. But also, a new vineyards on recently acquired estates reach the top of production strength after a long growth period, the group plans to boost output by one million bottles in the next 10 years. “We have more than 30 generations, we have enough patience,” Frescobaldi said. “I hope we’ll have 60 generations.”

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