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Fratelli Diversifies into Imported Wines

Posted: Wednesday, 22 October 2014 14:00

Fratelli Diversifies into Imported Wines

Oct 22: After establishing itself on the solid ground in the Indian wine market, Fratelli Vineyards, the Maharashtra-based producer of premium wines is now diversifying into imported wines with 6 labels introduced in the Mumbai market already and now being launched in the Delhi Market officially on November10, writes Subhash Arora who feels it is a bold step due to the current logjam created by FSSAI but will nevertheless make them an important player on the national scene

Currently 2 labels each are being imported from Chile (Viña Edmara), Portugal (Cintilla) and Italy (Il Casone Pinot Grigio and Casa Sola Chianti Classico). Casa Sola is produced by their viticulture consultant and a minority stake holder Piero Masi in Tuscany. Other labels are owned by W.I.V. the Billion Euro German Company whose UK arm, Hallgarten Druitt and Novum Wines has been Fratelli’s importer for the last 3 years and has done a satisfactory job of placing them in a few 3-Michelin star restaurants and Selfridges among other outlets, informs Kapil Sekhri.

Confirming their import strategy, Kapil says since they were working very closely with Hallgarten in UK it was natural that they wanted Fratelli to import wines produced in the wineries owned by their parent company, W.I.V. ‘We would have started the operation last year but wanted to establish ourselves well in the domestic production first. We also realised that our distribution was now growing fast and we could use this channel to promote the imported wines as well,’ says Kapil who is quite upbeat about their new project.

‘Although we are not looking at big numbers, we do hope to follow their model of servicing the on-trade market in UK and offer similar facilities to our on-trade customers in India. Kapil was reluctant to give any numbers as targets. ‘Our team is currently being trained on these wines and after we have some experience of the market and the wines, we shall talk of the numbers. But I can confirm to you that we will stick to the wines produced by W.I.V. only (barring Casa Sola, of course.)’

The wines are already available in Mumbai and are being stocked in Delhi. They are priced at Rs. 1300-1900 depending on the market. Chianti Classico of course, is a super premium wine and will be priced between Rs. 2600-3000 depending upon the market. Besides, Mumbai and Delhi, they will also be sold in Gurgaon through Singla and one more market, probably Goa. Anil Malhotra in Delhi and Tulsi in Mumbai would be distributing the wines.

What about the FSSAI issue that seems to have bogged down the industry? ‘We have sorted out the problem and our wines are according to the specifications and we have no problems,’ he says. At present most importers are gasping for breath and fighting for survival due to what they consider non-tariff barriers by the governmental agency.

As a producer Fratelli is at number 4 position in terms of volume sales- behind Sula, Grover-Zampa and Four Seasons. Last year they closed the sales at 52,000 cases according to Kapil. With budget line Vero introduced at a little over Rs. 400 and addition of the two variant at around Rs. 230 to the existing low-end Sidus range, Sekhri is confident of clocking 90,000 cases this year, bringing them neck-to-neck with Four Seasons.

The wines will be launched on November 10 at the newly opened Mansion, the chic banquet room at the Hyatt Regency where all but the Chardonnay Edmara will be available for tasting. ‘Edmara Chardonnay is already sold out and the next lot will reach us only in December’, says Kapil.

Fratelli would perhaps sell a couple of thousand cases of imported wines during this financial year 2013-14 but from next year they would be on the radar of delWine. It will be interesting to see when they enter our list of Top Ten importers.

Subhash Arora

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