Allegrini 2018

The high quality wine distribution market showed a growing trend in 2022

Turnovers of players such as the Meregalli Group, Sagna, Cuzziol GrandiVini, Edoardo Freddi International confirm it. Positive sentiment also for 2023

The distribution of quality wines closed 2022 on a growing trend, in Italy and abroad. The merit goes to the markets that have been exceptional performers since the HORECA (hotel, restaurant, catering) channel has been back to normal, even though the specter of Covid returning is still hovering, the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine has brought uncertainty to many sectors and speeded up the inflationary spiral, and the logistics crisis has brought an increase in prices. The turnovers of some of the most important players in the sector have confirmed it, such as the Meregalli Group, Sagna, Cuzziol GrandiVini, and Edoardo Freddi International. These groups, on the strength of their numbers and in line with the most popular trends among wine consumers, are looking to 2023 with an equally positive sentiment. They will be increasing their portfolio with new Italian and foreign companies and aiming to conquer new customers in the most interesting and challenging markets, where they can focus more on the penetration strategy to acquire new shares.
The Meregalli Group closed 2022 on a positive note, even higher than 2021, which was a record year, at a turnover totaling 92.089 million euros; that is, +14.16% more than last year. Specifically, regarding distribution on the Italian market, Meregalli Wines closed at +10.7% increase, Meregalli Spirits at +7.03% and Visconti43 at +45.22%, totaling +12.32% for Italian sales. Their foreign affiliates confirmed the same trend as well. Meregalli France and Meregalli Monaco closed at + 28.59% increase in turnover and Meregalli Suisse at +4.02% increase.
Analyzing the trends in detail, compared to 2019, a reference year because it was a watershed between a before and an after that changed the market and consumption habits, the total turnover of the “mixed” channel, which includes Restaurants, Hotels, Bars and Catering, grew +33.56% compared to 2019, where Hotels registered an outstanding +60% increase. The margin of lump-sum sales is even wider, as the increase in turnover in 2022, compared to 2019, reached +40.78%. It is, however, interesting to note that online sales have slowed down in growth over the last year, compared to forecasts of the previous two years, considering that in 2020 alone E-commerce had grown to well over 10%. As we examine the categories, still wines have increased in sales + 21.82% since 2019, and sparkling wines closed 2022 at +18.70% increase. Further, in 2022, white and rosé wines took 2% of the red wine market share, compared to 2019. The white and rosé wine categories grew more than still wines and also more than Champagne, which was penalized due to fewer number of bottles being produced. But, because of this problem, the Spumante type is gaining ground, and has grown + 22.31% compared to 2019. The average price of the references distributed increased + 15% compared to 2019, meaning that the Meregalli Group has confirmed its leadership on the high-end market, thanks to products with an increasingly higher quality. There are numerous new items on the 2022 price list and many different wine-growing regions in Europe, and beyond: Marques de Riscal in the heart of Rioja, Conte Vistarino in Oltrepò Pavese, Villa Matilde in the Massico area, La Collina dei Ciliegi in Valpantena, Borgo Maragliano in the Langa Astigiana area, SanSteva and Poggio dei Gorleri in Ponente Ligure, Boroli in the land of Barolo, Ken Forrester in South Africa in the wild lands of Chenin Blanc, Chassenay d'Arce in Champagne, Maison Champy in Beaune and organic and artisanal Anaë Gin Made in France. There is a new and important partnership among the Meregalli Group, La Collina dei Ciliegi and ADVini, which together have set up a new distribution company with equal shares: AMCVini spa. The new Wine & Life Style Club in Piazza Duomo in Milan, Duomo 18 was created from this partnership, and the inauguration is scheduled for next summer. The newly formed company intends to implement various actions to improve and speed up work processes. For instance, increasing the logistics capacity, thanks to a new vertical multi-level system that optimizes stocks and picking using a new goods management and rotation system, implementing CRM for automated management of contacts and daily operations, paying attention of course to communication channels such as the press, events, social media, and the inevitable as well as continuous updating that these means require. Another part of the focus going towards the future, is the commitment to the environment. A series of targeted choices include Tenuta Fertuna, the winery in Maremma owned by the Meregalli Group, which has obtained the Equalitas quality standard. “Distribution has become essential in a world that requires condensing costs, while at the same time requires fast and efficient service. Gruppo Meregalli has been and will continue to be more and more at the forefront, and leader on these values. The Pandemic years seemed to have shifted the centrality of man quite a lot towards technology alone. However, we like to say with pleasure that for us and for our sector, man is more central than before in deciding what to do, while technology has become fundamental on how to do it. It is therefore a perfect combination that will be the focus of our investments. The year 2023 will spotlight Italy as the star of tourism, our greatest National resource. The desire to resume life like it was before, to socialize and to get together, will make the new year positive for us and for our sector”, the CEO of the Marcello Meregalli Group emphasized. “We will also remember 2022 as it was still a difficult, long and uncertain year, and we had to deal with situations that took each of us by surprise. We are, therefore, especially proud of the goals we have achieved as well as having managed to achieve the goals we set ourselves, all thanks to the commitment and dedication of a continuous and constant search for quality, in products, in people and in the profession”, the CEO of the Corrado Mapelli Group added.
“Sagna S.p.A. closed 2022 at 36 million euros in turnover”, Carlo Alberto Sagna, Sales Manager of Sagna S.p.A. (distributor of the legendary Burgundy wine in Italy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, ed.) told WineNews, “yes, this is the highest result we have reached in the entire history of the company. We achieved this goal thanks to a series of factors, balanced among them — four new Italian mandates (Canalicchio di Sopra, Querciabella, Palmento Costanzo, Carlo Hauner), over 20 new agents in recently discovered provinces, widespread and in-depth communication and the organization of events. These activities have allowed us to start collaborations with almost two thousand new customers throughout the country”. And especially, “sales of Louis Roederer Champagne continue to be the leading item in revenues, followed by French wines, upon which we have concentrated our focus — from the Rhone, an increase in Delas Frères wines, to Beaujolas and Burgundy, Gamay and Pinot Noir from the Domaine Pierre Ferraud. In addition to participating in numerous Salons related to Spirits, such as the “Roma bar Show”, we believed in and invested in a two-day tasting session for industry professionals only. The first edition of the “Sagna Days” welcomed over 35 producers from all over the world, and 9 Masterclasses conducted by industry professionals (Andrea Gori, Armando Castagno, Luca di Francia, Luca Picchi) for a total of over 600 attendees. In 2023 we expect this result to be confirmed. We are all involved, at this moment, in planning the numerous activities that will accompany us throughout the year”.
Cuzziol GrandiVini closed 2022 at 24.48 million euros in turnover, compared to 21 million euros in 2021, marking +16% increase. The EBITDA data is quite interesting, as it stood at 11.12% in 2022, substantially stable to 11.41% in 2021. The company has a team of 27 people and works with over 6,800 customers throughout the country, distributing 46 Italian and 91 foreign companies for a total of around 2.2 million bottles delivered in 2022, through a network of 160 sales agents. Luca Cuzziol, the sole director, puts these positive data into perspective for us. “We are very satisfied with the results we have achieved, as the increase in revenues means having more resources to reinvest in the company. It allows us to support and implement our structure through the new and young resources that have different backgrounds and who collaborate. It gives us the possibility of organizing more training meetings for the sales network and various tasting events to bring producers and customers together. We are getting equipped with more and more tools to do our job better, to broaden our offer and offer the customer a punctual and satisfactory service. However, we are always careful about what is happening around us, and aware of the period that is awaiting us, so we can anticipate solutions that will allow us to support the market”. 2023, therefore, will be the year that the Cuzziol GrandiVini portfolio will expand significantly, with new additions of Denominations that up until now have been underrepresented or absent, and upon which, but not only on them, valid alternatives to the trends in vogue can be built. Therefore, Garofano Cantine e Vigneti, an Apulian company that is part of an ongoing territorial project, and Riofavara, a company that goes will complete the selection process in Sicily together with Val di Noto are the new Italian additions. The new foreign additions include 8 companies: the French Domaine Roblot-Marchand, from the extremely fine Pinot Noir village of Chambolle-Musigny; Domaine Muzard, which expands the Pinot Noir proposal from the village of Santenay, the last municipality of the Côte d'Or considered a Department; Francois de Givry, of which Les Riames is the smallest Monopole of the Côte de Beaune; Jean-Luc Mouillard, completing the areas of wine-growing France with Jura, one of the most interesting and attractive of the moment; Domaine de L’Idylle from Savoy, one of the most famous areas of mountain wines, and Jaboulet, and its new entry in the catalog of La Chapelle, an icon wine of the Rhône Valley. Also, the Spanish, Mas Doix, a reference company in Priorat, an area of Spain not represented up until now, and the American, Bond, completing Harlan Estate and Promontory, part of a group with the same ownership, and an excellent company in Napa Valley. Cuzziol GrandiVini is also launching many projects in connection with marketing activities. To start out, the renewed graphic design of the Catalogue, conceived as a true editorial product, and corporate organization. “The future of companies like ours”, Luca Cuzziol added, “is linked searching for young talents who with their enthusiasm and energy bring new visions and skills that must characterize a modern company, always on the move. The past few years have strengthened the idea that flexibility and top professionalism make it possible to overcome unexpected and unprecedented obstacles. I am thinking of the recent Pandemic, of course, but also of facing the years to come with confidence and, hopefully, foresight”.
Edoardo Freddi International has also consolidated its growth in 2022 totaling 80 million euros in managed turnover and 33 million bottles marketed. This has been the constant trend that has not stopped since 2012, the year the first Italian export management company in the wine sector was founded. The result is very encouraging as well as confirming expectations, and thanks goes also to the various markets that have proven to be exceptional performers such as Canada, Russia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Israel, Greece and Malta. The merit goes also to the network of 3.000 active customers all over the world, including companies, importers and distributors, as well as expanding the team, which has allowed for more widespread action at an International level, and on more remote markets. Thanks also to the addition of five new salesmen, one of which is dedicated entirely to business development in the most remote markets, and in the next few months will be following a basic training activity of specialized courses and Masterclasses conducted by Cristina Mercuri. “2022 was an outstanding year”, the founder, Edoardo Freddi, said, “we started off very energized, but tired, following 2021 that at the end, instead, registered considerable growth, as well as many uncertainties for the future. The outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine has brought uncertainty to many sectors and accelerated an inflationary spiral that had already partially begun in November 2021. In one year alone, we had to witness a possible return of Covid, war, the logistical crisis and consequently a price increase. In spite of all these adversities, however, 2022 ended in a positive way for EFI”. And, two new companies have joined Edoardo Freddi International's portfolio, which now counts 43 wineries. One company is Borgoluce, which boasts a long history linked to the territory, and special attention to biodiversity, in the Treviso hills between Venice and the Dolomites, in the heart of Valdobbiadene, and the other is Cantine Ariola in the Parma hills. The goal, over the next few months, is to further increase the number of collaborations, focusing on Tuscany,one of the Italian Regions that houses the most denominations. Furthermore, besides expanding the portfolio, they will be working on representing a selection of wineries on the foreign market that produce high quality wines, or rather the fine wines that have made the history of Italian wine and that symbolizes a unique tasting experience for connoisseurs and enthusiasts. They will introduce the “Fine Wines Specialist and Brand Activation”, who will handle the allotment management and the promotion of this category of wines on the various markets. In 2023, Edoardo Freddi International will also be working to acquire 50 new customers. The most interesting, as well as the most challenging markets, are Eastern Europe and Russia, the United States, China, and Africa. While Canada , Germany, the UK, Japan, Scandinavia and all of continental Europe are the countries, instead, are the markets where they will concentrate more on penetration strategy to conquer new shares. Edoardo Freddi is also CEO of the FreedL Group, a group specializing in investments in assets and operating companies in the beverage sector. The Group holds the majority share capital of Veraison Group SpA, formed by uniting the prestigious Italian production companies, Salvaterra, Progetti Agricoli and 4RU, which promotes the best Italian distillates in the world through Sapiens Spirits. It also offers a tailor-made service to support Italian wineries in their growth on National territory through the newly founded Pergola, specialized in organized distribution for the wine sector on the National market.

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