Frescobaldi: Volumes don’t interest me7th October, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Lamberto Frescobaldi, the new president of family-owned Tuscan wine estate Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, has admitted that he’s not in the business to shift large amounts of wine.
Speaking exclusively to the drinks business last week, Frescobaldi said: “I’m not out to do huge volumes. I’m not chasing every case or knocking on the supermarkets’ door because I know they are going to twist my arm and harm me.
“As a company, it’s important to understand who you are and where you want to go.”
Frescobaldi also spoke out against so-called “flying winemakers” who often have very little to do with the projects they put their names to.
“A lot of today’s winemakers are behaving like celebrity chefs and spreading are themselves too thin, putting their name on wines that they’re not around for,” he said.
“While the idea of running a wine venture abroad in South Africa or South America is tempting, you can’t do that sort of thing over the phone or via four meetings a year – it requires time, effort and a constant presence,” he added.
Admitting that he’s taken over his family company at a time when competition for business has never been higher, Frescobaldi is confident about the kind of consumer he’s seeking to attract.
“A lot of consumers aren’t bothered about the minutiae of wine, but a small niche are – I’m going after the small niche.
“Wine drinkers are very unfaithful these days; it’s really hard to get them to be loyal to one brand as there is such a dizzying array of choice out there,” he said.
Speaking of the project he recently collaborated on to help Italian prisoners make and sell their own wine, Frescobaldi told db that he had visited the prison on the island of Gorgona by police boat over 20 times in the last year.
“It’s a lovely collaboration that touches the soul – two of the prisoners who have been released since we started the project have gone on to land jobs in wine, which is incredibly heartening,” he said.
Some 2,700 bottles of the inaugural vintage of Gorgona DOC (a Vermentino and Ansonica blend) were made, with the entire stock selling out in under a month.
“People really got behind the project, which was lovely, especially as we were charging €25 a bottle, so it wasn’t cheap.
“A designer friend of mine created the newspaper cutting label with the yellow wax seal for free. It had a very cool look to it, which helped it sell I think,” he said.
Frescobaldi has increased the Vermentino plantings on the island with the view to upping production next year.