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Canti to launch sparkling White Zin

Fratelli Martini is planning to add a sparkling White Zinfandel to its Canti brand, following the launch of a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc last year and a packaging revision for its Asti and Prosecco in 2013.

Canti sell 3 million bottles annually wrapped with cellophane

President of the family-owned Italian company, Gianni Martini, told the drinks business that he was currently creating a sparkling rosé using Zinfandel grapes grown in Italy – a variety more commonly called Primitivo in the country.

He said that the new product would be launched in time for Christmas and would be aimed at the UK, Russian and Japanese markets.

Fratelli Martini also unveiled a new look for the Canti range at this year’s London International Wine Fair (LIWF), where the company took at stand.

As part of the packaging update the company has added a vintage to its Prosecco and a special paper that doesn’t detach from the bottle when it gets wet.

Martini also told db that he is aiming to take the Canti brand up market as well as increase volumes with a range of profile-raising investments.

“My project for Canti is to increase sales and improve the image,” he said.

The company has already installed a Canti Prosecco Bar in London’s most famous department store, Harrods, but Fratelli Martini has now installed Canti branding in a window at the retailer, which complements its advertising on 6,000 London Black Cabs.

Martini admitted to db that the Canti display had cost over €100,000 for two months, and that the price was discounted due to Canti’s investment inside the department store.

He also said that Canti is building Prosecco bars in Russia and Australia, with one in Moscow’s GUM department store and another in Sydney’s David Jones upmarket retail outlet.

“The focus is on the best cities and within them, the best meeting points, and for London that is Harrods, in Moscow it is GUM, and in Sydney it is David Jones,” he commented.

He also said that he was considering taking the approach to Germany too, with Munich as a possible target city.

As for the world’s fastest growing wine market, China, he said Canti had been present in the country for five years, but was growing “step by step”.

Canti are now selling 600,000 bottles of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc through Asda in the UK

Other changes to Canti Prosecco specifically include a longer lees contact in tank. “The Prosecco now spends three weeks in tank because we want a little more lees contact, but not too much as it is still a simple product.”

In contrast, he said some Prosecco producers limit the contact with the lees – which bring taste and texture to the wine – to just three days.

Looking back, Martini recalled that one of the most beneficial impacts on the global sales of Canti Prosecco was the addition of a yellow cellophane wrap six years ago (see above, left), not unlike the one used for Louis Roederer’s Crisal Champagne.

Today, around half of Canti Prosecco’s six million bottle production are sold with the cellophane wrapping, with the majority of the wrapped bottles going to Russia and Germany.

Martini said that it cost €0.25 per bottle to buy and manually add the cellophane, although the retail price is the same as versions without the wrapping.

Martini also noted that Canti is also the only producer of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc using the Charmat method, in which the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in a sealed tank, trapping the carbon dioxide produced during the conversion of sugar to alcohol.

Other sparkling Sauvignons, such as Brancott Estate’s version from Marlborough in New Zealand, are carbonated, according to Martini.

He recorded that it was “very difficult” to obtain a naturally sparkling Sauvignon Blanc that retained the grape’s distinctive aromatics, and, as a consequence, the project took three years from conception to launch.

The Sauvignon, which comes from the Veneto, was launched in the UK in July last year and has achieved 600,000 bottles in sales following its listing in UK supermarket chain Asda, according to Martini.

With a range spanning popular sparkling wine categories Asti, Prosecco and Sauvignon Blanc, and, by the end of this year a White Zinfandel too, Canti is now a powerful player in the fast-growing market for fizz.

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