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Q&A: Paolo Lasagni

We caught up with the managing director at Casa Vinicola Bosco Malera to find out how Prosecco and Pinot Grigio sales are faring during the coronavirus crisis.

How important is Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie within your portfolio? 

In our group portfolio Pinot Grigio is the most important grape variety together with Prosecco. With reference to the Delle Venezie region, it’s the most important variety in western Veneto together with Soave, while in the Eastern Veneto Pinot Grigio is the second most important variety after Prosecco.

Covid-19 aside, how are your Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie sales at the moment – which markets is it performing most strongly in and which new markets would you like to break into with it? 

Our Pinot Grigio sales are slightly growing at the moment and the two main markets are, of course, the US and UK. We’d like to enter more into the Chinese market, though it’s always very tough for white varieties to do well there.

Is there a lot of variety of styles and expressions of Pinot Grigio within the Delle Venezie DOC?

Indeed yes, depending on the sub area, vinification processes, and, of course, the winemaker’s hand. Delle Venezie area is very wide, starting from Adriatic sea and ending on pre-Dolomites hills, with many different rivers crossing it.

As a consequence it’s made up of many different terroirs, from sandy to rocky ones; usually the sandy terroirs provide and immediate freshness, while the rocky ones a stronger structure and longevity. There’s not one terroir that is considered the best, but sometimes the blend of grapes coming from different terroirs leads to a unique premium product.

Has the introduction of the DOC helped a lot in terms of quality control?

I believe the introduction of the DOC has brought a huge increase in terms of quality. Since it’s become a DOC, all wines must be approved by certification bodies; the approval process is made of an analytical part, verifying that all parameters are met, and of a tasting panel; as a consequence quality is always guaranteed and certified.

Have there been some upsides to the coronavirus crisis in terms of strong off-trade sales at retailers like Aldi and M&S of some of the wines within your portfolio? 

It’s quite interesting to see that England followed the same trend as Italy in terms of lockdown sales – over the first 7-10 days there was an increase close to 50%, the following week a consistent decrease, then a sort of stabilisation, with volumes slightly higher than normal periods, compensating the on-trade shut down. Easter week has been quite positive – the good weather helped a lot.

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