db meets: Ferrari CEO Matteo Lunelli
The head of the eponymous Italian sparkling wine brand tells the drinks business about achieving record sales and his hopes for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Ferrari, the bottle-fermented Italian sparkling wine from TrentoDOC, is set for a record year this year with global sales close to 7 million bottles according to CEO Matteo Lunelli, who says: “We probably could have sold a lot more if we had had enough stock.” At present, he reckons the demand for some lines like the Ferrari Rosé outstrips supply by a third and by 50% in the case of the top of the range Giulio Ferrari wines.
“There has been an historic positive trend for high-end sparkling wine, and there’s a very strong trend behind Ferrari,” Lunelli continues. However, he admits the outlook for domestic sales is less rosy, and says: “Our growth might slow in Italy because it is a very mature market. We are so strong and present here, that obviously if the economy weakens, we will be impacted.” But looking ahead, he is confident that growing exports, particularly in the US, will compensate for any downturn in volumes back home.
“The most important single factor behind the increased awareness of the brand worldwide is our partnership with Formula One,” he says. Ferrari became the first Italian sparkling wine on the Grand Prix winners’ podium in 2021, and after just one season, it was decided to extend the partnership to 2025. With a cumulative global TV audience of 1.55 billion viewers last year and all the attendant social media, Formula One has given the brand unrivalled visibility.
“Also, over each Grand Prix weekend we get thousands of people attending hospitality,” he adds. “These high-profile consumers are experiencing Ferrari Trento DOC and getting to know it, and we see this as a very strong boost for the brand.” He believes there is tremendous room for growth in the US which by a happy coincidence is “the market where Formula One is growing the most in terms of interest and passion,” he says.
This year for the first time since 1984, there were two American Grand Prix in Miami and Austin, Texas. In 2023 these will be joined by a third meeting in Las Vegas in November.
“There is a huge expectation about the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and that’s going to be a strong focus for us next year,” says Lunelli.