How we got free of Gancia

After the sale of the Piedmont-based winemaker to the Russians, in April the company will terminate its partnership with Rivera of Puglia. Now it is working on expanding the sales network.

20-01-201212:34by
From left, Carlo and Marco de Corato, the latest arrival in the family winemaking business

by Francesco Signor

The arrival of Russian capital in the Gancia group (Roustam Tariko just acquired 70% of the wine group, located in the Piedmont Region) speeded things up. It prompted the de Corato family, founders in Puglia of Azienda Vinicola Rivera, to buy back 50% of the share capital held previously by Gancia, restoring its full control relative to sales of its wines.

The partnership between the de Corato and Gancia families goes back to 1983 when Rivera opened its capital to the Asti-based winemaker to create financial, industrial and distribution synergies that in time have enabled the Andria-based company to acquire managerial and organizational skills, while maintaining the characteristics of a family business.

This means that starting next spring, Rivera will manage sales of its wines in Italy directly, with its own sales network on the bottled goods (wine bars), Ho.Re.Ca. and wholesale channels. “There has always been a convergence of intent between the de Corato and Gancia families” Carlo de Corato, chairman of the winemaking company founded in the early Fifties, explains to Panorama Economy.

The joint venture was a wager on the qualitative potential of wines from the Castel del Monte area and the company became one of the most important local winemakers and a key player in the rebirth of the Puglia Region’s winegrowing lands. “In the last two or three years the market has grown more and more difficult and we therefore feel the need to get closer to our clients, focusing on the development of our own sales network”.

The cost of the transaction is not known, because the families prefer to keep it strictly confidential. Undoubtedly the investment of the de Coratos has all the evidence of a courageous challenge in a highly competitive market context, where direct contact with the clients is a decisive aspect in order to maintain positions and develop growth. In 2010 Rivera’s turnover totaled 4 million euros, of which 55% came from Italy and 45% from 35 markets all over the world, with about 1.3 million bottles sold. These figures continued to grow also in 2011, both in Italy (+4%) and abroad (+12%).

“The coming years will be far from easy, but we are confident in our brand and its great potential, especially on the Italian market, also because wines from the Puglia Region are becoming more and more popular and we want to focus on this factor to develop new markets outside our region” says de Corato.

This is a goal shared by even the newest addition to the de Corato family business, Marco, 36, who will find himself immediately in the middle of difficult economic situation with an important job to do.

“We have always handled our business on export markets directly, while in Italy, until now, we had a sole client” points out Sebastiano de Corato, sales manager for the company. “At the international level we have maintained our positions rather well, despite the crisis. A number of markets are responding better than we expected, for example Canada, were we have been highly successful in the last five years, and where our wines are gaining popularity, especially the high range segment, that now accounts for about 10% of our exports. The developing markets are also responding well, although they do not affect our business volumes significantly yet”.

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