“Of Men, Lands and Wines”: Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo is underlining its Italian character and family and community-based philosophy, during this week’s Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo.

Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo is a Silver Partner of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo

The company’s story began in 1935 when Count Gaetano Marzotto started to cultivate abandoned land in Italy’s Veneto region. He aimed to combine modern, efficient agricultural methods with man, nature and technology.

2020, and Santa Margherita is regarded as one of Italy’s leading, and award-winning, wine producers. It is owned by the fourth generation of the Marzotto family; its varietals, it says, are still richly steeped in tradition and are celebrated for their regional character.

In this interview with The Moodie Davitt Report, Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo Regional Director Canada & LATAM Giacomo Marzotto looks at the changing travel retail market and considers new marketing strategies.

The Moodie Davitt Report: What is the major focus for your company or brand at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo? 

Giacomo Marzotto: Virtual Travel Retail Expo is the perfect occasion to introduce Santa Margherita’s range of products specifically aimed at duty free stores. The range focuses around our iconic sparkling wines – Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut and Sparkling Rosé Brut – our best-seller Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC and our newest offering, Merlot Veneto IGT.

Santa Margherita is introducing its Merlot Veneto to travel retail at the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo

All the products are presented in exclusive packaging designed to create a more luxurious buying experience for the fast shopper, as well as to excel in retail sales while affirming our commitment to protecting the environment. A good example is the totally green packaging designed for our Merlot Veneto IGT, which has been produced using environmentally responsible methods but with an eye to design.

Alongside our Santa Margherita brand wines, we are presenting the Franciacorta Cuvée Prestige from Ca’ del Bosco – part of Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo – with its special pack, redesigned for the travel retail sector, ready to catch the eye of all lovers of Italy’s most famous sparkling wines.

In a market as challenging as today’s, how are you seeking to set yourself apart in the wine category? What are your ambitions for your brands in travel retail today?

We’ll be continuing to support the partners who we have worked with over the years and who, for us, are part of the value-added chain while we’ll also be venturing into new markets and launching new products with the aim of offering an increasingly tailor-made, distinctive and unique range.

Personalisation and differentiation are at the heart of our continuous research and work within the travel retail sector.

How do you view the impact of COVID-19 on the wider industry and what dynamics will drive the next stage in travel retail’s evolution? How would you like to see industry partnerships evolve as we enter a new era for travel and travel retail?

It’s a very difficult time, especially for a company which wants to expand into new markets and increase its product range.

This break from normality which the sector is currently experiencing may also be an opportunity to revise the business model, incorporate fair trade policies and rethink strategy from a perspective of win-win for companies while bringing consumers back to being at the heart of the experience.

However, it is possible to view this crisis as an opportunity to redeem travel retail as a unique sales channel, aimed not just at travelling fast shoppers from around the world but also at traditional end consumers, by developing non-aviation business.

The idea is to rethink this sales channel as the ideal ‘place to buy’ for consumers, where they can find advantages and benefits both in terms of price, thanks to duty free policies, and in terms of products, thanks to limited editions and special packs.

This break from normality which the sector is currently experiencing may also be an opportunity to revise the business model, incorporate fair trade policies and rethink strategy from a perspective of win-win for companies while bringing consumers back to being at the heart of the experience.

This would allow companies to focus on creating a greater shopping experience, including skilled retail staff and in-store technology.

Sparkling Rosé: “Born out of a desire to create a new favourite”

How do you think the channel can and should engage with travelling consumers to ensure a sustained recovery? Will wine need to take a different approach than before?

The travel retail market by necessity must always now offer products which can compete with those available in the national domestic market. The wine sector will, in turn, have to increasingly adopt the marketing and sales strategies of the most successful market segments such as fashion, luxury and spirits.

Today more than ever, we need to put consumers at the heart of what we do by offering them a unique shopping experience and a range of exclusive products.

The travel retail market by necessity must always now offer products which can compete with those available in the national domestic market. The wine sector will, in turn, have to increasingly adopt the marketing and sales strategies of the most successful market segments such as fashion, luxury and spirits.

These are currently the only sectors which give to final consumers a 4.0 experience thanks to the use of smart mirrors and interactive shelves, as well as the use of apps to integrate in-store and online experiences.