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English News Giovedi 06 Agosto 2020

Scuderia Italia: the opportunities brought by Covid-19

New opportunities can arrive in every moment and maybe during a crisis you have less competitors ready to catch them.

Flavio Sartori

"2020 had started well, then the news of Covid in China arrived, the pandemic in Italy started and everything changed". This is a recurring sentence we hear from producers and wine operators that makes us understand how drastic and inevitable the change has been. In this case, these are the words of Flavio Sartori, founder of Scuderia Italia, a brand with a portfolio of prestigious Italian wines, selected and guaranteed to be of superior quality. We asked him how he dealt with the crisis of the last few months and how he plans to manage future implications. “This situation has brought a lot of uncertainty both in those who sell wine and in those who buy it. As for the main channel in which my company operates, the ontrade, there has been a paralysis in most of the world markets "explained Flavio.

How did your customers and potential customers react?

Initially the great uncertainty led to a stand-by of the relations undertaken with operators and importers. For our part, we did not want to put excessive pressure on the activities to proceed, especially in the initial stages where this could represent a risk of compromising the relationship. I give you a concrete example: at the end of January I started a dialogue with a German import and distribution company, which was very interested in our wines, mainly in our Lugana. We were evaluating the possible rules and we were reaching an agreement to book the product. Unfortunately, the emergency forced us to stop everything because customers took time. We respected their requests without pressing them to conclude, until the situation stabilized and this has allowed us to close the order favorably.

How did you personally react to the emergency?

Ever since Covid-19 reached our country, I immediately realized that it would not have been such a fast and fleeting situation, also thanks to my relations with China and the constant updating through the international press. I talked to clients and consultants to understand the landscape. I tried to reassure customers by talking to them, to find the most profitable way for both of us to continue the business once the market has reopened. And I looked forward to new opportunities.

Did they come?

In such a difficult period, not only have I maintained and strengthened active relationships with my contacts and I already consider this very much; but needs emerged from new importers who were in a less difficult situation and created new business. I have closed a supply agreement with a Polish company that deals with highly selected Italian products, sold to Italian restaurants in Poland and recently I started a collaboration with a new Italian importer in London. He already knew our products and chose to focus on these for his new business of selling to wealthy individuals.

What do you think has helped among the strategies you have put in place during this period?

We continued to make immediate, quality, modern and smart communication, adopting it at the particular historical moment and this allowed us to make our products even better known and expand our contacts. We communicated in an important way on social media, further spreading the numerous reviews of the sector's magazines. Social networks have thus created several touchpoints both with the final consumer and with the intermediaries.

Do you think you have increased your business during this period?

I am sure of this, and consistently. I speak above all of a future business, in terms of new possibilities that have opened and signed agreements, not only of new orders. It is also important for me to have also increased the human relationship with my partners, which in this moment of crisis has been more vital than ever. My partners are my first business associates and ambassadors of my product.

Is there any market or channel in which you see more interesting future developments?

I'm not a fortune teller, I just catch the signals and skim the most interesting ones. Many of these come from east and China in particular. There we work with our local agent and this allows us to have a window on the market and always fresh information. With regard to new channels, like many others, we implemented e-commerce only after the crisis started. For us, however, it represents a medium-long term strategy, more than for the immediate term, but I don't think it can become our first choice. 

What characterizes your brand?

I think it is a clear identity. Scuderia Italia is a unique reality in the premium segment of Italian wine. Our sector is still very tied to prejudices that often limit the introduction and development of new ideas. When we started, we knew that the challenge would be great and this gave us the right incentives to move forward on our way, trying to bring a breath of fresh air. We are just at the beginning of our journey, but the many positive results and our supporters that increase day by day, make us understand that we are starting to leave our mark.