Undoubtedly, his family is part of Argentina’s viticulture history. His still wines, sparkling wines, and Frizzantes are always among Argentine consumers’ choices. In a pleasant conversation with Raúl Bianchi, the President of Bodega Bianchi, the businessman talks about the future of wine and how he sees the industry.
How do you expect holiday season sales to be?
I believe this end of year is going to be calm, but good. I have faith that with the president’s assumption, this year will end pretty calm; there will be no turbulence in the market and sales will result positive. I think good sales are coming up and in 2012 even better sales will arise.
What is your analysis of 2011?
We have strongly bet on the company. We put a lot of effort on technology to improve the quality of our products. Everything we do is aimed at our growth. I see that 2012 will be a very positive year in which we will keep on growing in sales, showing an improvement over the quality of our current wines. Wine consumers know that Bianchi is a synonym for quality.
How much have you grown?
The company’s fiscal year closes in July, but we expect to grow 17% or 18% which makes our performance better than average since in the wine industry the average growth is around 6% and 9%. The fact is that consumers do not drink more wine from one year to next, but they consume better wines. Therefore, this growth says a lot about our wines.
This year, costs have increased, how have you worked out this situation?
Costs increase is a complex topic. This panorama does not allow us to think about a double-digit profitability and in such a complicated world where technology changes every day, when we decide to squeeze margins, the first thing that is left aside is technology, and that is what makes wine a little better. This loss is not perceived by the consumer. Anyway, I believe we have to wait a bit and see what happens.
With this panorama, how do see foreign markets?
Exports have become complicated. The rise of supplies and manpower make it more difficult. It is harder now to penetrate foreign markets with wine. However, Argentine wine has gained a well-earned name abroad. We explain the situation to our distributors and they can see it in the papers and understand what is going on in the country. Sales have not dropped abroad, but we could a lot better. As long as we continue with positive values we stay in that market. We have grown in Canada, United States, Brazil, and Mexico, but if we had a chance to have a more competitive dollar we would have done better.