The Gagliardo cellars in the Langhe region of Piedmont (photo DR)
ITALY. Characterised by a multitude of small estates, the Piedmont region has more D.O.C / D.O.C.G (Registered Designation of Origin / Registered and Certified Designation of Origin) wines than any other Italian region. Wine tourism has become one of the major assets of the wine areas such as the Langhe which surround Alba, a town equally well-known for the white truffle.
Exports began to develop back in the 1980s where, in the absence of professional organisations driving promotion, it was the wine producers themselves who set about conquering new markets beyond the shores of the peninsula.
Gianni Gagliardo is one of these. He cultivates around thirty hectares, producing some 330,000 bottles each year, 80% of which are exported. This winery owner pioneered the export of wine in the Piedmont region where the small size of the vineyards had long hindered the development of sales internationally.
Today, Gianni Gagliardo exports to some thirty countries in Europe (Switzerland, Germany, France, Eastern Europe, etc.), North America (United States and Canada) and in Asia (essentially Japan with a little to China where the wine culture is in its infancy). He works with exclusive agents and importers.
Temperature controlled containers for shipments to Asia and North America
Positioning his product as quality wine, he must ensure that conditions during transport do not affect its quality. “With close to four weeks transport time required for shipments to Asia, we bundle consignments from several estates together in temperature controlled containers. This does not create a problem and is in fact seen today as the safest means of transportation. We follow the same practice for shipments destined for North America” explains Gianni Gagliardo.
The cases are transported by road to the port of Livorno, in Tuscany, from where the shipments are dispatched.
“With rail freight in Italy being far from developed, we use road hauliers for shipments within Europe, providing them with sealed pallets. Competition has forced prices down and we prefer to ship overnight, even if it is a little more expensive, as it is faster and safer” states Gianni Gagliardo. The use of air freight, dispatched from either Rome or Milan, remains minimal. “It has been developing over the past two years, however it is used only for small quantities and specific urgent orders” adds Gianni Gagliardo.
Aside from the need to maintain a constant temperature of 16°, the risk of theft, especially where road freight is concerned, poses a problem. The RFID tag tracking system, which allows a shipment to be checked and monitored at any time, has not yet been deployed but is in the pipeline.
The bundling of consignments for shipments is common practice amongst wine producers. Gianni Gagliardo has been the instigator of several initiatives aimed at combining the international marketing actions of the Piedmont wine producers, such as the creation of the “Made in Piedmont” association.
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