From the food and wine supply chain, an appeal to the importance of creating a system to better manage the post-Covid phase19. Lively and rich in contributions, the webinar promoted by Club Excellence featuring Luca Cuzziol, Carlo Cracco, Maurizio Zanella, Andrea Terraneo and Antonello Marzolla.
They have suffered, without distinction, all the links that make up the supply chain of the world of wine, and still this first post-Covid19 phase is not without difficulties and pitfalls. But now we need a communion of purpose, courage and teamwork, especially if the shared goal is to sit in front of the institutions to obtain simple, coherent and effective measures. This is the appeal that emerged on Monday 29 June during the webinar organized by Club Excellence entitled "Let's start together, ethically" , which saw the participation of some authoritative protagonists of the wine supply chain, moderated by the journalist Antonio Paolini.
"We have shown that a strong, cohesive and targeted team game gives precise information to the market" said Luca Cuzziol, Cuzziol Grandi Vini sole director, representing the Board of Directors of Club Excellence , a company that brings together 18 of the most important players in Italy of distribution and import of fine wines and spirits. There were many and varied actions that, as Cuzziol recalled in his speech, the Club decided to take during the toughest period of the emergency from Covid-19. "We financed the market, established rules of engagement, helped the category of agents, supported our customers and, even, as some of us did especially with the little ones, consoled our producers. Furthermore, in the belief that professionalism is a decisive element for the entire supply chain, we have given our support to the Advanced Training Course in Sommellerie of the University of Pollenzo, to train professionals capable of enhancing wine at all levels " . A solid reality that represented by the distributors who are members of the Club Excellence, which in 2019 had turnover of over 200 million euros managing about 1400 sales agents . A company that has grown over the years thanks to a strong sharing of intent and objectives, a premise that motivated potentially competing companies to join together to face the hot topics of the sector and team up. "The system has faltered, but we have been firm, positive and united. This is the message and spirit that our category, a primary player in the food and wine distribution chain in Italy, wanted to give" .
"Our category has been one of the hardest hit because we are a sort of distribution belt that connects those who produce with those who sell, so we have a double vision of the damage" explained Antonello Marzolla, Secretary General Usarci , Unione instead Italian Trade Agents and Representatives Unions, which has provided a state of the art of sales agents in Italy, a veritable army of 240,000 professionals who account for 70% of our country 's GDP . Using us, thanks to the establishment of an internal Observatory during the crisis, provided some data thanks to a survey that collected the indications provided by about 20 thousand Italian sales agents: 81% said they had been hit violently from the emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 66% reduced more than 75% of the volume of orders in the portfolio, 23% reduced it by 50%. Going into the detail of the Horeca sector, 50% of the agents working in this sector - among the most affected, the secretary of Usarci together with those of clothing and goldsmiths - are invoicing commissions between 0 and 500 euros, 40 % between 500 and 5000 euros. How to get out of it? "We need a big injection of optimism. It is our duty to give important indications . " Among these Marzolla proposes to take the path of supply chain agreements. "I propose a common working table to relate to the government. The supply chain relationship is a winner. If we all make a system, the Using is there . "
Among the protagonists of the webinar also a chef and face known as Carlo Cracco , who, rather than concentrating on the current situation, very difficult for those who work in the restaurant sector, underlined the urgency of finding a path towards normality . "From the state we need simple and linear indications, without having to do somersaults to understand them" . The events are missing, the companies, more or less large, that are no longer investing, the desire to meet again are missing: all situations that do not make the well-known chef lose optimism. "Not everything is stopped, there is movement, fine dining, for example, works and in the weekends in many tourist locations the restaurant business has started to work well again. Today the customer is even more important than in the past. Now but we need to communicate a bit of security. We already had the rules: today we have even more attention because, rightly, many are still afraid " .
Who does not give up is also the varied world of wine bars, a highly specialized universe that combines not only that sells wine, beer, the whole world of spirits and food specialties, but also those who make a drink. To represent them Andrea Terraneo, president of Vinarius, historic Association that brings together 110 realities in this sector, including some representatives from abroad . "The bottlenecks never really closed even during the lockdown because having the food license they were able to continue working, while the wine bars suffered the crisis in a much more important way" . Vinarius also carried out some internal investigations to monitor the situation during the pandemic: after 15 days from the start of the lockdown, pessimism was prevailing, with turnover losses reported by the members of the Association around 90%, while in late April, also thanks to on Easter, the situation improved with losses reported between 30 and 60%. "The wave of the crisis will probably be very long, but it is going through and will have to be managed together. The important thing is that the supply chain is together to build and plan the future" , stressed the president of Vinarius.
"We have continued to work, nature does not stop," explained Maurizio Zanella, founder and president of the Ca 'del Bosco company , as well as a pioneer of a very important production area within the Italian chessboard like that of Franciacorta. "At the beginning of the lockdown, there was little serenity. In April, we recorded an 88% drop in turnover, on the other hand, we are very unbalanced towards the horeca channel . " Now it is time to look ahead according to the patron of Ca 'del Bosco who welcomes the proposal from the president of Usarci. "In Italy there are 19 thousand people who bottle wine and there is a fragmentation of the categories that represent us, as well as in catering" . A weakness of the system, according to Zanella, which inevitably led to not appearing united in front of the institutions. "The appeal of Antonello Marzolla and unite to relate to whom I like, even if, as regards wine and catering, I find it utopian. I, however, give my availability" .
Among the many moments of in-depth analysis that characterized the dialogue between the various protagonists of the webinar organized by Club Excellence, a reference to digitization and the great explosion that saw e-commerce protagonist could not be missing. "It is an increasingly important part of the world of wine, but for those who sell fine wines like us, who often represent small and medium producers, the work system cannot be separated from the figure of the sales agent" commented Luca Cuzziol. "Digitization must certainly be expanded, but for wineries with a turnover of between 200-300 thousand euros per year, investing in the creation of their own e-commerce would be very demanding and therefore does not represent, from my point of view, the solution" . Antonello Marzolla instead invoked common rules, especially in reference to the great actors of e-commerce. "I am an intermediary like us, but unlike us they pay laughable taxes. This is about unfair competition . " According to Andrea Terraneo, the human relationship with the customer continues to be fundamental for wine shops, even if there is an opening to e-commerce, and it also represented a small fundamental channel during the toughest phase of the lockdown. Carlo Cracco also said the same: his restaurant had started tentatively in December with the delivery, which exploded between March and April. "A pleasant surprise is a great opportunity: it speaks to a different audience and above all reaches everyone" . The experience of Ca 'del Bosco was positive with the creation of "Troviamoci", an application that from the company's website allows, by geolocating itself, to find the wine bars that make delivery and therefore also sell the company's wines. "But it takes respect for channels and intermediation" concluded Zanella.
A constructive meeting, the one promoted by Club Excellence, which took into consideration the critical issues of the moment, some ways to try to start again, in the absolute belief that ethics and teamwork are the winning weapons for the entire food and wine chain .