Wine Stories

Tannico: interview with Marco Magnocavallo

Written by Piero Pardini

There are women and men in the universe of entrepreneurship who, through apparently simple intuitions, defined by some as even banal, but which are based on great managerial skills, have given their own mark to national markets and beyond.
Marco Magnocavallo is one of these enlightened men. He understood the potential of the network and created a new way of doing entrepreneurship in the marketing of wines, using a group of valid collaborators.
With “Tannico”, this is the name of his creature, he has structured and made available to the public a large wine shop that can be visited comfortably from your home, in the middle of a park, within the walls of your office or comfortably seated on a high-speed train. .

Let’s find out more about the “Tannico” phenomenon from the words of its creator, an entrepreneur at the service of entrepreneurship in the wine market but not only.

© Tannico

Apparently, simple ideas almost always turn out to be the winning ones. You have “virtually” taken a wine shop and transferred it to the web. How was this intuition born? Over a glass of wine?

The idea of “Tannico” was born in 2012 when, within the Venture Capital Principia Fund, where I was a Venture Partner, I was studying the e-commerce market. In the various analyzes, I had identified how the wine market was – in Italy but also in other European countries, far behind and without any reference player. I also imagined that a company with pan-European ambitions could only be born in Italy or France for cultural reasons, relations with wineries and professionalism. We therefore started at the beginning of 2013 with the simple idea of bringing a traditional wine shop online, creating a simple e-commerce site. Over the years, then, as we studied the dynamics of the wine market, we became aware of some system inefficiencies and new opportunities for “Tannico”.

Over the years, “Tannico” has consolidated its presence on the market, becoming an authentic point of reference? What is the secret to this success?

The recipe for our success is quite complex and made up of many different ingredients together with an infinite tenacity. In my opinion, the main ingredients are: team, vision, courage. Another essential ingredient is the completely different way of describing the world of wine, with a precise “tone of voice” with which we managed to move away from the legacy of the sector, telling about wine in a way that is closer to people and, therefore, understandable. Other fundamental components, together with the contents, were the breadth of the assortment and the punctuality of the delivery service, stock, customer care. Apart from the tenacity and enthusiasm that supported us from the beginning, this is not a recipe that we discovered right away. It was a journey: we started very quickly and in the very first moment without giving too much weight to these elements but then we worked hard on it. The first three years we have been committed to the expansion of the catalog, in the last three years we have greatly refined our model on the one hand on communication and on the other hand on logistics, customer care and brand positioning.

© Tannico

Almost obvious question: how much has the current global health situation affected your activities? 

At the beginning, like everyone else, we had to reorganize some of our processes, from the strengthening of our Customer Care department, to manage the increase in requests resulting from the increase in online purchases – and the logistics operations based on the numerous security measures and constant sanitization. spaces and staff. We had to review the staff shifts, in order to guarantee a lower concentration of employees per shift and, at the same time, to guarantee an adequate service for the growth of orders observed. For two months, we have also eliminated the possibility of paying cash on delivery, thus avoiding contact with the staff at the time of delivery. Once these difficulties have been overcome, the increase in online sales has inevitably turned into an opportunity for our business. 2020 was a year not only of a boom in online wine purchases but also of changes in consumption behavior. At the beginning of the first lock-down, for example, we recorded a 100% increase in volumes, 10% in purchase frequency and 5% in bottle quantities per order placed. Also in the following months the growth in volumes continued but with due and different ones considerations. If in the first closure the data showed the intent of the Italians to stock up, in the following months this no longer seems to be a rule and indeed, once coexistence with the virus has begun, what emerges most is the consolidation of use of this new channel. At the B2C service level we have adapted to changes in customer requests both on the timing side, shortening them to 60 minutes in the city of Milan with the launch of “Tannico Express”, and on the expansion of our selection, obviously according to new needs. of the consumer as by consistently expanding the section of natural wines (on, at the “Tannico Wine Bar” and in “Tannico Express”) and by enlarging our direct imports, for example the French ones. Obviously, having also changed the routines of the Italians, we responded by accelerating the entertainment projects within the walls of the house and which were already under development such as the”Tannico Flying School online” and “Tannico Wine Tasting”, via Zoom (which gave the possibility to customers of “Tannico”, or simple enthusiasts, to taste from home in the company of the greatest exponents of Italian wineries: Cantine Ferrari with the presence of Marcello Lunelli, Antonio Rallo of DonnaFugata and Klaus Gasser of Cantine Terlano). We have also experimented with new ways of organizing events by collaborating for example with Veuve Clicquot in organizing two Master Experiences directly at our customers’ homes (see details here) and we are still working in this sense on projects that we will launch in the coming months.

Are companies looking for “Tannico” or is it the other way around?

Just as we have seen a rapid adoption of the online channel by end customers, many wineries, which until before the pandemic were timidly watching, also proved to be much more determined in embracing this new direct-to-consumer sales channel. We can therefore say that, by now, companies are definitely looking for “Tannico”, as they find a winning solution also in WinePlatform, the platform that, since 2017, has supported wineries in the online sale of their products to their end customers. WinePlatform currently has over 200 active wineries and in 2020 has seen more than quadruple both the number of customers served and orders handled in 2020, for a total of over 78,000 bottles sold.

What are the major difficulties of global marketing. What are those encountered by your company?

Certainly, the management of export practices in the various countries that are very complicated in the world of wine.

In your opinion, the strength of your company consists in the great variety of offers proposed or in the ease of use of the same, and if there is a small criticality what could it be? Maybe, the human relationship?

Surely, one of our strengths lies in the ease of use of our services but at the same time they are also the wide selection, the punctuality of the service including that of Customer Care, the storytelling of wine, informal entertainment and the multi-channel approach on which we have invested heavily in 2020, also arriving offline with the opening of the first “Tannico Wine Bar” in Milan, in via Savona 17.

© Tannico

Painful note, the counterfeiting of products. How is it protected, and what are the strategies implemented by Tannico to face this scourge of the markets?

In “Tannico” we have a dedicated team of sommeliers who take care not only of the selection of references to be included in the catalog, but also of quality and conformity controls.

Not long ago “Tannico” has not only been an online wine shop, but a school where wine is talked about, tasted and talked about at 360 °. What do you expect from this new commercial proposal?

Since its inception, “Tannico” has had the objective on the one hand of revolutionizing the buying and selling logic of the wine sector and, on the other, of telling and explaining all this with its unmistakable approach, always fresh and far from clichés that revolves around the world of wine. We started investing on the “Educational” side in 2019 when we found great success in informal meetings with our most loyal customers in our office in via Chiossetto. Seeing a positive response in our approach from digital to offline, we began to organize real scheduled appointments of wine courses – “modernized” and for each level of learning – on site, the Tannico Flying Schools, which are, in short, you will arrive in Rome and in 2020 also in the “Tannico Wine Bar”. In 2020, to respond to the confinement within the home walls of the Italians – we have also accelerated one of our multi-channel projects, that is to bring the “Tannico Flying online School” with the launch of the “Netflix” style platform which gives access to a large pool of video courses; thematic itineraries; tastings with guests, winemakers, oenologists and sommeliers; practical how-to to explain in a simple and complete way everything that revolves around the world of wine. The subscription, with an annual launch cost of € 79, allows access to all the content on the platform with a continuous monthly refill. We strongly believe in our learning component and we are continuing to work on new projects.

How do you see “Tannico” in 10 years and, inevitably, how will your figure be projected into the near future?

Surely, in 10 years the presence of “Tannico” will be much more consolidated and widespread abroad. Already, starting from this year we are concentrating many efforts in this direction and we have the goal of adding several new countries to the 18 in which we are already active and present. We also imagine that “Tannico”, over the years, will play an increasingly fundamental and decisive role in changing the sales dynamics of the wine sector and the agreement with ICE is an example of this. I therefore imagine “Tannico” as an ecosystem of solutions and platforms to support the wine supply chain both in Italy and abroad.

About the author

Piero Pardini

Founder and editor of "The Wolf Post".
Freelance Journalist.
Wine critic and Sommelier.
He has also written about sports and technology for some specialized magazines.
Co-author of the authorized biography "Gianni Clerici - The writer, the poet the journalist", Le Lettere, Firenze.

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