Founded in 2009 by Giuseppe Tripodi, Wines of Italy Ltd., is one of the most prosperous wine import / export companies in Ireland.
Tripodi has over 50 years of experience in the sector, starting as an oenologist, continuing as a restaurateur up to the business of export wine.
Wines of Italy Ltd., puts the vast experience of its founder at the service of the consumer by proposing a large number of companies from all over Italy. Not only wine but also a selection of high quality grappas, liqueurs and craft beers.
Let’s find out more about this reality from the words of Giuseppe Tripodi.
When Wines of Italy was born, what were the difficulties you encountered at the beginning and what goals did you achieve?
Wines of Italy Ltd was founded in January 2010 and, like all commercial activities that have just started, it paid for the difficulties of every start of activity. Difficulties accentuated by the fact that the period was not favorable due to the severe recession that Ireland and the whole world experienced in those years. At that time, some 80,000 Irish people emigrated in search of work, not counting non-Irish residents of the Republic who returned to their countries of origin. The people, although not deprived of going to the restaurant, consumed the necessary and, as regards the wine instead of consuming one or more bottles, they chose the wine by the glass and always the cheapest.
The choice of Wine of Italy ltd., from the beginning, was to serve only and exclusively the restaurants, leaving out other possible sales channels. This heavily penalized the first years of activity, given the difficult period.
The most positive aspect, however, apart from my typically Calabrian stubbornness, was having generated sales, despite the moment of crisis. This because, despite starting the business in a complex period, I managed to create strong ties with several restaurateurs, known when I was working as a seller for another importer.
Compared to your beginnings, how has the demand for Italian wine evolved in Ireland? Is there a greater knowledge on the part of your customers of Italian wines or do they trust exclusively your experience?
We are constantly committed to promoting and making imported wines known, both to the customers we serve and to those we plan to acquire because we believe that Italian wine in Ireland is not yet well known in the important variety and quality offered.
We try to explain the quality, richness and diversity offered by the world of wine in Italy. It is not always easy, especially with new customers who, only after a consolidated relationship, increase our suggestions with greater interest.
Are there wines more in demand than others, perhaps coming from specific Italian regions, or does the good name of Italian wine, regardless of the geographical area, still win?
Unfortunately, there are few staff in restaurant halls who can guide customers in the choice of wines. The consumer relies on the list that the restaurateur submits to her/him and, consequently, the customer selects among those few wines that are on the list, making the choice fall on those names sh/he already knows, often without knowing which country those wines come from.
Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon are the most popular Italian white wines with the Gavi di Gavi that is creating more and more space. Chianti, Valpolicella and Nero d’Avola are among the most requested for reds.
Our continuous suggestion to the restaurateur is to dare, including in the list of wines with a little known name because there is always and in any case a good slice of customers who frequent the restaurants open and curious, available to discover new wines and new flavors in provided that they are proposed to him.
What factors influence the choice of the Irish consumer when buying Italian wines?
The choice of the Irish consumer in regards to Italian wine is influenced, mainly, by the fascination that Italy and Made in Italy exert on everyone, or at least the overwhelming majority.
With the appeal that Italy enjoys, it would be enough to do very little to get a lot. The infinity of Italian restaurants and pizzerias operating in Ireland forces the owner to also have Italian wines on the list because the customer who goes to the Italian restaurant wants to eat and drink Italian even if, very often, everything is given to the customer.
The large and well-integrated Italian community in Irish society is another very important factor in promoting Made in Italy among the Irish. When you go to dinner and in the Irish group there is an Italian, the choice always falls on Italian wine. It is the Italian who chooses because in the eyes of the Irish, we Italians are experts and competent in everything.
Another important factor that orientates the Irish on Italian wine is due to the fact that an increasing number of Irish people come to spend their holidays in Italy and, returning home, ask for those wines they have had the opportunity to taste during their stay.
How do you select Italian companies to enter the IE market?
I have been a winemaker for over 25 years, I have participated in at least 25 editions of Vinitaly, both as a wine producer and as a buyer for the family wine shop. I traveled the length and breadth of Italy going to propose the famous “Greek white” wine produced by the family business, “La Vintripodi”, at the most important Italian wine shops. All this wealth of knowledge and contacts facilitates us a lot in the selection and choice of those wineries for which we believe there can be space among our customers.
An indispensable element that we always and obstinately seek is quality. Before starting the collaboration relationship we go to find the customer. The more you know the producer and the wines she/he produces, the less difficult it is to sell them.
How important is direct contact with your manufacturing customers to you?
The direct, continuous and constant contact between us and the producer and between us and our clientele is very important, vital and extremely profitable and productive. We are the operational arm of the producer, an important element for our customers because with the wines we select and supply we contribute, in our small way, to the success of the restaurateur.
Pandemic: how has the wine export sector changed and what critical issues has it highlighted?
The pandemic has upset what were the consolidated rules of trade. Most importers have started selling online if they haven’t already. We have remained faithful to our initial choice, offering imported wines only for catering. Their closure, for such a long period, has severely penalized us, causing our sales to collapse. With the reopening of the premises to the public we have the region to think that we will be rewarded more than before.
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