Interview with one of the main exponents in the promotion of Italian wine
Langa territory in Piemonte region
Exactly one year after his last business trip to Asia, which began as every year for over ten years from China, then Hong Kong and finally to India, we return to interview Mr. Sebastiano Ramello, one of the leading Italian exponents in the promotion of wine in the world.
(Sebastiano Ramello during wine promotion tour)
«Sebastiano, before talking about your Italian wine selections, are we curious to know how your promotion went in this last crazy year of pandemic?» «Dear Yesh, you said well, crazy year, which led us to look for new systems since in this last year traveling has been impossible, not only due to restrictions in individual and different states but also causes fear of getting sick and infecting other people. My work was done mostly from home, in that system that I already used often in the past, especially when I was traveling, called: “Smart-Working”. Fortunately, in the last 12 years of travel I have been able to select important contacts, names, importers, distributors in the wine sector with whom I have had the opportunity to meet in person in the past. So that technology, through email, social networks such as facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WeChat but also WhatUpp have allowed me to interact with many potential new customers interested in Italian wines. Thanks to Zoom I was able to carry out interactive tastings».
«Regarding interactive tastings, can you explain to our readers how they take place?» «I ship, or have the wineries ship, a sample of wines to a specific customer or potential customer, whether they are wine importers or distributors, in a specific country such as the United States, Hong Kong, China, England, India … once the sample has arrived, the importer organizes a meeting with a small number of his customers, we set a date and a time, I connect via Zoom or other interactive systems, uncork the same bottles that we sent as samples and together with the importer, by starting the remote tasting I explain the wine and its territory of origin. A system that seems to be successful and also cuts down on many expenses»
«Today your brand, Wine Selection Sebastiano Ramello, the man with the hat, is recognized by the main wine personalities in the world. We often see it in the form of a medal on important Italian wines and other times on the back labels, a way to give greater value and importance to the bottle of wine and to the winery. How did you come up with the idea of using your face as a registered trademark?» «From the beginning of my business I used to wear a hat, similar to those of the Italian gentlemen of the 30s, given to me by a dear friend and collaborator from NYC. People in the wine sector began to recognize me as the man with the hat, the newspapers, the guides of the wine-food sector, the televisions who interviewed me started to use my image always with the same model of hat so much that unintentionally it has become a real brand, so from a photograph taken during a tasting of Barbaresco Docg my sister Francesca, an Italian artist who in the past has also exhibited her paintings and sculptures in India, has designed and created my logo, brand, which many of you know by now. I decided to use my face as it seemed nice to put my face in it, a way of communicating to the world that my intention is to use a clear working system. Especially in a sector where names are often born and die within a few years. Over time it has become a brand requested by the wineries themselves who want it alongside their bottles».
«What do you think about the future?» «how things are going is not easy to understand what will happen in the future, also because this pandemic is not giving certainty. Certainly some systems will change, technology will play its part even if there will always be a need for people to go around the world. More and more BtoB online dating platforms will emerge. Even if for the moment I don’t believe much in fairs, interactive events in the wine sector that are offering especially from China, I still believe that wine is important to promote sitting at the table and it is sold, as we say in Italy, “with the legs under the table”».
«What do you think of the wine market in India, and what are the greatest difficulties for Italian wineries in penetrating our market?» «India is a great country with great potential, in recent years many successful wineries have sprung up in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, this means that Indians like wine.For Italian wineries there are two main problems, as well as for Indian wine merchants, the first is the still too high taxes that mean that imported wines can only be purchased by a small elite of people, a wine that in Italy starts at 2 Euro, around 150 Rs, arrives on the shelves in India at 12, 15 Euro, around 1000, 1600 Rs. An affordable price for only a few. Second is the cultural and linguistic difference that often places barriers between our two cultures, even if I think there are many similarities between India and Italy»
«How many years have you been in India?» «I was a young boy the first time I visited India and I immediately fell in love with it. I have been visiting it for 24 years now, in the past I also lived in India, based in Delhi, for about a year and a half».
«During our last meeting in India, I remember you spoke to me and suggested some wines from your territory, from the Piemonte region, north east Italy, one of the most important wine territories in the world, you can tell our readers a little about these wines and their territory of origin?»«As everyone knows, I am in favor of small and medium-sized wineries, also because high-quality wine is found in small family-run wineries often of the fourth, fifth generation.Among my Piedmontese wine selections there are some that I particularly love, for example the Barbera D’Alba Doc Superiore; Diano D’Alba Doc Low Histamines; Moscato D’Asti Docg of the “Veglio Michelino & Figlio” winery located in the municipality of Diano D’Alba, one of the 11 municipalities where by law it is allowed to produce Barolo Docg, considered the king of Italian wines. This family-run winery also produces two Barolo Docg with an excellent quality / price ratio.
Other wines that I particularly love are: Dogliani Docg Superiore, Barolo Docg and Langhe Barbera Doc of the fifth generation family-run “Ribote” winery located on the beautiful San Luigi hill in the heart of the Langa area, its owner, Fabrizio Porro is an oenologist very attached to traditions, in his vineyards no chemical fertilizers are used.
(Fabrizio Porro wine maker and owner winery Ribote)
Moving instead to the territory of Monferrato, among the wines I most appreciate are the Monferace Doc; “Augusta” Barbera D’Asti Docg Superiore and “Brunaldo” Monferrato Rosso Doc from the small “Alemat” winery that produces only 20,000 bottles a year, exclusively with the best grapes.
(Monferrato Rosso Doc by the winery Alemat)
In Piemonte there are many other excellent wines. In recent months I have carried out a selection of Barbaresco Docg and Bracchetto wines, a sparkling sweet wine for a wine importer in Hong Kong with whom I collaborate in wine selection and promotion.
«Regarding your food intolerance research linked to wine that you have been carrying out for almost ten years, “Low Histamines” wines www.lowhistamines.com you already told us about in your past interview, is there any news?» «The “Low Histamines” wines are the new frontier of wine, in my opinion the most interesting research in the wine sector of the last thirty years, wine is a food, considered liquid food, therefore like all foods it falls within intolerances, and the main is its high content of histamines. Currently there are good demand mainly in North America, England, Germany, some importers have started to import these unique wines to China and Australia.At the moment these wines are not present in India. And currently only one winery in the world produces wines with this characteristic, but we hope that soon other wineries, not only in Italy but also in other states, perhaps in India, will begin to use these innovative techniques and produce wines “Low Histamines “» «I remember that these are Doc and Docg wines with histamine content lower than 0.5mg / liter, wines that thanks to their quality and uniqueness, as suggested by various doctors and nutritionists, can also be suggested to those sensitive to wines and food intolerant to histamines».
(Wines doc and docg Low Histamines)
«We hope soon that this pandemic can end and that the world returns to normal so as to resume traveling, not only for work but also for pleasure as more and more Indians, lovers of good food and good wine are interested in food and wine holidays in the most important wine territories in the world. In short, what are the main places of tourist interest that you suggest?» «The province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region is certainly today one of the most important places in the world for connoisseurs of high quality wines and food and for lovers of outdoor holidays.Cuneo is the provincial capital, a beautiful city of only seventy thousand inhabitants at the foot of the mountain range of the Alps, a city formed for kilometers by ancient arcades where you can stroll and visit beautiful boutiques, restaurants and bars. Other beautiful towns, all a few kilometers away from each other are: Saluzzo with its ancient houses at the foot of mount Monviso with its 3841 meters above sea level; Fossano where you can admire the beautiful Acaja castle; Bene Vagienna, a small town where you can admire ancient Roman ruins, stay in beautiful and familiar Bed and Brekfast, one of the main areas for hunting the famous white truffle of Alba. A few kilometers away is the Langa area, one of the most important areas of high quality wine in the world, where you can admire an ocean of hills completely cultivated with vineyards, on which it is easy to admire ancient castles, among the most typical villages: Barolo, Monforte, La Morra, Diano D’Alba, Serralunga, Dogliani.
Places that can be visited, for the more sporty by bicycle, for the most romantic on a vespa (old Italian scooter) or aboard an old convertible car, or fly over its hills in a balloon. In addition to tasting some of the best wines in the world, there are many activities that can be done in the province of Cuneo:
Skiing in winter; spring and summer, climbing, walking in the high mountains, rafting and kayaking in beautiful rivers, horseback riding in the vineyards, cycling on breathtaking routes, car and motorcycle routes, views of beautiful palaces and castles, unique museums full of history.
(Sebastiano Ramello during Master Chef awards as one of the top Italian wine ambassador)
«Thank you for your time, we look forward to seeing you again in India and maybe, when we can, some of us come and visit you in the province of Cuneo».
For those interested in learning more about Italian wines, the wine territory of the Piemonte region in Italy and the activity of Mr. Sebastiano Ramello can contact him at his email: firstname.lastname@example.org