We were able to contact again Mr Sebastiano Ramello in Italy, a well-known international consultant of wines and international markets, expert in the promotion of Italian wines in the world and founder of the world’s first research on food intolerance linked to wine, “Low Histamines” (www.lowhistamines.com) and ask him some questions about the trend of the Italian wine market at the gates of what seems to be an exit from the two years of pandemic in cause of Covid 19.
Mr. Ramello can you explain to our readers what you do?
“I work in the last 12 years to promote Italian wines and wineries in the main world markets, I collaborate closely with wineries, importers, distributors, associations and industry media. I am based where I was born and where my family was born, in the province of Cuneo in the Piemonte region of Italy, but in the last 12 years I have spent most of my time abroad, between North America, Europe and Asia especially between China, Hong Kong and India by promoting Italian wines “.
What have these last two years of the pandemic been like for you?
“As with most people and companies was a difficult moment, unfortunately I had to interrupt my travels and projects, I spent most of the time trying to maintain what I have created over the years through internet communication, often organizing remote wine tastings using applications such as Zoom, with the complicity of customers and collaborators in the various States where I have operated. For the rest, staying for a long time in Italy, when there was the possibility to move, I dedicated myself more to the search for new Italian wines and wineries to take to those Countries where there is a demand for wines “.
Do you think we are moving towards a reopening and recovery as regards your sector?
“Yes, I think so, only a few weeks ago after a long time I was able again to accompany an importer on a visit to the wine territories of the Piemonte region, an importer who came specifically from the Asian continent in search of Italian wines to import. Mr. Palash Vaswani one of the youngest wine importers in Mumbai in India, very attentive to the high quality wines of my territory, also part of the Apex Wine Club of Mumbai of which I am also an honorary member and international Adviser. This means that we are slowly starting to move again. Also because it is difficult to promote a product like wine from a distance, to understand wine, wine must be tasted. Also from other countries, where I have been working for at least ten years, such as Hong Kong and China, it seems that new potential customers are starting to come forward again, importers interested in buying Italian wines. Fortunately, years ago I was one of the first in Italy to use the Chinese application WeChat which facilitates online communication and promotion in China, with the consequent establishment of new contacts interested in Italian wines, with this method I was able to keep the promotions at a distance. Unfortunately, for the moment, visiting China is still too complicated, as is Hong Kong where they are still asking for a 7-day quarantine even for vaccinated people; I hope that soon we can return to normal, also because many collaborators and customers are waiting for me in these countries to be able to start again together”.
It should not be forgotten that Italy is the largest wine producer in the world and with France the country that has the most historicity in this sector. A country that also has much to teach India, which for decades has been pursuing the path of wine production, which everyone hopes that one day, with the right promotions, can be exported, like Italian wines, all over the world.
A few days ago through WhatUpp you told me that in Italy a new project related to the promotion of Italian wines has been set in motion, what is it about?
“It is a project linked to “Rosé” wines of which I was immediately fascinated, which mainly and finally provides for giving the right visibility and name to Italian Rosé wines, which until now have been mostly recognized with French terms; Rosé is a French word, while this new association has brought to the Italian Ministry the project to group, who wants to join, we mean the Italian wineries that produce rosé wines, under a single umbrella, so as to identify their wines with the right Italian name: “Rosa”; “rosa” in English mean pink. After all in Italy there is white wine, red and now Rosa. Behind this new project there is also an eco-sustainable desire in order not only to address the right message in the world of Italian pink wines, but also a message that, all together we can created a better world”
Will you have a role in this new promotion association?
“For now it is still in the definition phase, I was asked, by its founder, a well-known Italian sommelier, to join as an active member, probably as a reference point for the Piemonte region but also as a consultant in international promotion and eco sustainability, the latter has always been a fundamental point in my life. But as I said, everything is still to be defined, I will probably be able to tell you something more precise towards the end of the year ”.
I take it as a promise, towards the end of the year we can organize a new interview for “WineToday”, so that you can tell us more about this association, what it aims for, who are the members and the wineries that are part of it.
Do you think that in the future there will be collaborations between Italy and India in the promotion of wine on both sides?
“I strongly believe in the potential of the Indian market, I have been going to India for 22 years now, I have seen its changes, I have seen it grow. Many interesting situations have arisen that can certainly help us in the promotion, such as the Apex Wine Club in Mumbai; many young Indians have taken the path of the wine business, many of them have become professionals who are very attentive to quality; more and more wineries that produce wines in India have been born, every year there are more and more new wine lovers and also the tourism related to wine and food is becoming more and more of interest also for the Indian regions where the wineries were born, a bit like it happened decades ago in Italy. In addition, India has the largest population in the world. The only problem that slows down the potential of this great country towards those who want to market are still the very high taxes on imports, if I’m not mistaken they are still more or less 350%, which means that a wine will costing the consumer, final, a price not for everyone, while in my opinion wine should be good for everyone. Anyway, I think the time has come to start important bilateral collaborations in the promotion of wines and wineries, after all, Indians love Italian culture and many Italians love Indian culture”.
For years we have been following your marketing skills in the wine sector and promotion of the territories, you have also created a brand on your image now known all over the world as “the man with the hat”. Many of us already know the meaning of this brand, can you still tell us its story?
Was born at the beginning of my business in the world of wine, a photograph taken by my mother while I was tasting a Barbaresco Docg wine and then graphically modified by my sister, the artist Francesca Ramello. I wanted something that resembled the posters of “Loutrec” an artist from Paris that I really like. The choice to use my image as a brand is because my intention is to be totally clear with my clients and collaborators and then it is easy to recognize. A person who puts his face on it. The hat I’m wearing, now also part of the brand, is a kind of lucky charm, the first one was given to me by a dear friend and past wine collaborator from NYC. The image of my brand is used during my promotions to increase the visibility of the promoted wineries and wines. The best selections, the wines, in my opinion, of the highest quality have a medal on the bottle that depicts my brand, this again to give it greater visibility.
Many magazines, international wine guides in the sector in recent years have reported this image in their articles.
When do you think you will come back to visit us here in India?
“I hope as soon as possible, as soon as traveling will become safe and simple, also because I have received many invitations from friends and collaborators and, after two years of online meetings, I would like to hold a course, some Italian wine tastings with friends and members of the Apex Wine Club of Mumbai and re-embrace an old friend, Mr. Sidd Banerji who many years ago had been my guest here in Piemonte in the Langa wine territory ”.
I thank on behalf of all the readers and from India Sebastiano Ramello from the Piemonte region, Italy, reminding our readers that for those who want to know better the professional Mr. Sebastiano Ramello can go to his FaceBook page: https: https://www.facebook.com/WineSelectionSebastianoRamello where he frequently talks about Italian wines, his work in the world as a promoter of Italian wines and international markets.