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新冠疫情之下,传统红酒厂如何突出重围

新冠疫情之下,传统红酒厂如何突出重围

Eric J. Lyman 2021年04月05日
和大多数的葡萄酒生产国一样,意大利的葡萄酒行业也遭到了新冠肺炎疫情的重创。

碧安帝山迪庄园(Biondi Santi)是意大利的顶级酒庄之一,它生产了一款2012年的塔尔奇诺布鲁奈罗特酿红葡萄酒(Brunello di Montalcino Riserva),其历史地位可能将不亚于“82年的拉菲”。但这款酒的诞生也是几经波折。它是一款顶级的意大利红酒,《葡萄酒观察家》杂志(Wine Spectator)给予了它96分的极高评价,另外,它也是碧安帝山迪庄园的族长佛朗哥·比昂迪·山迪酿造的最后一款酒。

弗朗哥·山迪是费鲁乔·山迪的孙子,后者在1988年发明了布鲁奈罗红葡萄酒。1944年,纳粹德军向北撤退,途经意大利的著名红酒产区托斯卡纳时,弗朗哥帮他父亲把不少珍贵陈酒藏在了一面假墙后面,这才让这些宝贵的陈酒躲过一劫。弗朗哥在1970年接管了庄园,一直经营至2013年去世时为止,享年91岁。而这款红酒,也是他去世几个月前酿造的最后一批产品。

碧安帝山迪庄一直计划将这款酒打造成一款向弗朗哥致敬的产品,所以它决定,要把这批酒在家族的酒窖里陈放数年,直到它们进入最佳的饮用年限。

为什么说它的面世几经波折呢?因为酒刚刚陈放好,新冠疫情就来了。

红酒制造商佛朗哥·比昂迪·山迪(卒于2013年)在意大利托斯卡纳的碧安帝山迪庄园。图片来源:Barbara Alper—Getty Images

被迫改革的古老行业

和大多数的葡萄酒生产国一样,意大利的葡萄酒行业也遭到了新冠肺炎疫情的重创。

酒庄雇佣的工人很多是季节性的短工,其中很多居住在东欧地区。自疫情爆发以来,由于各国纷纷出台旅行限制,导致大量工人难以在2020年的葡萄成熟季回到意大利。目前,各大酒庄正在加紧让工人接种新冠疫苗,好让他们尽快返回工作岗位。

另外,由于意大利和多数欧洲国家的餐饮企业大都处于关闭状态,各大酒庄只得将注意力投向那些疫情已经得到控制的非传统市场——尤其是亚洲国家。

好在葡萄酒的网购市场也在蓬勃发展。今年2月,意大利咨询公司Nomisma表示,2020年,网购市场新增用户账户超过800万个。在意大利,“红酒在线”的关键词搜索量在一年内翻了一番。

吉亚尼·加利亚尔多是意大利皮埃蒙特地区著名的巴罗洛酒庄的负责人。他表示,葡萄酒行业正在经历一些变化,而这些变化将成为未来很长时间里的“新常态”。他指出,用工情况会逐步恢复正常,但整个行业对亚洲市场的重视必然会持续下去。

加利亚尔多开发中国市场已经20多年了,他告诉《财富》杂志:“其他的主要市场已经成熟了,但亚洲仍然有数亿人的葡萄酒消费潜力。疫情只是进一步加速了这个进程。”

小规模,大回报

加利亚尔多认为,线上市场将继续占据葡萄酒行业的主导地位。不过目前的情形有可能会模糊向餐饮企业销售与向消费者直接销售之间的界限。

“线上销售要比常规的餐饮渠道快得多。以前,餐饮企业会监测葡萄酒的消费情况,如果哪种葡萄酒库存少了,就会一次订购60到80瓶,这些酒会在一周或10天内送到。现在餐饮渠道的销量下降了,而且如果一家餐厅的某种葡萄酒的库存不足了,他们就可以在网上下单,当天下午就能够收到五六瓶。”

他说:“在疫情之后,葡萄酒的销量会上去,但我认为,葡萄酒的销售渠道已经不会回到过去的样子。”

在“后疫情时代”,专业品酒的形式也会和以前有所不同。在疫情之前,葡萄酒行业经常邀请品酒大师、分销商和高端收藏家举办品酒会,这种品酒会要么在酒庄举办——里面当然离不开各种派对,要么就是在纽约、伦敦、香港、迪拜等国际大都市的某家豪华酒店里举办。

但对碧安帝山迪庄园的这款2012年的布鲁奈罗特酿红酒来说,这两种选择都不具有可行性,所以碧安帝山迪庄园选择了举办虚拟品酒会。

虚拟品酒会貌似简单,举办起来却复杂得多。每位参加者都会收到一瓶邮寄的红酒,并附有适当饮用温度的详细说明。说明要求,红酒必须在饮用前四个小时打开,它甚至对酒杯的大小和形状都做了详细规定。这些都是为了确保每个人都可以品尝到同样的红酒特质。对顶级红酒来说,温度差了一两度,或者酒杯差了一号,就会给口感带来明显的区别。

我的这瓶红酒是在品酒会前两天收到的,我认真遵守了这些规矩,马上把它放进了EuroCave红酒冷却柜里,并且把我所有的酒杯都测量了一遍,以找到正确的杯型。我甚至用疫情期间用来自测体温的温度计反复检查了酒瓶的温度。

主持这次活动的,是弗朗哥的孙子唐克雷迪·碧安帝·山迪。一群意大利的红酒写手也参加了活动,他们自然不会吝惜溢美之辞。活动过程中,我多次听到了 “极品”和“最佳”这两个词。一位参加者甚至宣称,他“永远不会忘记”第一口的口感。

就我个人而言,我承认这款酒口感的复杂感和平衡感,虽然这款酒已经醒了几个小时,但它的味道还是有些闭塞。我比较喜欢成熟的葡萄酒,所以我还是希望它能够再在酒窑里陈放几年。

唐克雷迪则暗示,我的想法已经过时了。他表示,碧安帝山迪庄园的红酒发布战略也在与时俱进,包括建议大家在葡萄酒比较“年轻”的时候饮用。

“布鲁奈罗特酿红酒是一款可以陈放很长时间的酒,这是千真万确的。”他说:“但是,我认为人们可能会夸大红酒需要陈放的时间。这一点是我们需要改变的。”

在“后疫情时代”,品酒会的形式跟过去也不一样了。图为本文作者正在参加布鲁奈罗特酿红酒的线上品酒会。图片来源:Eric J. Lyman

在品酒会结束后,我和碧安帝山迪庄园的公关主管莱内·布切利聊了聊。他认为,唐克雷迪谈到的很多改革措施,将越来越多地通过线上平台推出,就像这场线上品酒会。虽然它的体验感可能不如线下品酒会,但它确实有其独特的优势,比如在成本方面。即便把送给每个人的红酒都算上——将近500欧元一瓶的价格确实不便宜,但至少省去了参会者的机票钱。同时这也扩大了活动的范围。

告诉我:“这确实不是我们想象的大型发布会的场面,但它进展得很顺利。我认为,即便在疫情结束后,这种方法可能仍然会在我们的战略中扮演一定角色。”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

碧安帝山迪庄园(Biondi Santi)是意大利的顶级酒庄之一,它生产了一款2012年的塔尔奇诺布鲁奈罗特酿红葡萄酒(Brunello di Montalcino Riserva),其历史地位可能将不亚于“82年的拉菲”。但这款酒的诞生也是几经波折。它是一款顶级的意大利红酒,《葡萄酒观察家》杂志(Wine Spectator)给予了它96分的极高评价,另外,它也是碧安帝山迪庄园的族长佛朗哥·比昂迪·山迪酿造的最后一款酒。

弗朗哥·山迪是费鲁乔·山迪的孙子,后者在1988年发明了布鲁奈罗红葡萄酒。1944年,纳粹德军向北撤退,途经意大利的著名红酒产区托斯卡纳时,弗朗哥帮他父亲把不少珍贵陈酒藏在了一面假墙后面,这才让这些宝贵的陈酒躲过一劫。弗朗哥在1970年接管了庄园,一直经营至2013年去世时为止,享年91岁。而这款红酒,也是他去世几个月前酿造的最后一批产品。

碧安帝山迪庄一直计划将这款酒打造成一款向弗朗哥致敬的产品,所以它决定,要把这批酒在家族的酒窖里陈放数年,直到它们进入最佳的饮用年限。

为什么说它的面世几经波折呢?因为酒刚刚陈放好,新冠疫情就来了。

被迫改革的古老行业

和大多数的葡萄酒生产国一样,意大利的葡萄酒行业也遭到了新冠肺炎疫情的重创。

酒庄雇佣的工人很多是季节性的短工,其中很多居住在东欧地区。自疫情爆发以来,由于各国纷纷出台旅行限制,导致大量工人难以在2020年的葡萄成熟季回到意大利。目前,各大酒庄正在加紧让工人接种新冠疫苗,好让他们尽快返回工作岗位。

另外,由于意大利和多数欧洲国家的餐饮企业大都处于关闭状态,各大酒庄只得将注意力投向那些疫情已经得到控制的非传统市场——尤其是亚洲国家。

好在葡萄酒的网购市场也在蓬勃发展。今年2月,意大利咨询公司Nomisma表示,2020年,网购市场新增用户账户超过800万个。在意大利,“红酒在线”的关键词搜索量在一年内翻了一番。

吉亚尼·加利亚尔多是意大利皮埃蒙特地区著名的巴罗洛酒庄的负责人。他表示,葡萄酒行业正在经历一些变化,而这些变化将成为未来很长时间里的“新常态”。他指出,用工情况会逐步恢复正常,但整个行业对亚洲市场的重视必然会持续下去。

加利亚尔多开发中国市场已经20多年了,他告诉《财富》杂志:“其他的主要市场已经成熟了,但亚洲仍然有数亿人的葡萄酒消费潜力。疫情只是进一步加速了这个进程。”

小规模,大回报

加利亚尔多认为,线上市场将继续占据葡萄酒行业的主导地位。不过目前的情形有可能会模糊向餐饮企业销售与向消费者直接销售之间的界限。

“线上销售要比常规的餐饮渠道快得多。以前,餐饮企业会监测葡萄酒的消费情况,如果哪种葡萄酒库存少了,就会一次订购60到80瓶,这些酒会在一周或10天内送到。现在餐饮渠道的销量下降了,而且如果一家餐厅的某种葡萄酒的库存不足了,他们就可以在网上下单,当天下午就能够收到五六瓶。”

他说:“在疫情之后,葡萄酒的销量会上去,但我认为,葡萄酒的销售渠道已经不会回到过去的样子。”

在“后疫情时代”,专业品酒的形式也会和以前有所不同。在疫情之前,葡萄酒行业经常邀请品酒大师、分销商和高端收藏家举办品酒会,这种品酒会要么在酒庄举办——里面当然离不开各种派对,要么就是在纽约、伦敦、香港、迪拜等国际大都市的某家豪华酒店里举办。

但对碧安帝山迪庄园的这款2012年的布鲁奈罗特酿红酒来说,这两种选择都不具有可行性,所以碧安帝山迪庄园选择了举办虚拟品酒会。

虚拟品酒会貌似简单,举办起来却复杂得多。每位参加者都会收到一瓶邮寄的红酒,并附有适当饮用温度的详细说明。说明要求,红酒必须在饮用前四个小时打开,它甚至对酒杯的大小和形状都做了详细规定。这些都是为了确保每个人都可以品尝到同样的红酒特质。对顶级红酒来说,温度差了一两度,或者酒杯差了一号,就会给口感带来明显的区别。

我的这瓶红酒是在品酒会前两天收到的,我认真遵守了这些规矩,马上把它放进了EuroCave红酒冷却柜里,并且把我所有的酒杯都测量了一遍,以找到正确的杯型。我甚至用疫情期间用来自测体温的温度计反复检查了酒瓶的温度。

主持这次活动的,是弗朗哥的孙子唐克雷迪·碧安帝·山迪。一群意大利的红酒写手也参加了活动,他们自然不会吝惜溢美之辞。活动过程中,我多次听到了 “极品”和“最佳”这两个词。一位参加者甚至宣称,他“永远不会忘记”第一口的口感。

就我个人而言,我承认这款酒口感的复杂感和平衡感,虽然这款酒已经醒了几个小时,但它的味道还是有些闭塞。我比较喜欢成熟的葡萄酒,所以我还是希望它能够再在酒窑里陈放几年。

唐克雷迪则暗示,我的想法已经过时了。他表示,碧安帝山迪庄园的红酒发布战略也在与时俱进,包括建议大家在葡萄酒比较“年轻”的时候饮用。

“布鲁奈罗特酿红酒是一款可以陈放很长时间的酒,这是千真万确的。”他说:“但是,我认为人们可能会夸大红酒需要陈放的时间。这一点是我们需要改变的。”

在品酒会结束后,我和碧安帝山迪庄园的公关主管莱内·布切利聊了聊。他认为,唐克雷迪谈到的很多改革措施,将越来越多地通过线上平台推出,就像这场线上品酒会。虽然它的体验感可能不如线下品酒会,但它确实有其独特的优势,比如在成本方面。即便把送给每个人的红酒都算上——将近500欧元一瓶的价格确实不便宜,但至少省去了参会者的机票钱。同时这也扩大了活动的范围。

她告诉我:“这确实不是我们想象的大型发布会的场面,但它进展得很顺利。我认为,即便在疫情结束后,这种方法可能仍然会在我们的战略中扮演一定角色。”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

The historic 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from Biondi Santi represented a challenge for one of Italy’s most storied wine producers. Not only was 2012 an excellent vintage in Tuscany—Wine Spectator rated the vintage 96 points out of 100—but it was also the last wine made by family patriarch Franco Biondi Santi.

Franco, the grandson of Ferruccio, the man who “invented” the Brunello appellation in 1888, famously helped his father hide old reserves behind a fake wall when the Nazis retreated north through Tuscany in 1944. He took over the estate in 1970, and guided it until 2013 when he died at the age of 91, a few months into the vinification process for the 2012 Riserva.

Biondi Santi long planned to release the wine as a special homage to Franco, vowing to let the bottles age in the family cellars until they were at the start of what is likely to be a long peak for drinking.

The challenge? By the time the bottles were ready, the world was in the middle of a pandemic.

An ancient trade forced to adapt

As in most wine-producing countries, Italy’s wine industry has been turned on its head by the global coronavirus outbreak.

Travel restrictions made it difficult for seasonal workers—many of whom live in Eastern Europe—to return to Italy for the 2020 grape harvest, for example. Now, winemakers are pushing to have workers vaccinated quicker so they can work closer together in the cellar.

With restaurants and bars mostly closed across Italy and in most of the rest of Europe, attention turned to non-traditional export markets where the virus has been under control—most notably in Asia.

Online wine sales have also boomed. Nomisma, an Italian consultancy, reported in February that more than 8 million new customer accounts had been created with online sellers in the previous year. Internet searches in Italy for the term “vino online” doubled in a year, Nomisma said.

According to Gianni Gagliardo, owner of the well-regarded and eponymous Barolo-producing wine estate in Piedmont, some of the changes the industry is experiencing will be long-lasting. The labor situation, he said, will return to normal. But the emphasis on Asian export markets is here to stay.

“Other major markets are mature, but in Asia, there is the potential for hundreds of millions of new wine drinkers,” Gagliardo, who has been selling wine in China for more than 20 years, told Fortune. “The pandemic has only accelerated a process.”

Small batch, big return

Gagliardo also believes that online wine sales will continue to dominate. However, he noted, the current situation may blur the lines between sales to restaurants and sales direct to consumers.

“Online sales are much faster than regular restaurant distribution,” he said. “Before, a restaurant would monitor where it was running low in its cellar and order, say, 60 or 80 bottles that would arrive in a week or ten days. Now sales are lower, and if a restaurant starts to run low on a particular wine, they can place an online order and get five or six replacement bottles that afternoon.

“After the pandemic, the volumes will go up,” he said. “But I don’t see wine distribution going back to the way it used to be.”

Nor will professional wine tastings. Before the pandemic, a tasting conducted for wine critics, distributors, and high-end collectors would either be hosted by the producer—with parties flying in for the event—or with representatives of the winery setting up shop at a posh hotel in New York, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, or some other metropolis.

Neither was an option for the release of Biondi Santi’s 2012 Brunello Riserva—so the company went virtual.

It was more complicated than it sounds: each participant was mailed a bottle of the wine that came with specific instructions for achieving the proper serving-temperature. The same instructions called for the bottle to be opened four hours prior to the tasting, and it even insisted on the size and shape of the wine goblet to be used—all designed to assure that everyone was tasting wine with the same characteristics. A degree or two difference or the wrong-sized wine glass can make a noticeable difference with top wines.

My box containing the ’12 Riserva showed up two days before the tasting, and I took the rules seriously—immediately placing it in my EuroCave wine cooler, and measuring all my mismatched wine glasses to find the right sized one. I even used the digital thermometer I bought for the coronavirus to double-check the temperature of the bottle.

Tancredi Biondi Santi, Franco’s grandson, hosted the event. A group of Italian wine writers joined us. They were effusive in their praise. I heard the words “superb” and “optimal” more than a few times. One participant even declared he would "never forget" his first sip.

Personally, I recognized the wine's austere complexity and balance, but it still seemed closed even after being uncorked for several hours. I’m a fan of mature wines, and I thought to myself I would have preferred to open it after it’d been in my cellar for a few more years.

Tancredi later implied that my thinking was out of date; he spoke about Biondi Santi’s evolving release strategy, which includes advocating for wines to be drunk on the younger end.

“The Brunello Riserva is seen as a wine that can be aged for a very long time, and that’s true,” he said. “But I also think people can exaggerate how long a wine needs to age. This is something we’re trying to change.”

After the tasting, I spoke to Lene Bucelli, Biondi Santi’s head of communications, who predicted that much of the efforts Tancredi spoke about would increasingly take place via online hookup, like our tasting. It’s not the same as an in-person tasting, she said, but it did offer some advantages, including cost, even after figuring in the not-insignificant cost of the bottles of wine—nearly €500 each in the case of the Biondi Santi Riserva—sent to each participant. But that is balanced out by eliminating travel costs, Bucelli said, while also expanding the reach of an event.

“This isn’t the way we imagined doing this big release,” she told me. “But it went well, and I think that doing things this way will remain part of how we do things even after the crisis is over.”

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