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Modernising a wine group in fast-changing times

How Tuscany's historic Piccini 1882 boosted sales to €68m in 2020 while reorganising, restructuring and rebranding…

 

CEO Mario Piccini is creating “an even more efficient, modern, and functional organisation”

Modernising a wine group in fast-changing times
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2021-06-15
The Piccini family, which runs five estates in Italy and a former cooperative, has responded to the economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic by creating a “new and more efficient organisation”. The business, which changed its name from Tenute Piccini to Piccini 1882 earlier this year, has invested more than €20m in the former cooperative Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico and its factories in San Gimignano, on a new 17,000sq m production plant for the group in Casole D’Elsa, and on the family’s historic headquarters in Castellina in Chianti.
The group, led by Mario Piccini and his sons Benedetta, Ginevra and Michelangelo, says it’s in a strong position approaching the second half of the year having implemented new strategies to overcome the difficult months of the pandemic.
The wine company produced more than 18 million bottles of wine in 2020 and saw revenues top €68m – up 7% compared to 2019’s €63.5m. Almost €44m worth of wine – approximately 65% of total turnover – was exported. Piccini 1882’s wines are now available in more than 80 markets.
These excellent results, during a difficult time for Italian producers, underscore the value of the company’s strategic repositioning process, started in 2020 and culminating at the beginning of this year with the group rebranding, and creating what CEO Mario Piccini (below) calls “an even more efficient, modern, and functional organisation”.

Mario Piccini
The rebranding, following the acquisition in 2018 of the former cooperative Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico, saw the business change its name to highlight the year of its foundation. The new name is used in all official communications of the group, whose five estates cover more than 200ha of vineyards from Chianti Classico to Maremma and the volcanic regions of Etna, in Sicily, and on the Vulture, in Basilicata.
“The philosophy of our family stays the same – deeply linked to values and traditions handed down from generation to generation as a starting point to produce top quality wines,” CEO Mario Piccini says. “However, we felt the need to take the company to an even higher level: we worked tenaciously to create a modern, efficient, and functional organisation and, from this point of view, Piccini 1882 represents the ability to read through the lines needed in these fast-changing times and to adopt the most appropriate solutions.”

Piccini Casole ext
Piccini bottling
Examples of modernisation include:

  • Centralising logistics and warehousing for all five estates (Fattoria di Valiano in Chianti Classico; Tenuta Moraia in Maremma; Villa al Cortile in Montalcino; Regio Cantina in Basilicata and Torre Mora in Sicily) at Piccini 1882’s new 17,000sq m plant in Casole d’Elsa (top), near Siena.
  • Installing three automatic bottling lines from Win&tech (above), equipped with pre-bottling filtration and sensors designed to detect any irregularities in production management. This year, Piccini 1882 has also introduced an inspector and sophisticated verification systems to ensure the finished product is as good as it can be. One of the production lines is dedicated to bag-in-box wines.
  • Introducing a water recovery line, monitoring the flow of water, and taking action to reduce waste (the new bottling lines, for example, offer significant savings in terms of water consumption compared to the previously used management and washing methods).
  • Investing in e-commerce.
“We tried to respond to the economic crisis with ideas and investments, the real key to overcoming the difficulties,” Mario says. “The 2020 exercise is obviously conditioned by the pandemic, which has called into question many of the activities we had foreseen. However, we have not stood still, far from it: we have run for cover by investing in products, planning new strategies for our reference markets and focusing on e-commerce to win over an increasingly large audience of winelovers with quality wines.”
The company’s online channel grew by 300% compared to the previous year, and was used to promote a new line of organic wines, Costa Toscana – which “tells the encounter between the boundless beauty of Tuscany and the infinity of the sea”. In addition to the Costa Toscana line, Piccini 1882 also created “another genuine interpretation of the Tuscan territory”, Solco Leggero Appassimento. This wine rediscovers the ancient winemaking tradition of light drying, which gives the wine a vigorous body and a silky tannic texture.

Piccini Costa Toscana Rosato 1
“During the months of the pandemic we asked ourselves how to meet the needs of an increasingly aware and passionate public,” Mario says. “We decided to make big investments in organic wines, such as the Costa Toscana project (above), an expression of this research. These are quality wines, also available on e-commerce platforms to be able to share organic and exclusive products with our most loyal customers. Right from the packaging, the labels wink at modernity, with a contemporary and captivating look, and enhance the brand and the universe of values to which they refer.”
Piccini 1882 also wants to promote, protect and support its supply chain, seeing it as a “valuable asset”.
Mario explains: “We strongly believe in the supply chain and our strategic choices go in this direction: help all the players involved in the production, distribution and sale of wine so that each one can contribute to the success of all. Italy needs industrial projects, behind which, however, there must be supply chain projects, because a single company can never grow if the territory where it operates and the stakeholders with whom it dialogues do not embrace its vision. Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico is a magnificent example of cooperation and support of the supply chain involving an entire territory, in addition to the winemakers who are part of it: a model not only oenological, but also productive, logistic and financial to which we look with pride and that we want to replicate in our industrial growth plans.”
To support its supply chain, Piccini 1882 has given new impetus to its communications, promoting a proactive and transparent communication model to establish a relationship of mutual trust between the company and its stakeholders. Piccini 1882 has recently enhanced its internal communication, launching a monthly magazine, the ‘Piccini 1882 Ambassador’, which is designed to keep employees, partners and clients informed about the company.
This project is part of the significant rebranding programme undertaken by the winery at the beginning of the year which completes the strategic repositioning of the company and signals the way ahead for the fourth and fifth generations of the Piccini family.

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