Domenico Clerico was a craftsman-artist of great humanity and inexhaustible curiosity, eager to make unforgettable wines. On the strength of an important legacy, his wife Giuliana and oenologist Oscar Arrivabene proceed with a production line that includes gradual elements of innovation both in the vineyard and in the cellar. With valuable results across the entire range, from the more straightforward Langhe, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera d'Alba to the enchanting Barolo wines made from fine crus such as Ginestra, Bussia, Mosconi in Monforte d'Alba and Baudana in Serralunga d'Alba. How are their exports going? We asked Oscar Arrivabene.
What is the percentage of export and to which countries?
"60% is destined for export markets and 40% is for domestic sale. About half of the exports ends up on American tables, while the remainder is divided between Asia and Europe".
What has changed and how has Covid-19 affected your exports?
"They are doing very well. I believe that those who had been sowing well before March 2020 by strengthening relationships and favoring long term sales relationships over short term ones, have then found themselves in an advantageous position when lockdowns started. After the Covid restrictions, the client needs human relations that can ensure him/her a face and a story".
How have the attitude and the interest of foreign consumers towards Italian wine changed?
"The interest in Italy and Italian wine is always very high. In the last few years, I have noticed a greater awareness of the client towards high-end Italian wines, not only in their most romantic meaning linked to the bella vita and to Italian savoir vivre, but as wines that can hold their value even in the long run and guarantee constant quality in their different vintages. Our winemakers’ reliability, determination and ability not to compromise (they even waive their salary when they are not satisfied), is finally paying off!"
Do you have one or more dedicated export managers? How did you recruit him or her?
"We have several export managers dedicated to every single market, recruited for their competence and ability in communicating company's values. A company that is above all a family that has been producing wine for more than 40 years. I would define them more as family friends than ‘export managers’".
Tell us an anecdote (positive/negative) related to your experiences abroad.
"I was having dinner with clients in 2015 in Oakland, near San Francisco, and I was talking about the vineyard that gives life to our CiabotMentin in the Ginestra MGA and explaining its location: a small valley, exactly mirroring the vineyard of another well-known producer. The person in front of me interrupted me and asked me if our vineyard was facing east (and it was, which greatly surprised me). This person’s knowledge of the Barolo territory was such as to know the exposure of the vineyard in front of ours, since it gave life to one of his favorite wines, and therefore he assumed ours. This is what I mean when I talk about foreign consumers’ interest and knowledge, true ambassadors of the territory more than simple customers".
Domenico Clerico – Monforte d’Alba – Cuneo – www.domenicoclerico.com