Started from the family tradition in the Wine industry, Bruno Gasperini the Italian entrepreneur, explains the history of his territory and his winery Casale Vallechiesa and how he has relaunched it.
The young serial entrepreneur reveals his admiration and enthusiasm for businesses and gives a little peek into the stories of his entrepreneurial foundations and multiple businesses. With his core and traditional Business of Winery and entrepreneurial adventures, he aims to structure a remarkable wine scene despite the odds of the outbreak by embracing cutting-edge improvements, constant innovations and beneficial technologies. While he explains about “thinking out of the box” in his interview, he is waiting in the wings to create a sustainable and impactful change in the wine business.
We are thrilled to know about you and your business! Can you give a little peek into your entrepreneurial journey and how did your family business help in bringing you closer to the world of the wine business?
I have always had the entrepreneurial and innovative streak since the age of 12, when I started selling rap albums I produced to schoolmates and on the streets. As soon as I finished my studies, I started working very early in the Casale Vallechiesa Winery, the family winery in Frascati town, near Rome, first in production and then in the commercial function. In this experience I honed my entrepreneurial skills and I immediately understood that there were things to fix in business and marketing strategies and so I started a hard business restructuring process, completely renewing the face and the business and management model of the company, which led to what is currently Casale Vallechiesa Winery, award-winning wine excellence that was born more than 140 years ago and which today collaborates with the best players in the national market and reaches the markets of 12 foreign countries. Casale Vallechiesa Winery is my core business but it is not my only entrepreneurial adventure, I have always loved entrepreneurship in a transversal way, regardless of the sector, which led me to launch other 5 businesses in different countries and sectors including supplements food, clothing, merchandising, consultancy for marketing and business internationalization, real estate.
Over the past years, you and your family have been thriving as a winery. How would you usually describe the journey of your business, its innovation and its philanthropic goals?
The strength of Casale Vallechiesa Winery that allowed us to start a century ago and get to today has always been that of knowing how to evolve and innovate by not remaining static to changes in the market and consumer needs, always aiming for continuous improvement the quality of the products and the value conferred on the customer. In fact, our mission is to bring the oenological excellence of our territory to the tables of consumers all over the world.
Like any other entrepreneurial journey, it’s common for one to face challenges. What were your approaches to overcome the challenges of your business world?
I have always had a “think outside the box” approach, almost as an outsider to the wine sector, and I believe that this is a lever in our favour and is the reason why many competitors don’t look kindly on us because while the other wineries were focused and involved at 360 degrees mainly in the wine sector they were keen to use management and thinking schemes now obsolete in my opinion and have a myopic vision of the business. For our part having always had a dystonic approach to the usual and transversal, we are able to innovate much more easily and to import winning elements from other sectors into the wine business. This allows us to solve problems and face challenges with much more speed, rationality and originality than our competitors.
With the 2020 outbreak, it was almost difficult for one to survive! What were some of your learnings and approaches that helped you and your business thrive?
The most difficult thing about 2020 and I believe that it will be at least for the first half of 2021 has been and will be a strong uncertainty. For an entrepreneur the main problem is not the moment of crisis, because we are used to dealing with it, it is part of the game, but it is the general uncertainty of the pandemic situation as a critical element, which doesn’t even allow you to be able to make predictions and organize yourself to face the crisis. For us, the key elements that allowed us to be profitable, with a Gross Operating Margin growth of + 60% compared to 2019, were the multichannel approach, exploiting digital means, the tight control of cash flows and operating costs.
While there are a lot of expectations with the year 2021, how have you set your targets to bring a change in the world of wine lovers through your business?
As I said, 2021 will be a very tough year, perhaps even harder than in 2020. For the moment, the main signs are that retail continues to maintain a fairly high pace, and also eCommerce, but the biggest challenge found in the Horeca channel which is in great difficulty. From abroad, the leading countries are Germany, the United States and Japan.
In the meantime, as Casale Vallechiesa Winery, we will continue and increase the path of multi-channelling, then we are planning many innovations including the increase in the range of wines with the launch of new product lines, an important focus on sustainability since we have already started a reconversion program of our vineyards in Organic, investments in the Hospitality branch even if it will take more time for the recovery and investments in Digital and in general in the diversification of the business lines. We believe that the winning key for this moment is precisely the use of resources to invest and be ready and prepared for a restart that won’t wait for those left behind! He who hesitates is lost!