Zaccagnini represents an extraordinary Italian story. In 45 years, from a small village in the Pesaro hills, it was able to introduce its wines in more than 50 markets of the 5 continents. What Marcello Zaccagnini was able to do is unbelievable and it testifies how you can start from nowhere, with few means, and build a company that would have seemed impossible.
Today, Zaccagnini is working on reinforcing its international presence even more, starting from Canada which represents the 5° wine import on the global market and if we look at the consumption between 2000 and 2021, Canada’s ones have grown up to 25%.
To better understand Zaccagnini’s “Canadian challenge”, we interviewed Angelo Ruzzi, export manager for Zaccagnini, who surely is among the greatest wine companies’ internationalization experts in our country.

Why is the Canadian market considered to be among the most important and the most complex on a global level?

First of all, it must be said that it is wrong to talk about one Canadian market, since I would like to underline that they are, in fact, markets – plural – because each of the 10 Provinces (plus 3 Territories) that put together the country have their own specificities, even if Ontario and Quebec alone represent 70% of the wine business in Canada. Moreover, 9 out of these 10 Provinces are characterized by the Monopoly which filters the wine entering and distribution (only Alberta liberalized the wine trade).
The growing numbers of the Canadian markets have been confirming the great interest of the Canadian consumers towards wine for years. Paradoxically, and here complexity comes into play, we ought to ask to which extent the Monopoly is obstructing the constant growth of the Canadians’ curiosity towards wine. For the companies there is no doubt that it is not simple to follow the dynamics given by the tender which are released annually by the Canadian Monopolies and, to complicate things even more, there are also norms on the labels and on the packaging materials. But, despite this difficulty, there is no doubt that even the Canadian Provinces are absolutely important for all those companies that want to develop and adequate business in North America.

Which are the key requirements to be able to be competitive on such a particular market like the Canadian one?

Surely, great competence and professionalism are fundamental because they must also help to select import agencies that can represent you in an adequate way towards the Monopoly with which, it is known, it is not possible to have a “direct dialogue”.

Zaccagnini has been a long time reference brand on the USA market, but what is your presence in the Canadian market?

In Quebec, the great francophone Canadian Province, we have been present for more than 20 years with great results. In the other Provinces, our presence is more recent, more or less 7-8 years, but it is growing. Our most important challenge at the moment is to increase our development in Ontario which represents the most “Italian” Province thanks to the heavy presence of our compatriots who have been migrating for many years in this Canadian territory.

Your line “Tralcetto” (characterized by a small piece of vine tied to the bottle with a twine) permitted you to gain an extraordinary notoriety on the USA market, do you think that this could give you the same satisfaction also in the Canadian market?

Our “Tralcetto” line has surely been fundamental for our development and notoriety on the USA market. But this was possible not only for the evocative packaging, but also and especially because our “Tralcetto” became a symbol of qualitative warranty and authenticity of the made in Italy through time.
Considering that the USA market has always been a reference point also for Canada, I am convinced that the “Tralcetto”, and not only that, might open new paths and increase our export.

We are facing a complicated phase and there are many observers who predict a particularly complex 2023, even for the wine export sector. What is your though regarding the perspectives of the Zaccagnini’s brand?

I am still optimistic. I am convinced that the growth spaces of the Italian wine on the international markets are still wide, especially for well-structured and well-organized companies with products that match the market’s dynamics. This is what makes me particularly hopeful for our company which is characterized by an extraordinary price-quality ration. If I move my gaze on the north American market in particular, my hope increases because USA and Canada are notoriously the most reactive markets, the fastest to intercept the so-called re-starts. So, I think that the greatest challenge is to orient better our resources for the communication which should be more focused towards the actual consumers’ trends. On this front we are dedicating a lot of effort.