Q&A with Asia Brand Ambassador Andrea Manuali

guest post by Julia Segal

Hello! Julia again – I will be your guest blogger today. I am interning at the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group offices in New York, and am delighted to also contribute to the Bastianich Wines blog! I am certainly an Italian wine enthusiast, and recently returned from living and studying Food & Beverage Management in Milan, Italy. If you want more Julia in your life, check out my personal blog here.

Andrea Manuali photo 2

I had the chance to interview our Asia Brand Ambassador Andrea Manuali, a suave Romano with a passion for bringing quality wines around the world. This is what Andrea has to say about his experience with Bastianich in his most recent role.

How did you come to be the Bastianich Brand Ambassador for Asia?

When I finished my previous job in Brazil, I was asked if I wanted to represent the wines in there, starting by looking for a distributor. It was part of an overall strategy of expansion for our wines, we needed to sell more by opening new markets. I suggested that Brazil was not the best country to start with and we opted for Asia.

 Which Bastianich wines are most popular/ well received in Asia?

Definitively Bastianich Pinot Grigio and La Mozza “I Perazzi” Morellino di Scansano DOCG. The reason being twofold: first the price vis-a-vis quality. People perceive that for the price they pay they get a taste of a high-quality product. The second is that PG is the most famous Italian variety of White Wines. On the other hand, Morellino is a Tuscan DOCG and is offered by the glass in several outlets for a very reasonable price.

 What was it like going from living in Rome to Hong Kong?

Actually, I didn’t move straight from Rome to HK. I left Italy when I was 18 yrs old, went for College 4 yrs in London, then New York for 4 more yrs, then Brazil for 2 yrs, then Singapore for again 2 yrs. I am now 31 and I only go back to Italy roughly every 4 months. For me moving to HK was a new challenge, but not so much from a personal standpoint than business wise.

 What is the biggest challenge as Brand Ambassador for Italian wines in Asia?

The biggest challenge is to make sure that our sales are growing steadily every year, in a business like the wine one where nowadays there are far too many labels in the market. I can also add that another challenge is to get people to really understand the philosophy and quality behind Joe’s wines, far from being just of a commercial nature, but a true lifestyle concept coming from his long experience in the business.

 Where do you see wine trends in Asia going in the next few years?

I believe there will be a wide opening of people’s tastes towards new varieties. Higher consciousness and knowledge of what one is drinking and has in the glass. Exponential growth in wine sales as well as local wine production (some countries like China have already been making wine for years). There are still tons of people in many Asian countries who have never had a glass of wine, let alone really know what wine is!

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