An interview with Brazil Country Manager, Rodrigo Lanari
Based in São Paulo, Rodrigo is responsible for the Wine Intelligence client base in Brazil, as well as coordinating research and strategy projects in South America. He started his wine career in 2005, primarily involved with marketing and portfolio management for major importers. He is also the first Brazilian to hold a Wine MBA at Bordeaux Management School (Kedge).
What kinds of projects are you currently working on?
Wine Intelligence has just finished a label testing project for a private label brand of a major Brazilian importer, which helped them determine their position against their competitors. This project was particularly interesting for me as I was involved in the conception of the brand, and so I had a macro perspective of the brand development process from the very beginning. Next month, we will also be assisting a trade body with their international strategy, which includes Brazil.
Earlier this month we participated in an event in Mendoza, presenting to wine industry leaders about global trends in wine. We came away from the event feeling positive about the opportunities for Argentina in international markets, which will undoubtedly result in some interesting new projects in the future. You can read more about my reflections on the event here.
What’s the most interesting trend from Brazil Landscapes 2019 report?
The Brazilian wine market has experienced some significant changes over the last few years. Despite the challenging political and economic environment, the wine market has shown a good degree of resilience. To compound this, Brazilian consumers are also becoming increasingly involved within the category, offering the market fresh opportunities. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how new technologies will affect consumer interaction with wine, as Brazilians are very digital-oriented.
What kind of trends have you seen recently in your wine market?
Wine per capita consumption is still very low in Brazil (roughly 2.0 litres per capita/year). However, we are seeing more engagement and coordination from trade members to develop the category. With the EU/Mercosur deal and tax reforms on the horizon, we will have better conditions for the expansion of the market. On the consumer level, our research shows that there is an important share of new consumers entering the market as 10 million people started to consume wine on a regular basis in the last nine years. Therefore, the major trend here is that wine is slowly becoming a part of Brazilian culture.
What are the biggest external factors (social, political etc) currently influencing Brazil at the moment?
At present, the political instability in Brazil is the biggest factor affecting the whole market. Without a safe and stable environment for business, companies do not feel motivated to invest. Naturally, this affects the entire economy. With a lack of investment and trust in the industry, Brazil’s potential is being greatly restricted.
Do you think there is strong opportunity for alternative wines in your market?
Definitely! Out of the SOLA (sustainable, organic and lower alcohol) wines, I would choose sustainable and Fairtrade as having the greatest opportunity in Brazil. Organic is still niche, but a category worth looking out for. I expect that there will also be an increase in the use of alternative packaging, such as canned wine, which should help to reduce consumption barriers and attract new consumers. You can read more about our SOLA report here.
What kind of trends have you been seeing in the premium market?
The premium consumer trend is becoming more visible in Brazil. Brazilians can be extremely curious about wines, especially the consumers that have the resources to spend more on expensive bottles. Brazilian consumers are more open to experiment with new styles and brands than they used to be, which affords the market some exciting new opportunities. It may be a personal view, but I believe that we are moving beyond the highly awarded scores obsession to a more open-minded consumer.
What do you think will be the most significant change in your market over the next year?
Currently, Brazil’s politicians are in discussions about a tax reform which will have a major impact on the dynamics of wine distribution nationwide. This will start affecting the market in 2020.
What do you think are future opportunities for the wine industry in general?
In general, I believe the major opportunity for the wine industry is to better engage with new consumers. Wine can be such a powerful tool to bring people together and it has a strong bond with culture, craftwork and joie de vivre. I think those elements will be increasingly valued and leant on by consumers worldwide. Our challenge as an industry will be how to capture these feelings and build on the opportunity.
What is your favourite wine at the moment and why?
I love to try new things all the time. But as I live in a tropical country, I have been enjoying more lighter styles of wine such as whites, rosés and sparkling. There is nothing better than a good glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc with friends and family at the pool.