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Published on: Nov. 16, 2020, 7:30 a.m.
Can Fratelli TiLT the balance in its favour?
  • The catchy new TiLT, wine-in-a-Can marks Fratelli Wines’ entry into a new segment

By Suman Tarafdar

If you are a trendy millennial or GenZ-er, chances are you prefer your drinks from a can rather than a bottle. Well, here’s a bit of cheer for young Indian wine aficionados (and anyone else who is a can-fan) – Fratelli Vineyards has just launched its wine in a can (WIC). Branded TiLT, the 250ml cans aim to make wine accessible to young Indians, at an affordable price.

“There has always been this constant feedback that wine as a drink can be intimidating, and youngsters keep themselves away from it,” said Gaurav Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines. “We wanted to introduce young drinkers to the goodness of wine. TiLT has been made for the mindful millennial!”

Sekhri revealed that the early seeds of inspiration go back to a dinner at the winery, “with young wine-makers and viticulturists, where we all shared our journey into the wine business. It was interesting to note how each of us was frowned upon, discouraged and even told off. It was also heartening, though, to realise there were shared objectives – we all wanted to work towards bringing out the goodness of wine, and making it uncomplicated, and approachable for young adults. TiLT embodies these thoughts and efforts beautifully”.

Fratelli, Italian for brothers, was established about a decade ago by three pairs of brothers, and has gained a reputation for its premium products, including Sette, M/S and J’noon. Right from inception, Fratelli set itself an ambitious target – to create a product of truly international standards but one that was made in India using centuries-long Italian wine making traditions. The label’s most visible face, Kapil Sekhri, who passed away recently, was a driver behind the move to cans.

Gaurav, who has picked up the mantle, says: “While Kapil championed it and his energy and passion is hard to replace, the board and shareholders are aligned to his vision, grand plans and are committed to see it through.”

Why you can

Traditional oenophiles may demur, but cans seem to be the increasingly preferred way for wine to be sold globally. There is little Indian data, though – the first Indian wine cans were launched by Sula Vineyards with their Dia red and white wines in cans late 2019. Nielsen data from May 2019 indicates the category grew 67 per cent in the previous year. The main benefit of cans is versatility and convenience, says Subhash Arora, president, Indian Wine Academy. There might be an environmental benefit too, according to the Container Recycling Institute, which says aluminium cans are recycled 45.2 per cent of the time in the US, while the figure for glass bottles is only 27.8 per cent. 

For young Indians however, it might just be an introduction to a hitherto price-sensitive beverage category. “With cans, we are keen to build the wine culture in India and give the drinker a choice of an easy, no fuss drink with all the goodness in a form factor they are comfortable with,” explained Sekhri. “This, we feel, is a great benefit not just for us as a manufacturer but to the entire wine ecosystem as it will bring more people to wine drinking by reducing the formality around wines. Globally, some of the well-known wine brands like E&J Gallo, Constellation Brands (Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford), Ste Michelle (14 Hands) and premium quality producers have diversified and introduced cans in their portfolio, which indicates a clear trend in the coming years.”

TiLT, with 11 per cent alcohol, is available in four variants: red, white, bubbly rosé, and bubbly,and all at affordable prices. “We have done extensive research and experiments in the last couple of years to ensure quality and taste,” addedSekhri. “We worked closely with our can supplier – Ball Can – which are the largest manufacturer of cans in the world, to understand the intricacies and with CFTRI labs in Mysore to do accelerated tests. We only launched these products once we were thoroughly satisfied that the end customer is given a product of superior quality. It is produced in our winery in Akluj and we have a new canning line installed in the facility. The capacity has been designed keeping in mind a three-year demand and growth in the category.” There is no word on investment, though the company says its bottled wine capacity will remain intact.  

TiLT uses a unique combination of various indigenous varieties like Thompson, Purple, etc, along with some hint of classic wine varietals like Chenin and Syrah. While retaining the primary aromas of various fruits like melon and passion fruit, Fratelli has ensured perfect balance amongthe three ‘pillars’ of good wine – sweetness, acidity, and tannins, stressed Sekhri.

 

Are Indians ready?

Sekhri said that from the sheer convenience to a person living in Tier I cities to the affordability factor for a Tier II audience, the Indian consumer is quite ready for wine in a can. Especially, as it comes at affordable prices of ₹175-200 per can. “Fratelli has always believed in creating new benchmarks for the Indian wine industry. After sensing a changing drinking culture for some time now, it was a conscious decision to launch TiLT as a drink for young India, with no shackles, no boundaries, and never say never. It speaks to the confident young adult, with an inclusive and inviting mindset, whose life philosophy matches our own: live your dreams, while respecting others.”

The overall Indian wine market can be estimated at 975,000 cases (worth ₹175 crore at wholesale price), and is growing at a CAGR of 20-25 per cent in 2020 of which domestic wines are estimated to be about 70 per cent of the market, according to Technopak.

TiLT is already available in Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Punjab, Goa, Kolkata, UP and will soon be launching in Karnataka. “We are looking to take TiLT to every state and region in the next two to three months as we firmly believe Indians even in the Tier II and III towns are ready for a product which offers great quality with a comfortable price,” says Sekhri.

Indeed, their wine can be bought at under Rs100 a glass. If 2020 has seemed to be the year to have new experiences, TiLT can definitely count as one of the more relaxing ones.

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