The Italian winery Tenuta Viglione opened SEA market and aims at Vietnam

As ASEAN wine markets get pace, the well-known brand confirms the plans to promote its quality wines in Hanoi and HCMC

On Saturday 22nd April the Italian winery Tenuta Viglione presented in Bangkok a selection of premium organic wines to a public of traders and wine-lovers in the slick atmosphere of the swimming pool area of the Sofitel Sukhumvit Hotel. A networking event to celebrate the landing of Viglione’s organic wines in Thailand, with a selection of 3 different organic labels. Later in the same month, a similar event was hosted in Manila. In May, was Singapore’s turn. These events are just the last step of a long journey which started in 2021 with the aim of expanding the winery’s markets in the South-East of Asia. 

Apparently, the journey is still far from over, given that Tenuta Viglione is committed to further expanding its markets in the Region. Today we met Ruenruedee Prachayaphruet, the Marketing Director for Southeast Asia of Tenuta Viglione, to ask her a few questions.

What are the main highlights regarding this wine producer? 

Tenuta Viglione is a family-run winery with a quite limited production on over 160 hectares. The winery was established in 1937 by the grandfather of the current owner and produces organic wines since 1987. It is based in Puglia, which is an Italian south-eastern region, in the area of the Gioia del Colle PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin). Vineyards are located on an average altitude of 400 meters above the sea level, where the thermic excursion between day and night grants to the wine a marked acidity. On the other hand, the clayey and calcareous soil gives the wines of this area their typical minerality. 

What is Viglione’s philosophy in producing wine?

Our way of producing wine is based on two fundamental concepts: respect for the environment and the link with the native vines of our territory, the Puglia Region. With one sole exception, we only vinify species that have been growing here for centuries: this too seems to us a way of recognizing the primacy of nature, which has selected over time the vines that can only give the best results here. It’s about having common sense and being realistic: if nature didn’t want Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon to originate in Southern Italy, there must be a reason.

In today’s market landscape this position seems a bit extreme perhaps…

I would say that to some it may seem heretical indeed. However, each territory has different characteristics and allows you to make the most of only some vines and not others. We try to make the most of what our region produces best. We are not at war with international vines, but we just say that there are millenary grape varieties that give excellent products here in Puglia: we want to make them known to an international audience. It will then be up to the consumer to decide. 

And what are the first reactions of the Southeast Asian markets in which you operate? 

Each market is different, but in general we are registering great attention towards little-known vines, but which offer a balanced product. For example, our Susumaniello “Morso Rosso” is increasingly appreciated and is an extraordinary wine: floral and punchy aromatics, showing cherry, violet and black olive. Its big and bold style with taut acidity and refined tannins make this wine particularly elegant, but still fresh and balanced. We introduced Susumaniello instead of the most renowned Apulian wines almost as a challenge, but the market has welcomed it very well.

Morso Rosso & Marpione

You are probably referring to Primitivo and Negroamaro. Don’t you think there is a kind of saturation in the Vietnamese market of these wines?

I think the Vietnamese market has been flooded with low-quality, low-cost Primitivo and Negroamaro, almost always not bottled in Puglia by the producer. It was perhaps the biggest mistake of the Apulian winemakers: not having made it clear immediately that these are wines of the highest quality, expression of an entire terroir capable of excellent expressions for these vines. Each wine can be understood only starting from the place that expresses it.

Which wines will you focus on for the Vietnamese market?

Viglione Bianco Verdeca

Primitivo and susumaniello will certainly be among the first varieties we will introduce, both in the red and rosé versions. Alongside these, I think there will be room for still little-known vines, such as “Verdeca” and “Uva di Troia”. Verdeca is a white wine with a signature fresh, sapid, and mineral palate combined with the characteristic nose of aromatic herbs, notes of citrus and peach, and bright straw-yellow colour, tending to golden. From Uva di Troia you can produce a wine called Nero di Troia, with its typical ruby red colour, evolving to garnet with the aging, the rich and spicy aromas of blackberry and cherry in spirit, and its enchanting and full taste, elegant tannins and fulfilling sapidity. 

Nero di Troia

And all these varieties are native of Puglia?

Yes. As you can see, this confirms how wide and still unknown the wine production of Puglia is – and how many hidden gems are to be discovered. Apulian wine today can show off widespread quality at a level that surprises even the most experienced taster.

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