Friday, 23 October 2015

Luce - the brand, the style, the wine

Attending the Luce’s 20th anniversary dinner in Hong Kong was a privilege and the occasion was made even more memorable because it was hosted by Erika Ribaldi, its cheerful Asia Export Manager.

Luce is one of the brands of the Frescobaldi family. It is a super Tuscan wine made from Merlot and Sangiovese in Montalcino created by Robert Mondavi and Vit
torio Frescobaldi back in 1993. Although the Fescobaldi family took full control in 2005, Luce still remains a vision shared by the two families and a harmonisation of the Old and New Worlds — Sangiovese gave the finesse and structure while the Merlot filled it with opulence and fragrance. There is no doubt on the quality of Luce but I was more intrigued by its marketing effort and its brand power.

Luce is more than just a wine. It has evolved into one of the most creative brands that embraces the chic Italian design and fine quality. Its distinctive logo, a sun surrounded by tongues of flame, can be found on glassware, furniture and even cheese (yes, we were served this at dinner). It also has a couple of restaurants, one in San Francisco and one in Bangkok, under its name. The main course of the dinner was served on a Luce’s plate.

At the dinner, Erika was wearing a series of golden tattoos (albeit temporary), one of which was a necklace with the Luce’s radiant sun. I’m sure it could be developed into another successful Luce’s line of accessories.

The appeal of brand is most prominent in Japan. With 6,000 bottles per year or 50% of its Asian sales, it is Luce’s biggest Asian market. 80% of the customers are female, who are attracted by Luce’s elegant and stylish brand. Erika said the Japan market can still grow bigger but unfortunately with only around 80,000 bottles produced annually, the wine is on allocation only. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Luce has made 10 exclusive gift box consisted of all 20 vintages, two of which are available in Japan.

I’m not saying that all wine brands have to follow Luce’s approach, and certainly not many brands have the resources to extend their names to other products. However, it demonstrates that a more consumer-oriented lifestyle strategy, backed by good quality, does take the brand closer to consumers and thereby increasing sales. Terroir and technical details are relevant and important but sometimes, a little personal touch may just differentiate a brand from the crowd.

Luce is available from Jebsen Wines

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