The harvest of Lucas Oro grapes started around the 15th of August and will end around the end of October this year. “Some years, we end the campaign in December. But the quality procedures we have been taking for some years are bearing fruit, and sales are more and more fluid,” explains Lucas Saglietto, co-manager of the Peruzzo Group.
“Lucas Oro is a premium brand following strict specifications”
The Peruzzo Group did not set any particular objective regarding the evolution of its volumes, but it is determined to make the premium brand Lucas Oro exemplary in terms of taste. “Lucas Oro is a brand that was created 30 years ago by my grand-father,” explains Lucas Saglietto. “The Lucas Oro grape produced in Sicily is the result of high-quality selection from orchard operations to harvest. Everything is done for the grapes to be of the highest quality. The production is subject to very strict specifications which we have set up ourselves. A colorimetric scale is presented so that wholesalers and producers can find their way around, along with a minimum Brix degree and seed size. We are the only ones to have set this up.”
“Covering our orchards allows us to maximize the quality of our grapes”
This year, 1,500 tons of Lucas Oro are expected, which is 30% more than last year. A generous harvest, especially in a context where weather hazards have strongly impacted grape production this year. “Still within this quality approach, we wanted to cover our orchards by equipping them with anti-rain nets and tarps. This helps us be much less dependent on the weather. We control sunlight, temperature variations and water supply. This year for example, we had heat peaks of 52°C, and we were able to protect our vines from the sun while allowing the air to circulate. As a result, the quality of our grapes this year is exceptional, reaching up to 22 Brix degrees. We can also harvest whenever we want and when the grapes are reaching ripeness. Because grapes that are harvested when they reach ripeness, characterized by a woody stalk, keep all their nutritional qualities. This type of vineyard management reduces quality problems considerably.”
“We now want to work directly with large retailers”
The Peruzzo Group sells its Lucas Oro brand exclusively on the French market, mainly through its network of wholesalers. But since this year, the company is working directly with large retail chains. “We are selling directly to large supermarkets where we even implemented the quality approach ourselves. And the feedback is more than positive, with similar sales volumes but better satisfaction from the clients and less waste in the end because the production keeps better on the shelves. We have a kind of reverse approach: first, we test in the stores and then we look to collaborate with purchasing centers.
Today, our goal is to be more present in large retail stores. Eventually, we would like to get these retailers to create a Primeur section, much like the already existing organic sections. We are indeed convinced that consumers are ready to eat less but better. And many prefer one excellent bunch of grapes on their table rather than 2 mediocre ones. For example, we agreed to sell grapes to the Leclerc stores at 0.99€ [1.14 USD] per tray, as required by the retailer for its “Extra” range of products. Next to them were displayed our beautiful Lucas Oro grapes, sold at twice the price. And despite this non-negligible difference, it is the much more qualitative grapes that sold best. We really want to educate distributors to put more Primeur quality on the shelves, because there are many positive sides to moving upmarket, especially with a product like grapes. And in terms of taste, everyone wins.”
The Peruzzo Group does not intend to increase the number of hectares of vineyards it now has, but the group wants to go even further in its quality approach by renewing the orchards and by planting new promising varieties in order to move even further upmarket.
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