Fratelli “Red” – Mistake of Brand Extension

I picked up couple of wine bottles last evening.

Since I had enjoyed the Fratelli Chenin Blanc (please see my earlier post
“Fratelli Chenin Blanc 2010” ), I thought all Fratelli wines must be good.

I made the mistake of picking up a low-end wine from the Fratelli winery (Fratelli “Classic Red”). I had a bit of suspicion, as there was no description of the wine at the back of the bottle, but I debated a bit and then decided to go ahead, as the bottle looked nicely designed and the recent experience of the Fratelli wine was on my mind.

What a mistake ?

And, what a big mistake by Fratelli, as their other good wines are going to be damaged in the process of buying – all their wines were kept together obviously, and the attraction of this new wine was its price. A lower-priced wine from a good winery is normally kept in another shelf, not together with the established, good ones and often boldly proclaim a new name with the winery’s famous name in small letters somewhere. All these good practices were violated with the result that I got a pungent red wine.

In any case, having spent some money, it is important that I write about this red wine. It had a decent dark red colour, and appeared to be sticking to the glass walls fairly well with a rather strange smell – so I thought it should be some new world concoction and waited for the oxygenation. After some 15 minutes, I tried the wine. Terrible it was – no character, hugely acidic, with a pungent hit on the palate that knocked my tongue buds off rather quickly.

Now, I have realized that it is better to avoid ANY low-priced wine from an established winery in India – such wines appear to be coming from a refinery rather than a winery. Nothing damages a nice Saturday evening worse than a bad wine. Luckily I had some excellent Sula Chenin Blanc and so that saved the evening.

My wife too rejected the Fratelli red wine saying it was horrible.

The outcome is that even the good Fratellis are going to take a hit in the weekly wine purchase, that is the bad thing. All this is happening because Indian wineries are not taking necessary precautions – they neither produce a decent wine at the lower end of the price point, nor are they positioning such a wine appropriately in their brand strategy. The result is that it damages their carefully nurtured (hopefully !) core brand.

Now, back to the known suspects for me amongst the few good Indian wines ! Do we have a choice ?


Vijay Srinivasan
12th November 2011


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