Interview with Riccardo Martelli sommelier and patron of Lenoteca wine club in San Giovanni in Persiceto
Riccardo Martelli is a young sommelier who has been managing the "Lenoteca wine club" of San Giovanni in Persiceto in the province of Bologna for some years. The place was born - well before Riccardo's arrival - as a pouring point and sale of bulk wine. Over time, it also acquired a respectable wine list, transforming and enriching over the years an offer that was initially quite popular.
Lenoteca wine club was also one of the first structures to use the Enoweb integration that allows you to manage the take-away sale and the delivery of bottles. A solution that has helped this small business to reduce the damage caused by the forced closure due to Covid19, but it has also proved to be a useful sales channel to accompany the subsequent recovery path.
Riccardo's winning intuition was to take the wine list to a higher level and to keep the pouring and the sale of bulk wine together. In this way the place becomes a point of diffusion of the culture of good drinking without losing its pop soul. "When I bought it, now more than three and a half years ago - Riccardo says - the level of the wine list was rather low, however, since I still kept the sale of the bulk product for those looking for a very price-conscious consumption, I thought maybe I could try to raise the level of the bottles. So I did and, I must say, with excellent results because my clients, even the youngest ones, have begun to appreciate my offer. "
Riccardo's approach to wine was a bit particular. For years he literally "hated" wine. He just couldn't drink it. To change things, the arrival of a girlfriend passionate about good drinking who over time - gastronomic experience after gastronomic experience - has managed to make him less hostile towards the pleasure of a good glass. The electrocution for the nectar of Bacchus, however, has perhaps arrived in the least prosaic place. Forced by his girlfriend to accompany her to Vinitaly, Riccardo had the opportunity to talk to various producers, to know their personal stories, to realize how much commitment and passion there is behind a bottle. He initially becomes passionate about the story behind a bottle rather than the content. He decides that the time has come to acquire the necessary knowledge to evaluate what the bottle contains, so he follows the pragmatic courses, becomes a sommelier and when, three years ago, the opportunity arises to take over the old bulk wine shop , which today he has transformed into his wine shop, does not think twice.
“Mine - so Riccardo tells it - is a wine shop that sells only wine in bulk or in bottles in the morning and early afternoon. Most of the bulk wine I get it from a winery in Conegliano, Le Rughe, so they are mainly white wines, especially prosecco which is what turns the most, but not only. Then, among the reds, Lambrusco cannot be missing, of course, which is produced here in the area. For the bottles, I offer a choice on a card with more than 500 references that cover the entire Italian wine scene with some points also abroad, in particular France.
In the evening, at aperitif time, the place changes its face, it comes alive above all with young people and from this moment on, sales take place mainly by the glass. "
In the evening, together with the wine, do you also offer something to eat?
"Yes and no. We certainly offer cold cuts with products from a local artisan, cheeses and other things of this kind, but only as an accompaniment without changing the nature of the place where the central element remains the sale and consumption of wine. Keep in mind that we are located in a place a little outside the traditional circuits of quality wine consumption, so mine was a bet. I started slowly by inserting more and more important bottles in the paper and I saw that the interest of young people for a quality product was also growing. "
Did you say that wine list is mainly focused on Italian labels?
“Yes, for the most part it is. Personally, I also love foreign products, in particular the French one and that of some emerging countries from the enological point of view, such as Chile for example. I had tried to propose a corner dedicated entirely to France, so in addition to the usual Champagne also reds from Burgundy and more, but these are proposals that still do not meet the public's favor here. It’s already a good thing that in recent years many young people have approached Italian quality wine, it may take some time for them to learn to consume and appreciate an international product as well. "
And how did the meeting with Enoweb happen?
“It happened about a couple of years ago. I went to eat at Oltre Bendanti and Lorenzo Costa's restaurant in Bologna. I have known Lorenzo for many years and it was he who advised me and introduced me to Enoweb. At a certain point in the evening we were talking about work and he asked me point blank: - how are you organized for warehouse management? The question surprised me a little: - why are you asking me - I replied - I organize myself in the old way with an Excel file.
And it was then that Lorenzo made me view Enoweb that he had recently installed, for me it was "love at first sight". The next day I contacted the friends of E-group who after a few days came for a demonstration and I bought it immediately.
Now I can say that it changed my life because - apart from the first a bit boring days we dedicated to cataloging the bottles - then everything became easier.
Just the other day I had my father here who gives me a hand from time to time. We were recording the new deliveries taking an infinitesimal amount of time compared to before and at a certain point I turned to him saying: - see dad the best money spent here is for Enoweb.
And of this I am really convinced. Just as I am convinced that Enoweb has also helped me a lot to acquire authority in the relationship with sellers. By their nature they are very insistent and also very good with words. I mean that at first it happened that on the wave of their advice I made purchases which then turned out to be oversized compared to my real needs. Today it only takes me a few seconds to check with Enoweb if a label is really doing well or not, if I have sufficient stocks or not. You don’t know how many times it happens to order wine convinced that you don’t have it in stock and then when you go to place it you realize that you didn’t need it.
Now I have really solved a lot of problems and simplified management as much as possible. And then you want to have the satisfaction of getting in front of the computer and having the complete inventory of the warehouse as of January 1st in a few seconds? It is a satisfaction that has no equal ... "
How have these last three months with all the problems related to Covid19 been for your business?
"Not very simple as for all of the rest, but I must say that my customers have always remained very close to me and thanks to the takeaway sale in a certain sense I managed not to completely close the business and this is a bit too thanks to Enoweb. "
It happened by chance. At a certain point the E-group manager contacted me to inform me that an Enoweb functionality had been developed for the sale of bottles for take-away and for home delivery with the possibility, if desired, of an advance payment option with credit card. I immediately asked to have this program integration and I must say that this solution helped me a lot in times of greatest difficulty, allowing me to keep the relationship with my customers alive and also to run the warehouse a bit.
Today the business has resumed almost normally but I decided to continue with the take-away sales service anyway. You know, many people still prefer to stay at home and it's still an additional sales channel.
The most incredible thing is the fact that Enoweb has also allowed me to enter my clients' homes with my new passion, that for gin and tonic.
Thanks to the flexibility of the sales system, I was able to start taking away my cocktails exactly as I wanted it. Many wine shops have an online cocktail sales service but almost all of them sell the drink already mixed, which is not the best for those who want to enjoy a state-of-the-art cocktail prepared on the spot.
Thanks to Enoweb and its electronic cart, my client is able to compose his cocktail by himself, buying the bottles of gin and tonic water separately. They are exactly the same products I use to make cocktails over the counter. Of course, since I have different types of gin and different types of tonic on the menu, and the most interesting part is precisely the possibility of trying the different combinations, the customer can personally compose his cocktail following - if he wants - my advice. Together with the gin and the tonic I also deliver ice so people can prepare their cocktail on the spot, when they decide to consume it.
Of course - not a small detail - all the bottles sold for take-away and delivery are immediately unloaded from the warehouse as soon as the online order is completed.
So I don't have to worry about updating the warehouse, but neither do I run the risk of selling a product that I can't find in the warehouse when I go down to pack the ordered packages. "
In conclusion, what would you like to say to your colleagues who still don't use Enoweb?
"Since with the times we are all much more attentive to the money that is spent, I like to repeat something I have already said: the ones I spent to buy Enoweb were really the best money spent in my life, professionally speaking yes means :-)"
Piergiovanni Mometto [www.mometto.net]