An interview with Cédric Segal, co-founder of Fabulous Brands, the start-up behind Winestar cans of wine, now being sold in France.
RR: Tell me about your goals for Winestar.
CS: Winestar is THE solution for young adults and couples who would sometimes enjoy a glass of good wine, but not necessarily open a full bottle ...
We want to achieve in the wine world what Nespresso has achieved in the coffee world. Propose a premium product in a single-serve, convenient packaging, with a range of flavours to match every mood. This will allow us to develop wine sales, outside of the traditional and formal dinners and meals, and allow consumers to drink a glass of good wine whenever they feel like it. A full bodied or lighter wine, floral or mineral, red or rosé... Whether they are at home, at lunch, for a picnic or on on a boat or in the train – a glass of good wine for any occasion.
Winestar should be sold in wine shops and convenience stores, local supermarkets, delicatessen, gasoline stations, but also in take away restaurants, snacking areas (supermarkets, boulangeries), in minibars of luxury hotels, on trains, planes, yachts, golf courses, etc.
Our market is the world.
RR: Your English is excellent. What is your background?
CS: I graduated from a Parisian business school and immediately started working in Japan. I worked 5 years there in international trade, and discovered the concept of Australian Premium wines in a can in local supermarkets and convenience stores. It made me wonder, if Australian wines could sell in a can, there was no reason French wines couldn't find their market.
I came back to France in 2005 when I started my first company, Akayama, to import and distribute shoe brands in France. We focused initially on American brands, such as Minnetonka, GH Bass, Toms shoes ... recently we included Underground shoes from the UK and Worishofer from Germany. We also started creating our own brand called Louise Deloris (Made in France) that we exhibited at the last fashion trade show in Paris, and that already sold in Japan and Singapore.
Winestar is a new venture and we showed the concept for the first time in October at the SIAL Trade show in Paris where we received the Innovation Award.
We improved the concept and the packaging and we finally launched on June 1st, and exhibited at Vinexpo in Bordeaux to the world professional wine community. Importers and distributors tasted the wines, in bottles and in the cans. They could not find a difference of taste between the two, and were pleasantly surprised as they had not expected such quality from such small packaging.
RR: You are currently selling red, white and rosé from the Château de l'Ille for €2.50 a can? Can we expect to see Bordeaux, Burgundy and Côtes du Rhone by the end of the year?
CS: We want to offer a range of Premium French wines from all the famous wine regions: Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Rhône valley, Provence, Beaujolais, Loire valley, Alsace, and Languedoc. Our first selection: the Château de l'Ille, a famous wine domain in Corbières AOC, managed by independent winemaker Pol Flandroy for over 30 years and who has been awarded over 200 medals so his wines...
Later this year we will offer a range of grand cru wines in a can, our "Crus Etoilés". We will propose a range of super premium wines that consumers would never imagine drinking on a regular basis. Think Saint Emilion, Meursault, Côte Rôtie, Sauternes... fantastic wines, one can at a time!