Fausto Maculan Maculan Wine

Fausto Maculan, CEO of Maculan Srl, a winery from Breganze (VI) has shown that by focusing on a few products, excellence can be achieved.

The entrepreneurial adventure begins

Hi, I am Fausto Maculan of Breganze and I work in the wine industry, I direct the winery that was of my grandfather first and then of my father and that I hope will then be of my daughters and my nephews.

We produce quality wine, I had to take over this job because I was the only male son. My father sent me to the Enology school of Conegliano and alas, I had to become an oenologist, I had no other chance. And once I became an oenologist, I came home and I said now I do what I want. What I wanted, was probably the exact opposite of what dad was doing, because in the ’50s and ‘60s dad made white and red wine, banal wine, common wine, it was the only wine that could be made at the time, to tell the truth. On the other hand, I wanted to make good, quality wine, I wanted to make 750 ml bottles with corks, this was my goal. And I thought I had learned everything, immediately, first try and I made my first harvest, alone, in 1973. In 1974 I started, I thought I could sell all my bottles, I think I had three orders in the whole year and so I realized that maybe I hadn’t done everything that I needed to do and I began to study all the wine and all the viticulture, again.

Getting a quality product is something for which there is no shortcut, it is a long journey, made of small steps. From the four customers of ’73 -’74 we have grown and today we make about 800.000 bottles, exported to 52 countries around the world, which is a great satisfaction. A satisfaction obtained clearly step by step. It started with a unique wine, with an important name and that wasn’t produced in other areas, and this was the trick which helped us in this story. It served as a lock pick, a ram, sometimes, to open doors, that allowed us to enter the best restaurants in Italy, then clearly the best wine shops and eventually to have articles in the press and interviews on television, many things that, slowly, slowly, constituted the name of Maculan and that allows us today to be of relevance in the Veneto region, but also in Italy. We are considered among the best, say 300 wineries in Italy, it could be a goal that we can say we have achieved.

The money to start

Well, how do you convince dad that what he was doing wasn’t good and what I did was good. It was not easy, but for 5-7-8 years we made both products, both my father’s white / red wine, and my special bottles or that I thought were special. But that slowly continued to improve because every year was a further specialization, it was the purchase of new machines and there the problem of financing was not so easy. But, to tell the truth, it’s not that I started from scratch, dad already had a winery and as a result some of the equipment was there, we just needed to update it, to make it work better, to perhaps change it, but there weren’t really any economic traumas at the beginning of the activity. We didn’t earn much, but then the first successes also led to economic results. I must say that the period was one of the most positive, I took part in the revolution of the quality of Italian wine, which began in the early 70s, with Veronelli, with the first wineries that were changing and when there was the opportunity to sell to the first important restaurants where you no longer drank white and red, the liter, the carafe, but you began to see wine menus, lists where you could move and add. And I said in sweet wine there is this particular, that is, something that you must notice. We can’t know everything, you can’t do everything right, you need a specific product to work on and make the print work, make customers work, create demand, on which you can then sew, you can weave, you can do everything, but it takes one, beautiful, fair, unique and important. You don’t need an economic trauma and a need for lots of money, but continue to invest the company revenues and don’t waste them. Don’t buy the boat, the cabin in the mountains, the cabin by the sea, but put it all in a new wine press, in a new vineyard, in a new filler that could lead to a qualitative improvement.

A negative and a positive event

One of the things that happened to me is a strange phone call one night, exactly: “I’m in the shipyard ‘ccyd’, last night I was having dinner with Prince Ranieri of Monaco, we drank your Brentino at the Excelsior Hotel in Venice.” Shipyard ccyd didn’t sound right to me. He told me: “I would like to buy 120 bottles, to put them in the Prince’s boat.” At first I saw it as someone who made an order, then she wouldn’t pay me, but I put down the phone call go down to my mother, I lived right above my parents at the time and my mother knew all about the royals, she, that time, did not vote for the republic, she voted for the monarchy. I said: I received this call… “Yes, yes he is in Venice, the prince, I read it on ‘Oggi’, he is in Venice because they are making a boat”, she said. It is true then! So I called two friends of mine, boatmen, those who know boats and they say yes, they are making a schooner at the shipyard ccyd. So I told them that I was going to send them the wine. “No, no”, said him, this my friend boatman, ”let’s bring it there together so that we can see the boat, see the boat before the others see it”. We leave with his car and we go to Mestre and then down to Venice where we find this shipyard with the prince’s boat. And there we see it, he knew all the sonar and equipment, he showed us all the boat, with the royal cabin, with a bathtub, and says: “I will deliver it in a month and if you want to offer the wine, the wine for the delivery, the delivery at ‘Nane in San Pietro in Volta’, a place for boatmen in the Venice area”. “Yes, I will give them the wine, but not for free. I’ll donate it to them if they invite me to the launch of the boat.” And no, “You need the permission of the prince”, he told me. “Hear me out, if you invite me, there will be the wine, if not …!”, I replied. Four days later a letter arrived: “His imperial height Ranieri III, Prince of Monaco has the pleasure of inviting you to launch the boat on the day… an afternoon dress would be appreciated” . I spent a fortune on the afternoon dress, but I visited the prince’s boat. It was a great achievement to have my wine drunk, there were both both Ranieri and Alberto, both of them. At the time he was alive and we had fun, it was a nice afternoon.

Of negative events, in our company we have had few, thanks God, it has been a progressive series of successes, rather than failures. If I still have to say when I felt really uncomfortable it was on my first trip to the United States of America. I had to go with a friend of mine who spoke English but then he told me: “I’m sorry, but I can not come”. I found myself in San Francisco, we did a London / San Francisco polar route, landed in San Francisco, I did not know a word of English, I really felt like “a dog” and I promised myself that I would study and learn English. And now I could do this interview in the language of the Anglo-Saxons, for which I worked hard, but it has given me a lot of satisfactions, and allowed me to see the world differently, almost a second life for the opportunities allowed by the knowledge of English, of a foreign language.

Doing business in Italy

Wine and food are generally connected to the territory, therefore you can’t write Made in China, on a bottle of wine made DOC Breganze. No, you can not, likewise you can’t do it with the Barolo, nor with the Amarone, so connecting it to the territory is a very important element.

However, you can’t connect it only to the territory linked to the municipality of Breganze, because if I have to sell a bottle of wine made in Veneto, I also have to sell Palladio to this person, I have to show him how beautiful Venice is, I have to sell Italy as a whole. I have to dress him up Armani, that is, I have to put on him the right Italian shoes and then he will also have a glass of Italian wine, along with Italian pasta, along with an Italian sauce, because only by selling the Italian bundle, the glue works.

Why doing business in Italy, certainly because it is the best country in the world to do business, for sure!

The key traits of an entrepreneur

The entrepreneur must be a capable person, but it is better if he is not too good, in the sense that if one is too smart, he will eventually end up acting like a university professor. The main characteristics of an entrepreneur are a good knowledge, a good intelligence, but above all the consistency, the determination, the desire to arrive, the desire to excel.

I would say, a healthy competition. It should not be a false modesty, you must be proud of your results, humility, but not modesty, because otherwise you risk being believed and they will think your product is no longer good. It must instead be the best product in the world, you must believe in it, if you do, you will convince others, when you have convinced them you have sold it, it is yours, it is in the hands the customer.

The entrepreneur must set an attainable goal, but when he is about to reach it, he must move it forward, push it further because he must never settle. This way he will achieve incredible things quickly, but don’t try to do them right away, if you set overly ambitious goals you will just get frustrated, you have to increase and improve the goal along the way, continuously more and more, setting high expectations for yourself, for your collaborators, but for yourself first.

The future for the new generations

Youth is the most beautiful thing there is, there is no doubt, and young people have no limits, they can achieve great things, wonderful things, they just need to think about it, to want it.

You will see that things that seem impossible to you now, during your life they will be achievable and you will realize them. Try, believe, you will see that you will succeed.

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