Keep it Simple

A key Russian importer gives his “take” on the market

Simple Group is a top player on the Russian market; one of the nation’s largest importers and distributors of high quality wines & spirits. With a balanced portfolio including top brands and products from all over the world, Simple covers more than 30% in direct sales and occupies leading positions in the On-trade and Off-trade in Moscow and all key Russian regions. We asked company founder & CEO Maxim Kashirin, what the most important trends are in wine sales in his territory.

To begin with, the Russian market has always been developing regardless of crises. Due to the latest crisis of 2014-2017, people have discovered lots of new sorts of wine. They have switched their interests from standard and classic options they had been making for years to more interesting and democratic ones.

Furthermore, younger consumers aged 25 and older have entered the market and are becoming more and more influential. Some groups of fashionable youth set the trends while the elder generation has been losing ground for the past five years.

To proceed, we see that retailers are increasing their imports, filling the shelves with different wine brands. At the same time, vodka manufacturers and distributors have joined the game, placing a bet on wine of the mass market segment as this kind of wine is sold easily even without active promotion and work of sommeliers. As for Russian wine, it is still popular, however, the surge of interest has slightly faded that is, in fact, a normal wavelike dynamic.

The next trend is a growing role of the government in the regulation of the wine market both in wholesale and retail. The introduction of the EGAIS system, which controls all the stages from production to retail, makes the alcohol market more and more complicated to get into. We are not observing an emergence of new players. On the contrary, consolidation is taking place, existing players are growing and we see the market dividing into the segments, namely, large, middle and smaller players.


What are you primarily looking for at Vinexpo Bordeaux?

Vinexpo is becoming more the place where we can meet producers from different countries, communicate with them and establish contacts. At the same time, it is possible to solve some technical issues which would not require long conversations.

What are your secrets for getting the best out of a busy show like Vinexpo?

First of all, I would advise to plan the schedule as effective as possible because the exhibition lasts only for several days, but you need to manage lots of things. It is important to establish contacts here, strengthen relations and get acquainted with the novelties of different wine portfolios.

Photo: Maxim Kashirin – Founder & CEO, Simple Group