The progress of wine among beverages on the Nigerian consumers’ list of staples can be compared to the gradual march of civilization from echelon to echelon, through the various historical epochs. There is no known documented history but the first European beverages to reach the Nigerian coasts must have been the rums. Easily brewed and preserved, they were a favourite of the Portuguese sailors and soon became a currency of exchange for slaves, between the Portuguese and local chiefs. Also they became the first European beverages to be brewed locally in the riverine communities of Niger-delta area.
Although wines existed in Europe before beer, their expensive nature even in Europe made them to be scarce outside the Western countries. With the invention of pasteurization and canning as a process of food preservation, beers and stouts, whose raw materials are far cheaper and more easily procurable, became the next beverages to arrive in commercial quantities into Nigeria. With canning prolonging their shelf lives, they arrived first in cans and was later brewed in Nigerian factories and sold in refillable bottles.
Real wines remained a sole preserve of the rich and mighty, most of who are elites who bought them on shopping sprees abroad.
In the late 70s and early 80s, Ekulo International Ltd, one of the foremost pioneers of international trade and brand representation in the Nigeria, forayed into wine importation, first with brands such as Campari and Mateuse Rose. The coincidence of this move with the arrival of newly discovered oil wealth at the same time, created a cataclysmic success out of the venture for the visionary company. A fast expanding middle class of young graduate workers, serving in new organizations in an explosively growing economy fuelled by the newly discovered oil wealth, arrived in the Nigerian demography. With new salaries and high living standards, they latched onto the newly arrived wines, thus becoming the first crop of connoisseurs to acquire a taste for wine in the country.
Spurred by the success of this experience, Ekulo International ltd, was encouraged to sign a sole distributorship contract with Bodegas Gandia wine fields in Spain. The result was the arrival of Baron De Valls wines on the Nigerian consumers’ table.
Baron De Valls became an instant success. Made from the best wine grapes from Valencia, Spain’s foremost wine making region where the Bodegas Gandia family reigned supreme as wine makers, Baron De Valls’ sterling qualities immediately crowned it as the king of the wines in Nigeria. So great was the demand that the Gandia family’s annual production had to be increased to meet Nigeria’s demands. From Weddings, traditional and contemporary, to naming ceremonies, house warming parties, promotion parties, annual general meetings and birthdays, to weekend parties, no event was complete without Baron De Valls. So strong was the brand’s influence that for many Nigerians, Baron De Valls became the only known appellation for wines, as no local school had any reason to explain the origins and name of beverages made from grapes!
Baron de Valls are a range of excellent wines, made with a selection of the best grapes, and comes in various flavours like Cherry, ripe fruit, creamy oak, minerals and a sweet finish. Baron De Valls have great taste which makes it very outstanding. They also have sufficient percentage of alcohol which makes them ideal for any party or get together. Baron de Valls wine recently thrilled her teeming admirers with more wine varieties by the debut of Baron De Valls Cabernet Sauvignon, Baron De Valls Cava Brut and Brut Rose.
The great success of Baron De Valls however of recent, led to the odious cropping up of other wines who try to ride on a platform sacrificially built by Ekulo International ltd, to reap consumers’ patronage where they did not sow. So many other counterfeit drinks now arrive the Nigerian market, with their names bearing the prefix of “Baron De…..” with all kinds of suffixes. The aim is to deceive uninformed Nigerians into thinking that they are all like Baron De Valls. However, in a recent media parley, the marketing Manager of Ekulo Group of companies, Mr. Emeka Oramadike assured Nigerians that the company had taken visionary steps to forestall any moves to deceive Nigerians into buying other wines in the name of Baron De Valls. He said that thus the company found it necessary to come out and say to the Nigerian Media and Public: “IF IT IS NOT BARON DE VALLS, IT CANNOT BE LIKE BARON DE VALLS” He urged millions of their loyal Baron De Valls Consumers not to be deceived by look alikes, but to stay comfortably and immovably with their beloved Baron De Valls because the quality and price will not change and henceforth, it will be available even closer to them than before.
Among Strategies listed by the company for re-strengthening the brand are massive seasonal bonuses for the Christmas yuletide as well as reduced prices, greater availability and more credit lines to new and old distributors, to ensure a wider reach of the wine to loyal consumers. According to him, these moves are born out of the knowledge of the company that if the real Baron De valls wine is availlble, the chances of the loyal consumers being deceived by counterfeit substitutes will be completely eliminated.
Also speaking at the parley, The Head, Sales and marketing for Ekulo group of companies Mr. Pawan Moudgil, while supporting his colleague, urged Nigerians not to be swayed or stampeded into abandoning their loyalties for Baron De Valls. He reassured them that Baron De Valls was produced in Valencia, the highest and most traditionally revered wine-making region in Spain by the Vincente Bodegas Gandia wine making family. He said that the company is over one hundred and twenty five years old and has retained an untainted culture of making quality wines fit for royalties. He said that today, the company has presence in over 85 countries world wide, combining tradition with innovation and quality to create wines of value at affordable prices, thus becoming undisputedly one of the most professional wine making outfits in Spain today. He says: “to sell millions of bottles year after year in such difficult and demanding markets as the UK, the wines must be free of any weaknesses and to achieve this, consistency in the best managerial practices is needed and this is what Bodegas Gandia does.” Mr. Pawan said that at Bodegas Gandia, there is one single policy: all wines must be “Not Just Good but Great”
Epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of red wine such as Baron De Valls, wine is statistically associated with a decrease in cardiovascular illness such as heart failure. Moderate wine drinkers have a lower risk of heart problems than non-drinkers. Studies have also shown that there are greater benefits for red wine than white wine. Red wines like baron De valls contain a lot of polyphenols which are particularly protective against cardiovascular diseases. They also contain a substance known as resveratrol, produced in the skins of grape. Resveratrol is proven to have cardio-protective and chemo-protective effects and have wide influence on genetic factors related to aging, thus reducing the negative effects of aging. White wine has little resveratrol due to the manufacturing process which engenders limited contact with the grape skins. Other beneficial compounds in red wine also include anti-oxidants and flavonoids.
To benefit fully from the resveratrol in wine, it is recommended to sip slowly when drinking. Due to inactivation in the gut and liver, most of the resveratrol consumed while drinking red wine does not reach blood circulation. However when sipping slowly, absorption via the mucus membranes in the mouth can result in up to 100 percent increment in blood levels of resveratrol.
According to Oramadike the loyal consumers o Baron De Valls will be assured of longer life and freedom from cardiovascular ailments this season as their favourite and top quality Baron De valls will be more availlable than ever and at a more affordable price. He says as far as the wine market in Nigeria is concerned, there are two brands: Baron De Valls and others. He reiterated that major concern of the company is to protect its loyal consumers, not struggling for market share as the market already belongs to Baron De Valls.
– INGRAM OSIGWE