Chief executive officer Sumedh Singh Mandla is smug. For a company that has been making and selling wine in India since the 1990s, Grover Zampa has come a long way; and they only plan to go further ahead. With a premium portfolio at hand and a few more projects to engage wine connoisseurs from across the world, they seem to be sitting pretty. Says Mandla, “For a country that was told that it cannot make wines at all, we managed to strengthen our base in local markets. Now, the time is to look outwards as well.”
So, what’s new from the Grover Zampa vineyards? The company now sells to Tier II and Tier III cities and has started exporting its premium products to countries such as France, Japan and the UK. Last year, they also started exporting to the USA and Australia. Within the borders of India, approaching wine clubs and wine festivals has been their way to promote their premium wines. These premium wines, some of which were started only last year, have been anywhere in the range of ₹ 650 to ₹1,850 per bottle. This includes a Vijay Amritraj collection, named after the popular Indian tennis star and an Art Collection including names such as Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and the likes. The La Reserve, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz, has by far been their most exclusive wine, winning a Decanter Asia award last year in Singapore.
Starting January onwards, it is looking at promoting these wines in a way that they can ask hotels to promote wine drinking with Indian cuisine. That may be an eyebrow raiser, for sure. But, Mandla is not worried. “It has worked with Italian and French cuisines, so why not Indian? With the right expertise, I am sure we can change the way we consume wine in this country. Besides the obvious, it would obviously be a great choice of beverage if you’re watching your health.”
The company also plans to promote wine tourism through their vineyards. Where in the past they have organised The Great Grover Stomp in Nashik and The Great Grover Wine Festival in Bengaluru to allow wine lovers to be a part of the harvest season, they’re keen to have a space for people to come and have a wine afternoon or evening at their properties in Nashik and Bengaluru. They plan to open the wineries for dine-in facilities sometime later this year and start work on a premium hotel to add to experience, which, if all goes well, should be complete in three years.
There is no space for competition at Grover Zampa. There is always space for more wine, though. Mandla says, “We need to educate the customer and add more activities so that we can facilitate faster growth. Sula has done some great work as well, but we are focusing on becoming a premium wine producer and we are going to keep going in that direction.” For now, they’re okay with having two of their wines being served at Michelin 3-star restaurants in France and are pushing their sparkling wines in this subcontinent, with their eyes on the rest of the world.