Bangalore-based Grover Vineyards merged with Nashik-based Vallee de Vin in 2012 to create Grover Zampa Vineyards– one of the largest Indian vintner. It began positioning at least eight of its brands including sparkling and still wines in the price range of Rs 200 to Rs 1,100 a bottle. It also revamped its portfolio, besides rolling out two new port wines in the Rs 100-150 category, in a bid to enter the volume market. The aim was to have a full portfolio to cater to all ends of the market, and grow volumes by at least 50% by 2014. CEO Sumedh Mandla, discusses the growing wine market of India.
What new synergies and strengths has the merger with Vallee de Vin yielded for your company?
This is a big advantage and considering that Grover Zampa Vineyards is the only company currently which owns winery and vineyards in these two top winemaking regions in India. This also provides us with an opportunity to create an aggressive platform for wine education, marketing, distribution, and offering quality service in top two wine drinking states: Maharashtra and Karnataka. We now offer a bigger portfolio covering wider price range and wine style to the consumer, across India and globally. This merger also brought in most required capital infusion for expansion, diversification and taking our company to the next level.
HoReCa or Retail? Which sector holds more promise by way of brand positioning and sales for your products?
I personally believe that the HoReCa segment should be the route to enter any market and for brand building. This should be followed by distribution and drive in the Retail segment. We focus on both the segments and our annual sales last year would almost be equally balanced between these two segments.
What potential do Indian wines hold for export?
This is a great opportunity that Indian wines can explore. Quality, packaging, marketing and distribution are key elements for success here. As an Industry, we need to do lot of work to create positive impression for Indian wines in the mind of wine lovers across the globe. Grover Zampa has a strong focus on exports. We are currently exporting to 15 countries with France, Japan and UK as our top 3 export markets. This year, we will target further expansion and introduction of our wines in several new markets.
How is Wine Tourism impacting the wine industry in India?
Wine tourism is a natural progression for any wine growing region in the world. Wine is a very intense and diverse subject, and wine lovers across the world love the opportunity to experience different wines, vineyards, wineries, terroir, and to get familiar with the USPs of any wine region or brand. This sector has immense potential for generating employment, developing the small scale feeder industry, and generating foreign exchange through export.
What needs to be done to promote Wine Tourism in the country?
The Indian wine Industry is still at its nascent stage and we believe that there is underlying opportunity for all wine producers and wine marketing companies to grow in this environment. The quality and packaging of Indian wines has improved across the board, which to me, is a great sign.
However, there is a lot more that needs to be done to promote Wine Tourism in India. First and foremost, the Wine Sector needs to be accepted as cash crop and government subsidies need to be provided to the wine farmers and producers as done for other cash crops.
The Wine Industry and Wine Tourism provide a great employment opportunity. Wine Tourism development plan should comprise measures to facilitate better infrastructure: we need to create better accessibility, proper roads, transportation and connectivity, low bank lending rates for development of quality facilities for tourism projects, hygienic and quality dining experience to entice better Wine Tourism.
What are your expansion plans for the company?
Well, like any business house, we will be looking at multi-dimensional aspect of our business. Our key focus would include further growing our quality so that we can compete more openly on the international platform; to grow our distribution in domestic as well as international markets; to create a better communication platform to educate and convert more consumers into drinking wine, and creating better recall and loyalty for Grover Zampa Vineyard brands; to create a happy and self-motivated team of professional. Product and process innovation will also be an integral part of our plan.
Any new product launch in the offing?
This year, we have planned the launch of Grover La Reserve Blanc across Indian and export markets. Also, our Grand reserve wine Chene will be introduced in multiple markets. We will also be introducing a premium wine brand with a renowned Indian personality in international markets in the next 2 months. This will be followed by an all- India launch.
What growth are you targeting for the current fiscal?
We will be targeting 70% growth over last year.