Indias erstwhile Portuguese colonies interest me

Written by Jyoti Verma | Updated: Jan 27 2008, 03:59am hrs
Do you know that wine corks are categorised into seven levels based on their quality Well, heres more. The quality of a cork depends on the raw material used and the production processes adopted. There are also different corks for fortified, sparkling and still wines. Cork used for wine stoppers is from a stately oak tree called Quercus Suber L. It is a vegetable tissue formed from micro cells that fit closely together. Corks most obvious characteristics are its lightness, stability, resistance to wear and tear, elasticity, thermal insulation, and sealing ability. At Amorim, we invest about $6 million a year in research and development towards our quality commitment to the wine trade. Cork is big for us, says Jose Antonio Remoaldo, area sales manager, Amorim & Irmaos, SA.

Well, must be, if the company is known for its heritage of 135 years and being the worlds biggest cork manufacturer. For Remoaldo, the sales manager at Amorim, the current Indian trip gives him an opportunity to share interesting factoids with the Indian public. Remoaldo has visited the vineyards off Nasik and raised a toast with the whos-who of Indias wine industry in Delhi. This 36-year-old Portugueses agenda to decode Indias interests in cork and beyond has indeed started on a good note.

The Amorim Group (Amorim Investimentos E Participaes, SGPS, SA), with over 140 companies and 6,000 employees worldwide, is one of the largest companies in Portugal. Its operations include real estate, tourism, natural resources, wine and agriculture, technology, insurance, commercial development, communications and cork production. The four-generation-old business traces its beginning to 1870, when it began manufacturing natural cork closures for the Portuguese port wine market. Today, the manufacturing of cork stoppers is directed by Amorim & Irmos with manufacturing facilities and sales offices in over 37 countries. With over 3.5 billion corks manufactured each year, Amorim is by far the largest manufacturer of natural cork closures in the world. Our recent measures toward the product has been based on our fight against TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole), a major cause of taint in wine, with new prevention technologies. With these initiatives, we, along with other members of the cork industry and individual producers, are striving to achieve the highest standards, he says.

Planning its debut in India through its tie-ups with the domestic spirits industry, Remoaldo is looking at other potential business areas. Today, the other allied businesses make a higher percentage of sales for Amorim, but our first love is cork for the spirits industry. The good news is that globally, imported whiskies are growing well. The growth in the malt market itself is quite astonishing. The malts market is growing at over 30% per annum and some brands are, individually, growing at 40% each year. It is a time to expand and benefit, he believes.

This is Remoaldos second trip to India. It is a country he has always read about. With literature as his subject in graduation, his views about the country have been based around personalities like Tagore and Rushdie. One can understand the culture of any land through its scripts and people who contribute to these. So, whichever corner of the world you are living in, you can always learn how people in other corners of the planet conduct their lives, he says. With travel and history being his two other interest areas, he believes holidaying here can help him know the country better. I have always been interested in erstwhile Portuguese colonies. Goa is thus an ideal spot for a holiday with my family, he says.