Ex-Four Seasons winemaker launches own label

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Pune | Published: May 11, 2019 4:16:48 AM

What is interesting about this venture is Kewadkar has come out with his own label for these handmade wines which will be bottled in France.

Abhay Kewadkar

Veteran winemaker Abhay Kewadkar has decided to launch his own label of wines – Early Dark – under his venture Tetrad Global Beverages, in partnership with Rishar Minocher.

Kewadkar, who left Four Seasons Winery, owned by Diageo (earlier by United Spirits) over a year ago and is among India’s first winemakers, has decided to venture into import of wines, starting with the private label Early Dark from France, which is now available in Bangalore.

What is interesting about this venture is Kewadkar has come out with his own label for these handmade wines which will be bottled in France. He has also signed up two big wineries – GCF and Borie Manoux – to represent them in India. Kewadkar has spent years making wines at Chateau Indage, Grover and United Spirits.

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“I have been making wines all my life, But, I wanted to do something different rather than being just an importer, and therefore decided to start my own label of wines. I have known Anne Arbeau, the owner and fourth generation of Vignobles Arbeau, for 20 to 25 years. She has always wanted to sell wine in India, a label that keeps the French heritage. So, we are not selling table wine; we are bringing in wines that are IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée, a quality category of French wine). Early Dark’s portfolio of wines, which includes a Reserve range of three varietals and blends and a special Regional range of another three varietals, is produced in vineyards of Sud Quest in France.

Tetrad Global Beverages is a boutique marketing and distribution company for bottled in origin (BIO) wines, spirits and beers. Tetrad was founded by India’s foremost authorities on beverages – Abhay Kewadkar and Rishad Minocher.

Till 2017, Kewadkar was as executive director and chief wine maker at Four Seasons Wines, a part of United Spirits – a Diageo Group company. He has played a major role in developing India’s wine business and putting Indian wines on the world map.

Minocher has extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant business having managed and invested in Highgates Hotel and worked in the hospitality and beverage industry in Denmark, Italy and France. Minocher is the president of La Chaine des Rotisseurs India Chapter (the world’s oldest and largest gourmet society based in Paris).

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Kewadkar has launched two ranges of wine in partnership with Vignobles Arbeau — the Reserve range and the Regional range, with three varietals in each. The Reserve range includes Chateau Coutinel 2016, Geraud Arbeau Bordeaux Rouge 2016 and the Sauvignon Blanc 2017. The Regional range comprises Cabernet Merlot 2017, Chardonnay 2017 and Rose Winé 2017.

Exported to 36 countries despite France remaining its biggest market, Vignoble Arbeau’s wines are also being sold in China and Japan and now in India. The wines have been priced between Rs 1,260 and Rs 1,600 for the IGP range. The first container arrived in January this year to be sold in Karnataka. By June, the wines should be available in the eastern and western parts of India. They will reach the northern part of the country by August.

Kewadkar’s company has tied up with Borie-Manoux, one of France’s biggest family-owned wineries and wine merchant groups. Founded in 1870, they own over a dozen Grands Crus and Classical Chateaux in Bordeaux, and export to 90 countries and make 550 million bottles of wine. They will now send their range of wines to India.

Another tie-up is with the GCF Group, a wine grower, viticulturist and maturation specialist in almost all the great wine-producing regions of France.

The AOP ( Appellation d’Origine Protégée) range of wines will be priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,800. Kewadkar’s company is in the process of setting up a distribution network for their wines. There are plans to bring in spirits and beers at a later stage.

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