Grover Zampa Vineyards, the country’s second largest wine producer is expanding itself into a multi-brand lifestyle label post its three acquisitions in the wine space also encouraging wine tourism in a big way. In an interaction with FE, CEO Vivek Chandramohan shares the company plans on future growth. Edited excerpts:
Grover Zampa Vineyards is among India’s oldest wine companies in the country. What kind of measures is the company taking to transform itself from a family owned business to a professionally managed company?
The long term plan is to become a public limited company and to have an Initial Public Offering (IPO). To enable this, new talent with expertise in devising the appropriate systems are being looped in to further strengthen our efforts to complete the transformation. To encourage a holistic approach, we have ensured that our all new board comprises of members from diverse backgrounds and with distinct skill sets, to strategically redesign the business and its outlook both internally and externally. The original promoters and their family members are no longer actively involved in the business.
Are acquisitions part of the strategy to expand reach and bring in new varietals? Could you explain the reasoning behind the three latest acquisitions and how does the company plan to synergise these with the Grover brand. Will these brands continue as before or switch to Grover brand names?
The wine industry has been on a positive growth trajectory for the past few years, with growing interest from varying consumers. To reach out to these very consumers through various touch-points — an insight which has significantly dictated our association with Four Seasons, Charosa and Myra. With the addition of three new brands, we aim to utilise the USP of each brand. The locations of their vineyards will enable us to test out newer grape varieties. They also boast of a strong national presence and regional distribution, which will further fortify our distribution footprint. The addition of Charosa was made to capitalise on their unique style of new world wines, while also leveraging their planted and yielding land bank (which is about 230 acres) and enable access to another 500 acres in the vicinity. Their current capacity stands at about 5 lakh litres, with an incremental capacity capability of another 10 lakh litres. With Four Seasons, we were granted access to a 15 lakh litre capacity, a 50 acres land bank and additional access to another 200 acres of vineyards. There is a Chateau with 26 rooms which will soon be refurbished.
With the consolidation, we are venturing to expand into a multi-brand lifestyle label with wine being at the core of our business. We are looking at widening our portfolio and offering more varietals that resonate with new age wine drinkers. This will also lead to an increased focus on wine tourism.Each individual brand will for now be labeled under their current brand names and styles, with amendments in the pipeline pertaining to styles, packaging or pricing (or all) once a right brand fitment has been established.
The company plans new investments of `200 crore? Are these funds meant for the acquisitions and expansion?
A major portion of investment will be directed towards securing new technology, fortifying our current capacities to last through the next decade, building our hospitality vertical, owning our own vineyards to ensure quality and starting an imports division. We will also actively be increasing the Company-owned land banks with the new investments that are coming in round 2 very soon.
How is the company planning to position itself in the market? Will it seek premium positioning or also address first time drinkers with lighter wines? Are there plans to bring in new varietals such as carbonated wines, wine coolers in addition to reserve wines?
We are looking at diversifying our portfolio. With our current offerings and the newer additions, we have already set foot into an all-encompassing positioning, with wines available to suit the palates of both premium and exclusive clientele, as well as the occasional and recreational wine drinkers. We will also be entering the ready to drink (RTD) segment shortly. The purpose is not only to provide the first time drinkers an introduction to the world of wine, but also to debunk the myth that wine is an old-fashioned drink.
Grover Zampa has recently opened a new visitor centre in Bangalore. The company is also looking at establishing visitor chalets at Nashik. Could you share the plans to encourage wine tourism?
The company has launched a new visitor centre in our Bangalore winery. In Bangalore, our winery is now home to our very first restaurant and lounge — Lounge de La Réserve, Cave the La Reserve, a tasting room specifically designed to conduct tastings and master classes in the right environment and Boutique the La Reserve, for cellar door sales of the wines. We also launched exclusive wines, Vendanges Tardives: a rich, intense, full-bodied aged dessert wine of uncommon grace and elegance, delivering floral notes and traces of spice and apricot; La Réserve Royale Brut: a sparkling vino, traditional method, partly fermented in barrels and aged for more than 30 months, this wine delivers a complex bouquet of lemon zest, flowers, fresh hazelnuts and brioche; and a new vintage of Insignia: a dry wine with medium body leading to an intricate and meandering trail of fruit-berries, coffee and chocolate, with a hint of black pepper. Replicating our efforts in Nashik, in addition to our Lounge de La Reserve, Cave de La Reserve and Boutique de La Reserve, we are looking at launching a one of its kind Wine Spa which will also house a natural swimming pool and building over 60 all-glass chalets.