Sula’s market share rises 10% despite pandemic on home consumption boost

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June 05, 2021 6:10 AM

Sula now has a market share of 70% of retail wine sales, he said, adding it has always focused on the consumer. Sula has eliminated all marketing spends and focused only on digital, he added.

“Tourism is going to continue to be depressed, business travel is going to take at least 2 years to get back to normal and institutional sales are not coming back soon. But there has been a massive shift to home consumption,” Samant said.“Tourism is going to continue to be depressed, business travel is going to take at least 2 years to get back to normal and institutional sales are not coming back soon. But there has been a massive shift to home consumption,” Samant said.

The pandemic has been tough for most discretionary consumer businesses, but Sula Vineyards has managed to increase its market share during the period to 70% from 60% a year ago.

Rajeev Samant, founder CEO, Sula Vineyards, pointed out that while it has been a horrible experience, the pandemic has also been an opportunity to do things differently. “We worked on hospitality while not increasing the cost base and improving experience for the customer. And I was also there for the entire 2020 vintage harvest, something that I have not done in a long time,” he said. “Sula has come out of the pandemic much stronger. Now, we have a slightly pared down company in terms of manpower and operations. We cut down the contract labour from 60-70 people per day to 20, especially since many had returned to their villages,” he added.

“Tourism is going to continue to be depressed, business travel is going to take at least 2 years to get back to normal and institutional sales are not coming back soon. But there has been a massive shift to home consumption,” Samant said.

Sula now has a market share of 70% of retail wine sales, he said, adding it has always focused on the consumer. Sula has eliminated all marketing spends and focused only on digital, he added.

After the first lockdown was over, the company saw a massive bounce-back and did roaring business. The resort had 90% occupancy for 5 months before the second lockdown, which was unexpected. “Before that, we were running at 65% occupancy and suddenly, we jumped to 90% occupancy. Sula has 40 acres, 60 keys, and in terms of density of guests, you barely bump into other guests,” he said.

On the acquisition of York Winery, Samant said completion of the deal will happen this month. “Smaller wineries have been struggling, it has been a difficult time and Covid did not make things easier. York is our neighbour, we know each other well, we respect each other. We will immediately be able to widen the distribution reach of York, double the number of distributors, triple the number of retailers,” he said.

Samant said he continues to be bullish on the growth of the wine sector in India. “From mid-June, things will start opening up again. We hope to welcome tourists back to the vineyard from July. Last year, it was not until September. The structural changes made in our business will protect us in the long run,” he said. “I am still bullish on wine in India, the overall consumption is still miniscule and there is a long way to go,” Samant added.

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