Vinsura wines were formally launched in Delhi on Tuesday after a trial period of 2 years. Four of their signature wines including Chenin and Rose` were showcased by eight models in glittering outfits at the fashion show organized by their distributors Giltedge Enterprises at Mayfair Gardens , near Qutab Minar. After the brief presentation parade, wines were uncorked for the people present from the media, hospitality and wine marketing fraternity.
Rose` has been the latest addition to the four year old winery situated in the Vinchur Wine Park near Nashik. It is, perhaps the first time that a Rose` is being produced by mixing red and white grapes, outside the Champagne region (no other appellation recognizes production of Rose` by mixing the two!). Mr. M.P. Sharma, the (ex-Sula) winemaker of Sankalp Winery producing these wines, informed me that they use approximately 80% Chenin and 20% Zinfandel to make it. Fermentation is done by treating the blend of both the juices as white wine making process. Zin grape bunches are de-stemmed and soaked at 10 degs for a few days to extract colour, before mixing their free run juice with the must of Chenin. With residual sugar at less than 2 gms per liter, this wine is fairly dry, though Chenin in it does give it a slightly sweet flavour.
Sankalp has been in wine production already for four years and hopes to take Sula head-on in quality (and now in PR, it would appear!). According to Sadashiv Nathe, its grape grower CEO, they had entered four Vinsura wines for the blind tasting of Nashik wines held earlier in April by an independent taster from Europe . All of them won an award with the red Zinfandel winning the top honours. ‘Champagne Indage had to be satisfied with two out of the 20 wines they entered. Sula too bagged only two out of the total of ten top wines awarded and one wine from ND Wines got this recognition,' adds Nathe.
Vinsura had started selling in Delhi a couple of years ago by pricing the Sauvignon, Chenin and Zinfandel at Rs. 340. Priced lower than any equivalent quality label, it was well accepted by the market. The rates were increased last year to Rs. 380/390 for inexplicable reasons, making them more expensive than, at least, Grover whites and Cab-Shiraz. ‘The excise duty at appx. Rs. 94 a bottle and VAT of 20% make selling our wines in Delhi a tough preposition. Our business has not suffered much though with this increase,' feels Prahlad Khadangale, Chairman of the company and a passionate wine grape grower who used to supply grapes to Sula before entering the winemaking business himself. He had spent considerable time in France and Italy , learning their viticulture practice and wine making techniques .
Sanjeev Dutta, an NRI from London , returning to his roots after 18 years in England , was also present to receive guests at the scheduled time of 7:45 pm , not realizing that it is fashionable to be an hour late in Delhi for any event. The fashion show organized by his company, Giltedge might not be the most fashionable way of launching a wine, but it did add glamour to the evening. The presence of media in full force, courtesy their PR agency , should help the publicity of Brand Vinsura.
Beneficiaries of this up-coming brand will be ‘even more in Punjab and Haryana where the VAT is expected to be reduced to 4% and excise duty is much lower', said a beaming Prahlad. At the expected MRP of Rs. 300-320 the varietals do promise an excellent value for money. Even their low end table wine ‘Valentino' made from indigenous table grapes, priced at Rs. 200-220 offers an alternative to Sula's Madera and Indage's Riviera, feels Prahlad.
With their Chenin based sparkling wine already double-fermenting in bottles, awaiting the remuage and disgorging equipment from Europe in a couple of months, and the 4.5 lakh liters of wine sleeping in the tanks with a potential turnover of 30,000 cases in 15 states, and a jump of more than 130% over last year's 13000 cases, Khadangle and Nhate are on a well-deserved high.
August 10, 2006