Renaissance winery is one of the Top 10 winery in India. I had a chance to interview with Mr. Shivaji F. Aher, CEO of Renaissance Winery.
What is your passion on Wines?
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“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world”, said Ernest Hemmingway. Shivaji Aher completely agrees to this statement. Today any social do is incomplete without the flow of wine. Of course good wine is an excellent topic for discussion, often becoming the center of conversation as people compare and comment on the body, texture, vintage or flavor of the wine being served. “There is so much to wine drinking that it amazes me every time I chat up with a wine connoisseur”, says Aher.
His passion lies in understanding the nitty-gritty of wine making and viticulture, as much as in its drinking etiquettes.
How did you enter the business of producing wines?
Traditionally an agriculturist, with a history of table grape farming, the Ahers have been associated with grape cultivation for more than a couple of decades. A die-hard businessman, Shivaji Aher was exploring the potential of producing ethanol, when he realized the potential of fine wine in the Indian market. Over a period of 5-6 years, he slowly converted his farms to cultivate high quality wine grapes like Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon, Syraz, Cabernet, Zinfandel etc. Today he has more than 150 acres of his own vineyards and another 85 acres under contract to him.
In 2004, with sheer hard work and perseverance, he realized his dream of setting up a state-of-art Winery in Ozar, Nashik.
Explain the problems faced by wine industry and how do you plan to tackle them?
Shortage of skilled and trained manpower is a critical problem faced by this young industry. The industry faces four basic challenges; wine regulations clubbed with hard liquor, lack of education amongst consumers and the industry people, lack of strict regulations and controls on wines and inadequate and improper storage and transportation logistics.
An active Wine Association in Nashik with most of the wineries as members is trying to tackle the common issues. Renaissance Winery is keenly working on educating its distributors and consumers through awareness classes and Wine Tasting sessions.
What are you future plans for Renaissance Winery?
Wines being considered as lifestyle product, it requires niche marketing. Renaissance will position its products purely based on wine making ethics, quality and exclusive packaging.
Aher says, “We will never join the rat race by under-cutting and freebies. Our products are targeted to the real connoisseurs who can differentiate between the bad and superior wines”. Presently Renaissance bottles two whites: Chenin Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc and two reds: Shiraz Cabernet & Cabernet Sauvignon-Classique. We will soon be adding a Zinfandel Rose and Vin Royale, another variety of Chenin Blanc. The winery also plans to produce blends exclusively for select high volume consumers.
Renaissance is keenly exploring possibilities of improving the storage and delivery logistics, after the wines leave the winery.
Which are your favorite wines?
Shivaji Aher once in a while enjoys a Chardonnay from Napa Valley or a St.Emilion from Bordeaux. He also finds some of the new world wines from Australia, New Zealand, North America, South Africa and South America very good. But of course, his personal favorite and loyalty lies with his excellent Chenin Blanc with its rich in aromas suggestive of honey and melon; and the Cabernet Sauvignon – Classique for its very powerful and recognizable aroma of black currants, rich deep purple color, soft tannins and a full body.
Best of Luck Mr. Shivaji F. Aher for your future success!
Venki is the founder of www.indianwine.com, wine enthusiastic, my hobby is to visit vineyards writing wine journal and appreciating new world wines.