Deepak Roy, with 30 years of experience in the wine and spirits business is ready to launch his range of Zampa. He shares with IndianWine.com his unique selling proposition…
Quality. This single world describes the aces up Roy’s sleeve. Teamed with Australian winemaker Paul Bailey and viticulturist Gaberson, he began production at Vintage Wines’ winery last year. “We sourced the grapes approved by both our winemaker and viticulturist and got the first crush at Vintage Wines’ facilities, as our winery was not ready then. Now, we have our own vineyards and winery. The vineyards at Sanjhigaon, lie between Igatpuri and Nashik, just 6 km off the main Mumbai-Nashik highway,” informs Roy.
Zampa Valle de Vin’s vintage 2007 of Shiraz and Chenin Blanc is ready for bottling at Valle de Vin’s own winery in early February. This is vintage 2007, what of 2008? “We have 30 acres under plantation right now and are looking at adding another 100 acres,” says Roy. “In the new harvest (2008), we will continue with Shiraz and Chenin Blanc. And do another wine Viognier, also a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Blush,” he reveals. Vallee de Vin is going for a boutique image. Priced at around Rs 500 per bottle, the wines will compete with premium wines. Quality comparable with the best in the world will be their USP.
Confident of success, Roy is rolling out 250,000 bottles in the first year, while aiming at a million bottles in four years time. Roy’s self-assured attitude comes as no surprise, considering his portfolio of 30 years. He has trotted the globe selling wine and spirits and has a fair idea of what works in the global market and what doesn’t.
Reminicising on the dawn of the Indian wine industry, Roy shares, “The wine business in those days in India was very small. It is only towards the early part of 2000 that the wine industry started emerging in India. Then there were only three players: Sula, Grover and Indage.” Roy saw a lot of scope to utilize his 30 years of experience. Zampa wines from Vallee de Vin will not only be a quality product but win aces in marketing too.
Well, it doesn’t get better than this on strategy… Just when Indian consumers, especially young men and women are increasingly spending on wine and exploring its complexity and pleasure quotient, Roy is here to tap the market. Quality, competitive pricing, marketing and distribution, are part of the blueprint.
“I want to give the consumer a better quality product than currently available in the market,” says Roy, not without adding, “Among the Indian wines, my favourites are Sula Dindori Reserve and Reveilo Reserve wines. Reveilo is making very good wines, comparable with the best in the world, and my challenge is to make my wines even better than Reveilo,” with a naughty smile.
Commenting on why, Indian wines find it difficult to compete on the quality front, Roy says, “The government’s policy, especially in Maharashtra, has been to promote farmers, without a clue on how to manage the front end, how to manage the consumer... That’s where I come in.” Expertise, knowhow, research and resources define quality, no doubt.
Roy speaks of his checklist for quality: “Quality measures begin with viticulture, adopting the best practices for plantation, and restricting the yield to under 3 tonnes per acre.” India’s hot climate disturbs fermentation, therefore the harvested grapes while warm from the tropical sun are first taken to a cool room where their temperature is brought down to 4 degrees C, before they go for crushing to be turned into Zampa wines.
Considering that there are at least 10 Shiraz in the market right now, how would Zampa Vallee de Vin Shiraz be different enough to leave an impact? To this, he answers, “Quality of the wine, of course. It is a very balanced wine, very smooth to drink; not too sweet, not too dry. We have made what we believe the Indian consumer will be drinking. It is comparable to the better wines of the world.”
As the Indian wine industry has been growing steadily, what is Roy’s view of the Indian consumers? “The Indian wine consumer now has more global experience. They are travelling a lot. Imported wines are now available in India, and provide a wider wine experience. This goes to say, that the Indian consumer has a better understanding of wines, than they did before.” That is why, newer wines are available in the market, and people are experimenting. “Our marketing plans include closely targeting consumers…”
In the past 7 years, everything related with the Indian wine industry has seen growth, including Nashik’s credentials as a grape growing area. So is it time enough for a Nashik appellation? Roy states, “Rajeev from Sula has started the process. We are all working on it…”
As quality evolves to be the keyword for the Indian wine industry, appellations and due recognition will surely follow, as will still more growth. Vallee de Vin sure seems to be in tune here!
Reports by Venki & Anisha Sharma