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Madiza Wines: Starting Small-Dreaming Big

Posted: Thursday, 13 June 2013 17:15

Madiza Wines: Starting Small-Dreaming Big

June 13: There is nothing new in an importer starting small and dreaming to make it big as a leading importer, but when Hyderabad–based Madiza Wines, importing wines from only one winery in Italy, has sold around twelve hundred cases in the first full-year of operation, it is a breath of fresh air for the choking imports and a warning to the established importers that the owner Ravi Kanth Popuri means business, writes Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewStarted in November 2011, Madiza notched a sale of around 1200 cases of wine, says Ravikanth, MD of Madiza. According to the Hyderabad Excise Records, Madiza sold 1133 cases of imported wine-with no duty-free sales at all, thus brushing past Aspri with a sale of 1072 that includes DF sales as well. With deals in the process of being clinched with ITC, Park Hyatt and a couple of other hotels which would not be fair to disclose on the part of delWine, he hopes to triple his sales this year - a much better batting performance than other rookies and recent entrants.

‘Bangalore sales were opened up but due to material shortages, we have had to slow down in that market. We have permissions from both APBCL (Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Ltd.) and KSBCL to market wines through them,’ he says.

If these figures are impressive for a first full year of operations, get this! He is selling wines from only one Italian company in Friuli - Cantina San Martina - as its sole importer and distributor. The winery has 3 flagship brands 12 labels of which are being sold in India, namely La Corte (4), Corte Sassonia (2) and Pitars (4)-the high-end luxury wine named after Pittaros, the Italian owners.

Ravi has no wine background. In fact he had been a banker and a financial consultant for the past 15 years. Due to foreign travels he got the bug of starting wine imports as a business, he says. ‘Today it has become my life.’  He travelled to Europe visiting several wineries. ‘I had even contacted you, perhaps you don’t remember. I studied the Indian Wine Academy website thoroughly before I started reaching out,’ he tells me unabashedly.

If the importers in Delhi are fed up with the government interventions and bureaucratic procedures choking them, they should take solace when he tells delWine that Hyderabad is a much tougher market than Delhi and Mumbai in terms of government interference. ‘There are hurdles and extra costs at every step of the way,’ but he is determined enough to face the challenges. 'It cannot continue forever,’ he says, hoping that 'the government will realize one day that wine is not the usual alcohol and will relax its unfair and irrational policies towards wine.’

However, fed up of the process delays, he ordered 3 container-loads of wine and has enough stocks to supply the hotels without interruption-that seems to be a perennial problem in Hyderabad, according to him. Besides reviving the Bangalore market soon, he is getting geared up to mark his presence in other important locations of the country – Chennai, Goa (the next two markets),Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, etc and is hopeful to be operational in these markets within  2013-14.

Ravi seems to have planned a two-pronged attack to increase his market share. On one hand he has priced his products very low compared to the competition. His cheapest wine sells for less than Rs.1100 AI; and this includes 33% taxes to APBCL and a ridiculously high VAT of 70%! A close competitor agreed with delWine but wondered how he could give such low prices. ‘By having razor thin margins’, he insists.

On the other hand, he has been working very hard, almost exclusively, to promote Brand Pitar and Madiza. He has been organizing events which most of the big importers would think thrice to touch. He organised 35 wine events in 2012. Before even starting the sales, he brought in an Italian sommelier for 3 months, who went to various places educating potential customers. The recent Monsoon Ball at Park Hyatt was a roaring success, he says. Ravi does not mind sharing that he is in final stages of signing a contract with a hotel for 500-1000 cases sale for the year; no doubt an ambitious target but signifying the huge untapped potential of the IT city population.

Click For Large ViewUsing successfully the social media-@ bottledpoetry in Facebook with over 7000 members in a short time and @bottled_poetry in twitter, he has been creating a lot of interest in his products. A catalogue-cum diary that I received from him just this morning, is perhaps the best form of communications or PR and Branding I have seen and is truly of top international standards (even though I suspect it has been sponsored by the Pittaros to focus on branding Pitars).

While most importers struggle to promote the difficult sounding Italian grapes and wines, he says his La Corte Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso has been selling very well. Simply known as Refosco, this fruity red wine is a specialty of Friuli and the palates of Hyderabad seem to have been impressed by the wine.

‘While our beginnings are small, our dreams are big’ says Ravikanth Popuri, adding in the same breath that he plans to be the leading importer of India. While every importer has the same secret ambition Ravi seems to be acting with professionalism and a strategy and it would be fair to warn the Brindcos and Aspris of India that the future holds challenges to them in terms of holding the market share but a lot of excitement for the wine market and consumers.

If you want to size up Madiza Wines, visit or their FB and Twitter pages.

Subhash Arora

Tags: Madiza Wines, Italy, Ravi Kanth Popuri, Friuli, Cantina San Martina, Refosco



DN Raju Says:

Very happy to read about the way Mr Ravikanth has gone about building his wine venture ! Especially kicked to see this new kid on the block from south's name being mentioned along side Brindco and Aspri !. All the best Ravikanth keep up the good spirit and may you reach your goal. D N Raju Mg Director Soma vineyards Bangalore.

Posted @ June 18, 2013 11:50


Ravikanth Popuri Says:


Thank you sir. You really make us feel proud ! Memoirs/Diary Idea, Concept, Design, Production, etc is all done by Madiza…………..including the payment ??Thanks again for the kind words, appreciation of our work and motivation through the article. This only makes us more strong and reinstate the faith in our work. Warm Regard. Ravikanth

Posted @ June 15, 2013 16:43


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