The Purpose behind the event
Grover Vineyards, India's second oldest winery, is known for its flagship brand "La Reserve", a Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz blend. Valle De Vin Pvt. Ltd, is the producer of Zampa and One Tree hill labels, both premium brands in India. With the combination of the expertise of both these premium brands, wine consumers can look forward to a new bigger brand set to take the Indian wine industry by storm this coming year. The grandness of The Great Grover Stomp gave us an insight into that!
Says Ravi Jain, Director of Grover Zampa, “We have a full bouquet of products, all of which will now be branded as Grover. For now, we will leave our smaller brands alone and concentrate on building Grover as a brand. Communicating about it was the main purpose behind this event.”
Pegged to be an annual event, The Great Grover Stomp was brimming with entertainment and good spirits. Driving from Mumbai airport for 3 hours and arriving at the winery at 12:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon, one found that the parking lot was jammed, and the place was packed with people flocking from the bar to the winery, and to other parts of the sprawling campus.
An enthralling live band tirelessly played for the entire afternoon, keeping the mood upbeat. Beautiful artwork adorned the walls of the winery, and earned the appreciation of all those present. Says Mr. Jain, “This event was not so much about music but more about wine cooking, wine tasting, and wine appreciation. For us it’s more about wine for people, and our event also stands for art and culture. We plan to incorporate more features next year to add more substance to the event.”
An event card provided at the reception desk listed the flow of events for the day. This included a vineyard trail, a winery & vineyard tour, a ‘know your nose’ competition, grape crushing, wine tasting in the cellar and lunch. Though I was a part of all the festivities, it was the wine tasting that intrigued me the most. Led by Karishma Grover, the third generation of the Grover family, we were taken through a journey of taste from grape to bottle for three of their fine wines – Grover Sauvignon Blanc 2012, La Reserve 2010-Special Selection Cabernet/Shiraz blend from their erstwhile Zampa Vineyards , and Shiraz 2010 all diverse and unique in their own way.
Though the event was successful in terms of turnout (according to Jain, 500 were expected but close to 650 were present), a little more effort could be put into some aspects in terms of organization. For one, the bar ran out of red and white wine glasses too early on. Instead of collecting old ones and recycling the same to patrons, bartenders simply served wine in champagne glasses.
I was pointed to a special tent where food cooked in Grover/Zampa wines was laid out. On reaching the designated area, I was disappointed to find out that all the food was over, and was directed to the buffet instead where a long queue with a single service station awaited you, with the staff of Taj Gateway Nashik seemingly overwhelmed. The main spread of the buffet was limited but delicious and featured Indian starters, dal makhani, rice, accompanied by a functional salad bar. A pasta counter stood majestically in a corner but had nothing exciting to offer. The desserts also were nothing to write home about.
However, my most disappointing experience was missing out on the Vineyard Trail, for no fault of mine. I had signed up for the Vineyard Trail and was very excited to take this guided tour and learn more about the vineyard practices since I have done an MBA for sustainable practices at San Francisco State and it never ceases to excite me at any winery. However, when I reached the counter fifteen minutes before the designated time of 3:30 pm, I was told that the tour had already left since “there didn’t seem to be enough people.” In this case, being ahead of time on the organizer’s part doesn’t count as being professional! When I asked as to where the event manager was, I was told that he wasn’t present at the venue!
One of the highlights of this event was the 21 symmetrical tents aligned side by side, along with a dinner tent, on top of the hill. These tents offered a picturesque view of the winery, vineyard, and locale, and added to the allure of the event. Says Mr. Jain, “This year these tents were only for invitees. We plan to change the format next year. This is a step for us towards wine tourism.”
All in all, going purely by numbers, the fun activities, and the celebratory mood in the air, this event was a huge success. If tweaked a little, The Great Grover Stomp could well go on to give wine lovers one more reason to throng India’s Wine Country during harvest season, apart from the annual Sula Fest (though both these events are different in nature, they were barely a week apart this year).
Next up is the 17th Grover Golf Championship from 16th-17th Feb at Willingdon in Mumbai, featuring top players from BTDC, Willingdon, U.S. Club, and Pune Club, along with all golf related luminaries from top Mumbai and Pune Clubs. Explains Jain, “We plan to build the brand of Grover by positioning it to stand for fellowship of the finest. We have already started working towards taking our Golf Championship to other parts of the country.”
We at delWine are looking forward to next year’s Great Grover Stomp event! And going by the well chalked out plans of Mr. Ravi Jain, we’re certain that Grover Zampa will give us something more to talk about.
Rishi Vohra is the Mumbai Correspondent of delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators - USA. He has done an MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law from WWF-India. His debut fiction novel, ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,’ was released recently in bookstores and is already a bestseller.
Tags: Nashik, The Great Grover Stomp, Valle de Vin, Grover Vineyards, Grover Zampa, Rishi Vohra CSW
, La Reserve, Zampa, One Tree hill labels, Ravi Jain, Grover Zampa, Karishma Grover, Grover Sauvignon Blanc 2012, La Reserve 2010, Shiraz 2010, Taj Gateway Nashik, India’s Wine Country, Sula Fest, 17th Grover Golf Championship,Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Society of Wine Educators - USA, San Francisco State University, Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai