India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, 07 September 2010 15:01

Blog: Indage Vintners is NOT Bankrupt

Wine industry outside India appears to have misconstrued the order of the Mumbai High Court a couple of months ago for winding up Indage Vintners and fueled by  rumours, have come to believe that the company has collapsed and gone bankrupt. The fact is that it has since raised substantial capital and is hopefully on way to recovery.

During my recent wine visits to the US, Chile, South Africa and Germany where I have met several wine jurors and journalists from over 50 countries across all continents, the one question many don’t fail to ask or comment on, is whether Indage Vintners (earlier called Champagne Indage), known for Omar Khayyam in many of these countries over the last couple of decades, has collapsed and gone bankrupt.

It is important for our overseas readers to understand the difference between winding up petition being accepted by the court and actual bankruptcy. In India, a private or public company may be wound up (liquidated) through court order when it becomes insolvent and is unable to pay the creditors. The court may appoint an independent liquidator (receiver) who manages the affairs of the company till a solution is found or assets can be sold and the amount so recovered paid to the lenders under some conditions. In the case of Indage the court has passed the winding up order but there are several legal turns and remedies for the company to survive within our fair legal system.

Founded by Mr. Sham Chougule, Indage was the first Indian company that put India on the world map. Omar Khayyam was the sparkling wine branded in India as Marquis de Pompadour (MDP), which was exported from the very beginning and was well accepted. Some people in the industry had in fact started referring to him as Robert Mondavi of India because of his passion for wine and encouraging farmers in Maharashtra to switch to wine grapes.

The legacy of MDP and Omar Khayyam exists even today. I met Jacques Orhorn, a wine globe-trotter and educationist from Montreal last week in Germany. He had met one of the Chougules (I presume Shamji) in Chile some 20 years ago. ‘Champagne Indage produced Marquis de Pompadour and I remember it was very good,’ he said reminiscing of his meeting Chougule.

Although well accepted, it was mired in controversy with wine specialists and journalists.  Indage claimed to have used Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and tried to promote it as ‘champagne’. However, doubts were expressed locally and in the international press. A reliable wine book with a small chapter on Indian wines, even highlighted the issue.

I have met several people who worked in Indage during that period. They confirm that it was mostly Thomson seedless table grape. Same story was repeated in Riviera table wine which they claim contained Pinot Noir which as everyone knows does not grow well in the area at all!! Credibility of the company had become increasingly in question. Robert Mondavi never had this problem and was a darling of the wine industry till his very end despite his being forced to sell the company eventually.

Robert Mondavi whose passion to improve quality brought him to Bordeaux and use modern techniques to make Napa a famous brand and constantly working to improve the wine quality and increase consumption,  establishing it as a revered wine region in the US industry. Indage however started wine making purely as a commercial venture. The ambition for unbridled expansion by hook or by crook brought the company to its knees and the present woes.

From the Indian industry’s stand point it is important that Indage does not go bankrupt. Although Sula is doing a wonderful job in maintaining the seemingly infallible top position it snatched from Indage last year, healthy competition is extremely important for the growth of the industry.

In this respect, it will be extremely important for Indage to consider changing its business policies and strategies if it wants to keep away from bankruptcy. It is anybody’s guess if Indage will be able to take harsh decisions which are necessary. DelWine will continue to report with the usual straight-forward and unbiased approach. It was heartening to see Mr. Sham Chougule with whom a 10- minute meeting at the winery I had a few years ago stretched to 3 hours, walk up to me at the National Conference organised by the Indian Grape Processing Board of which he is the Chairman and say, ‘you are just doing your job, keep it up.’

Coming from a man about whose company I was the first in India to report that it was in trouble and that Sula had overtaken it, earning the wrath of many loyalists and received nasty and almost abusive feedback, I took it as a compliment. It gives me great satisfaction to set record straight, for international journalist, readers and other wine friends that Indage is NOT bankrupt.

And for the sake of Indian wine industry, I hope it would never be…

Subhash Arora



Sudhakar Joshi Says:

As i have mentioned 2 years back about my F.D. with indage, there is no improvement ihave yet to get the interest & principal amount.I only hope that i shall get the help

Posted @ July 26, 2012 11:10


Jayesh Says:

any latest information about indage

Posted @ September 19, 2012 17:00


Sudhakar Vishnu Joshi Says:

I am having the f.d.with this company i have not received the dividend for last 2 years.i have sent fdr. for maturity . there is only letters from them that they will pay we do not know when .the amount involved is 1 lakh whe we shall get the amount.

Posted @ September 14, 2010 14:02


Somesh Chaurasia Says:

Hi Mr Arora, I am one of long term believer in Indage story and Chogule family.  When so much bad press is given to such pioneer company - I feel lot of pain.   I am long term investor in this company and have been trying to grab more shares in recent days. However I am worried somehow as there has been no comments from Chougule family as scuh..... I was really impressed by your blog on

What is your sense of what is in store for this company and whether I should hope for anything good from Mr chougule.Concerned investor and Indage fan

Posted @ February 03, 2010 13:48


Rengaswami Says:

Thx subhash for the kind message. I atleast hope that INDAGE shows us as a creditor for settlement. I hope they dont cheat us atleast in that. Since there absolute darkness in INDAGE office(black humor, instead of wine garden tour, they should organise indage offices tour), there are no employees, the people who are filing the affidavits and replies in courts, cvc, drp, etc are refusing to accept documents or be accessible. It is only our Prayers.

Posted @ September 15, 2010 12:02


Ravi Gurnani Says:

Rajiv, surely the recession in the global wine industry is not to blame for the ill-fated international acquisitions. They were simply bad buys. Moreover they did not have the money to buy those companies and hence took on debt that was not serviceable. I think it was more a case of trying to enlarge the balance sheet and showing growth for the sake of growth since it is a listed company.

Posted @ September 10, 2010 10:34


Subhash Arora Says:

Rajeev, diversification does not justify adventurism. People in Australia sniggeried when they bought the second winery- at much higher than the market price. The company insistied they would close the deal when they had no funds.Employees were not getting salaries when they were on a buying spree on credit to be arranged from uncertain plans. How come Sula has been increasing its sales despite the recession? (OK, Indage helped them some!) We are giving a lot of 'credit' to the recession for their downfall. Surely it was a catalyst. Its interesting for example, that one always thought Indage House was owned by Indage but it turns out it was bought by someone else and the management claims it was only a tenant-so the benefit of real state appreciation are taken by someone else. There are stories one has heard for over 20 years that would make an interesting non-fiction but would lread like fiction- even though I take them with a pinch of salt as they are from ex-employees. I still hope the company stays intact and let the shareholders decide the Board. But it is impoant for the industry to have fair and strong competition. We don't want the current Sula to become arrogant as some of our readers claim, and go astray too. Subhash

Posted @ September 09, 2010 15:50


Rajiv seth Says:

Indage is an extremely diversified company having interest in many businesses. Stretching up to recent foreign acquisitions in wine industry, they seemed to be on the right track until recession hit the wine industry internationally. Public should remember that the chairman of the company is man of extremely high stature. He has been the chairman of the Maharashtra economic development council and is the chairman of Indian Grape Processing Board. His personal stakes are too large ,not only financially but otherwise also. So before passing a negative judgment on the credibility of his company and team members they should not only be careful but also supportive of the  efforts of the company to stage a comeback so that the flag of this Indian wine company may fly high once again

Posted @ September 09, 2010 15:25


Subhash Arora Says:

I can feel your pain, Rakesh. I was the first one in India who brought out the imminent downfall when many people practiclly abused me for saying so. It is later that the main financial press got the gist of what I was saying. I still hope the company does not go bankrupt for the sake of the future of the industry and people like you who are suffering. Don't forget I am talking of the company and not shareholders. What prevents the bankers and other shareholders to remove the exisitng office- bearers and instal a new Board? There is a rumour that there is a meeting called by SEBI on 15th or 16th of this month with banks for discussions on the course of action. No, I don't know about the 20p to the Rupee offer. For your information, I have nothing to do with Chougules to be in their good books or bad-I simply write what I feel is right. For your info, I met Mr. Sham Chougule twice in my life and have never met the sons-though I have been occasionally in touch with Ranjit through emails. Moreover, to the best of my knowldege both Mr Mallya and Rajeev are not interested in the takeover or perhaps they are awaiting the time when it can be sold for the token Re.1- only time and the events that unfold will tell. Subhash

Posted @ September 09, 2010 15:15


Rakesh Dhaia Says:

well Done Subhash, Its time to get on the good side of the Chougle's for old times sake. Are you aware they have asked all Creditors to settle for 20 paise?? If that is not Bankruptcy then what is that. Indage UK Ltd filed for Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in that country. In the UK, CVA is a deal between an insolvent company and its creditors that places a ring fence around the company to keep creditors at bay.Insolvent/Banckrupt is it not the same. This is nothing but a case of total mismanagement and wanting to get full control of the Company after loosing majority Shareholding cause of open market sale of their shares by the secired crediotrs whereby the Chougles holding came down to 21%. Since 2008 July no new grape has been purchased by Indage in Maharashtra. They are even today selling 2008 wine in the market ( old wine in new label bottle ) by changing the bottling date old wine does not become new, and trust me this is not old matured wine, it is old reprocessed wine. Its high time Chougles realised that making others ( employees, suppliers, Bankers, etc etc ) pay for their mess it is better to handover the company to Dr. Malaya or Mr. Rajiv of Sula, so creditors like us small frys don't go Bankrupt with them.

Posted @ September 09, 2010 15:12


Subhash Arora Says:

I totally agree with you, Rajiv. But let us not forget that the same factors were in their favour earlier too. There may have been opportunists here and there- but you find them in every company and it is for the management to check them. There are loyalists and there are sycophants- it is for them to identify. But I do agree and hope that they can rebound- and they will, provided they are honest in cleaning up the cancerous mess and make genuine efforts to pay off the creditors. I do know that they are already back in the market (and therefore are NOT bankrupt-as I have said in my blog) with more prudent policies.  Subhash Arora

Posted @ September 09, 2010 10:17


Rajiv seth Says:

Dear Mr. Arora, Firstly, one must not forget that Indage has solid Brand support in its basket, secondly Chougule’s are technically very sound, thirdly inherit infrastructure of the company is very strong, fourthly indage has huge capacity to make a fast come back and gain lost ground, and lastly, since opportunists have already left, the company is surrounded by loyalist group and right now they seem to be working overtime for their turnaround plans so hopefully the Indian wine world will witness a lot of action in its foremost wine company again and that too very soon.

Posted @ September 09, 2010 10:48


Subhash Arora Says:

Dear Rangaswamy, You'd agree that only if the company does not go bankrupt will the lenders, growers, suppliers like you and employees will have any hope of getting the money due and unless they pay up, they can't rest in peace. As I said, it looks tough but it is important the company does not go bankrupt. Believing in God will give you the strength to wait and hope that it would be fine at the end. At the end, if they don't take drastic steps, bankruptcy cannot be ruled out, leaving all creditors in the lurch. Good luck to you and all those suffering because of the adventurous practices of Indage. Subhash Arora

Posted @ September 09, 2010 10:17


Rengaswami Says:

Hi Subhash, For all the plaudits showered on Indage and the past, the fact still remains that Sham, Ranjit, Vikrant have presided over the collapse of a corrupt empire which they built. They have not paid dues to workers, government and small vendors like us. Top The above with arrogance, lack of Humility, Sensitivity, Empathy and courage to settle the dues and gain respect, You know their current situation. We are only praying to GOD that we get our settlement. Regards Rengaswami K

Posted @ September 08, 2010 18:58


Gloria Smith Says:

I suspect that it is more to do with outstanding debts and all debtors being referred to an administrator that is the reason, not the High Court decision. If Indage are in business why would they be referring the debts they have to an administrator??

Posted @ September 08, 2010 14:17


Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks for the comment and information, Dave. I realise that, but I have written about the company as an entity. Patient is terminal but not dead. Miracle cures have happened in history!!! Subhash

Posted @ September 08, 2010 13:40


David Rowe Says:

Thanks Subhash. Apologies for the misleading subject line in my message. I had also meant to write to you about Indage, regarding your recent article pointing out that they are not bankrupt. In the UK, Indage UK Ltd is bankrupt leaving a lot of people out of work and a string of unpaid bills up and down the country. For this reason, Indage is not taken seriously any more in the UK. Kind regards David

Posted @ September 08, 2010 13:34


Alok Chandra Says:

Well said, Subhash - I heartily second the sentiments expressed, and knowing both Sham Chougule and his son Vikrant hope and expect that they will take the 'harsh' decisions required to put the company back on its feet. All the best to the pioneer of winemaking in India.

Posted @ September 08, 2010 13:30


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.
Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet