Seagram India, the wholly owned subsidiary of world's second largest spirits and wine company Pernod Richard Group, is the newest entrant in the Indian wine market. It launched two varietals each of red-Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, and white-Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc in Mumbai last week.
The wine has been labeled as Nine Hills, 'since Nashik is surrounded by nine hills and these wines are made from grapes grown in Nashik' informed Mr. Rukn Luthra General Manager- Business Development of Seagram from Mumbai. He has been involved in the wine project right from the beginning. He was earlier the National Head for the Indian operation of EJ Gallo. Talking to Subhash Arora, President of Indian Wine Academy in a telephonic conversation from Mumbai, he added, 'It is also a name which is easy to remember and pronounce'. The label from the company that owns Jacobs Creek brand in Australia also sounds 'Austraalian'.
Chenin Blanc is priced at Rs. 400 MRP (€ 7) while the other three varietals are tagged at Rs.450 (€ 8) thus competitively priced against the existing brands of Indage, Sula and Grover, the three top producers. These wines are soon to be launched in Goa, Karnataka and West Bengal . 'Due to the label restrictions, they will come to Delhi only in May next year', informs Luthra.
The company erected a new winery last year in Nashik, next to their existing distillation facility. 'We crushed 150 tonnes of grapes and produced about 10,000 cases for our first harvest,' adds Luthra. The company does not own any land and had contracted with 21 farmers for the grapes grown under their viticultural supervision.
Jean Manuel Jacquinot is the fulltime master winemaker. He is from Champagne and owns a Champagne House named Jacquinot Fils. 'I am proud to be a part of the first harvest of Seagram. People have been raving about our Sauvignon Blanc and the young drinkers and ladies are enjoying the off-dry Chenin. People have complimented us for the Cabernet Sauvignon as the best ever produced in India so far.'
Nashik Valley has been concentrating on these four varieties and Zinfandel. Recently Grenache has also joined the group and we shall soon have wines from this varietal or as a blend.