Oct 11: The news is dark, shocking and unbearable for most people in and out of the Indian wine industry- KAPIL SEKHRI, founder director and the Force behind Fratelli Vineyards, is no more. He passed away last evening at Fortis Hospital after suffering a massive cardiac arrest, reports Subhash Arora who laments the death of the man with huge passion and dedication for wine and who wanted to take wine culture in India forward through high quality wines
Kapil Sekhri passed away last night after he had gone for an evening jog in his lawns after a family celebration (his son’s 18th birthday) and suffered a massive cardiac arrest. The servant saw him motionless and he was taken to Fortis Hospital but was declared dead on arrival, according to sources. The 46-year old Kapil leaves behind his wife Pooja and two young sons.
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When you think Fratelli Wine or Fratelli Vineyards, the first word that comes to your mind is, KAPIL SEKHRI. He was totally behind the Fratelli project and the face of Fratelli. The project was so close to his heart that he was on the road for most part of a month- he was always planning and executing new ideas for pushing ahead- the most ambitious of the seven partners that constituted Fratelli-the latest one being TILT- wine in the can for the millennial, in an effort to open a new market.
The Indian wine industry is totally shaken up with this unexpected and sudden loss. May his soul rest in peace and give the much needed strength to the family of the bereaved to bear the shock.
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I had met Kapil about 12 years ago. I visited a Lunch party thrown by a friend for his son’s wedding. I was pleasantly surprised to find delicious Indian wines being served. Exposed primarily to Sula and Grover, I was pleased to meet his brother Gaurav Sekhri (who is a partner in Fratelli) and father Bhupinder Sekhri who were known to my friend and gave me the scoop about the project and how Kapil had been spearheading the project with the other Fratelli (brothers) in Italy and 2 in Akluj.
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I met him shortly thereafter and was impressed by his passion for wine and his ambition to become one of the top two producers in India. I have met him many times since then and was impressed with his complete positivity and optimism about the wine industry and its future, He would often challenge my figures in delWine about who was number 2 (vis-a vie Grover) but respected my sense of reporting. He was the man behind Sette, the signature brand that he nurtured and after launching in 2009 brought out different vintages, even in magnums for vertical tastings.
He collaborated with Steven Spurrier to bring out the MS range, and with Jean Charles Boisset to launch a joint label J’NOON in March 2018, making it the most expensive wine in India. He had recently launched another of his pet projects- the canned wines- TiLT and Noi Spritzer. In fact, just a couple of days ago, he gave me quotes for the wines that he was promoting with all his heart.
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He was a health freak and would indulge in vigorous exercise daily. His diet was also very controlled and according to his health plan. He was perfectly fit making the incident even more shocking and incomprehensible.
He was fond of good things in life including fine wine. He loved cigars with his friends and was known to have even formed a Cigar Club to share good times with friends and relax with them, whenever he found time away from Fratelli.
The sense of shock is visible through the industry. Rajeev Samant, Founder CEO of Sula Vineyards, says, ‘It's shocking and very sad news. Kapil has been such an important part of our wine industry and did amazing things with Fratelli in a very short time, through true passion, dedication and immense hard work. I had a lot of respect for him and we are really going to miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and near and dear ones and the entire Fratelli family.’
Surely, everyone is as shocked and their thoughts and prayers are with his family. A massive shock for the Fratelli family. May his Soul Rest in Peace!!
Cremation is at the electric crematorium at Lodhi at 10 am today.
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