Feb 07: Within a short span of less than 4 years when Pradeep Pachpatil, told me at the Somanda winery being constructed adjoining the then Beyond-by-Sula Resort, that his objective was to make 1000 cases annually and promote wine tourism at the boutique winery, he executed an order of 1000 cases to the US in December, 2017 and has tied up with Royal Orchid Hotels group for hospitality, changing the name to Regenta Resort-Soma Vine Village, writes Subhash Arora who met him and the General Manager of the resort from Royal Orchid recently
The Beyond-by-Sula Resort whose lease expired on June 30 last year was taken back by him from Sula and due to some legal issues, changed the name to Soma Vine Village Resort. In the meantime, he kept on negotiating with various groups to manage the Resort and the restaurants etc under an umbrella brand. He has tied up finally with the Bangalore-based Royal Orchid Hotels and is naming it as Regenta Resorts-Soma Vine Village. All the hospitality, expansion of the existing 46 rooms to possible 100 rooms and the restaurants, banquets and weddings will be all under this joint umbrella.
Without specifying the terms of the Contract, Pachpatil now becomes perhaps the first wine entrepreneur in India; others like Grover Zampa, Soma Bangalore are still negotiating with various hotel chains while Vallone is self-managing the small resort at their winery near Nashik). Sula had sub-contracted out the management of ‘Beyond-by Sula’ but under their indirect control; their new resort The Source is also being self-managed by them.
Confirming this when I met him, Ameya P. Karnad, General Manager of the Regenta Resort-Soma Vine Village, said that the name change would be effective next week from February 15 when all the properties apart from the winery operations would be managed by the hotel group. Explaining the rationale of not calling the new entity as Royal Orchid Hotel, he said there were some legal issues and it was settled that pre-2012 properties in India and all of them overseas like Dubai etc will be managed as Royal Orchid Hotels while the newer ones will be christened as Regenta Hotels or Resorts.
Karnad also confirmed that they will upgrade the facilities besides creating 100 rooms-there are 46 at the moment, and make it a Resort in the true sense so that the guests may have several activities within the same complex. Seemingly, Pachpatil has his eyes on the wine tourism business of Sula. His Soma Vine Resort along with 3 Villas with independent swimming pools were completely sold out over the SulaFest weekend-and at premium rates. Whenever, there is a surge of traffic to Sula, the footfalls see an equivalent rise at Soma. He hopes to catch a bigger share of that business while apparently staying at a low key, with the help of his new partners.
The Decanter Silver Medal for his Soma Brut Gold last summer and the export shipment of one container load of 1000 cases to the US, has also been a boost for the winery. He showed me the message from his importer that the shipment had arrived in New Jersey; 400 cases had been pre-sold and an order of 1000 cases was already under preparation. He plans to boost wine tourism with complimentary tastings for several hotels in the city and increase the sale of his wines through better tourism and footfalls- Royal Orchid will be a royal help in his objectives, he feels. There is also a boost in the weddings at the property thanks to the wide global network of Royal Orchid Hotels.
Wine Tourism has been very much his priority what with his exposure to the success at Sula during 13 years of his service with the mega producer which already sees over 300,000 visitors in a year and is a profit centre for the company for the last several years. He has been already fairly successfully whereas many bigger producers have slipped. The new agreement will hopefully give the business further synergy.
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