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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, 13 July 2010 12:43

Antique Wine from London Comes to India

London based Antique Wine Company is strengthening its global infrastructure which includes offices in other emerging markets such as Hong Kong and Mexico by setting up base in India too  and has announced the  appointment of Sonal Holland as its Country Representative based in Mumbai.

According to Stephen Williams, MD of the fine wine company he set up in London 25 years ago, has a brief to develop the company’s client base within India across all segments of the fine wine market from private individuals and luxury hotels to the finance & investment sector.

Williams says, “With India set to become the fifth largest economy in the world by 2020, coupled with the rising number of Indian high net worth individuals each year, consumption of very fine wine is certain to increase. We also foresee the market for alternative investments including fine wine becoming an increasing proportion of Indian investor’s portfolios. This local presence within India is essential for our effective development of the market.”

Sonal, who will report to him directly, is well qualified for the job. She is highly qualified both in wine expertise and business, and is “determined to help us achieve our objectives. We are looking forward to working together to build up this exciting and potentially very dynamic sector in India over the next few years,” 

Talking of the increasing potential demand of fine wines in India, Sonal says, ‘It’s a journey I simply can’t wait to travel and by representing The Antique Wine Company exclusively I will be sitting in the front seat as this happens.’
Sonal has recently worked as an independent wine consultant and advised hotels and restaurants on developing wine lists. She has recently concluded the WSET Diploma and founded Sonal Holland Wine Academy last year. She is an approved program provider of WSET wine courses in India, ostensibly the first two levels and soon should be approved to conduct the Advanced Certificate (level3). According to the WSET system, one is authorized to teach up to one level below the qualifications held.

Clarifying to delWine, she says, ‘I have attempted all my examinations of WSET Diploma level 4. There are a total of 6 exams to pass, of which I have already passed with distinction in 5 exams. The 6th exam was taken on June 8 for which I am still awaiting results. With that, I will be one of the two people in India who have completed the WSET Diploma level 4’.

She further adds, ‘I am thrilled about representing Antique Wine Company in India and I am really looking forward to developing and further driving the fine wine market in India in years to come.

Antique Wine Company specializes in fine wines and currently cellars over 10,000 bottles of the world’s finest vintages wines. It has constructed some of the great wine cellars in châteaux, palaces, wineries, hotels and private residences in Europe, Asia and North America and boasts of over 20,000 clients in 70 countries.

The decision to enter India implies the company feels there is enough market for fine wines in India. It would be interesting to see how they can get around the heavy import duties issue- perhaps the wealthy clients can pick up a few bottles on their foreign trips or they might be able to work out special deals with the hotels since they have duty free licenses. But the label registration formalities and each one limiting the sale to that region only, makes it an interesting challenge and obviously the company believes each challenge provides an opportunity and through their office in India they can stake their claim in the potentially golden market.


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