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Californian Winery May Change Way Indian Hotels Promote Wines

Posted: Friday, 04 January 2014 11:05

Californian Winery May Change Way Indian Hotels Promote Wines

Jan 04: Cali Beverage Group, a California-based winery has formulated an interesting strategy to enter the Indian wine market by offering luxury hotels a turnkey solution to import premium Californian wines under their own private label, either directly from the US or have them shipped in bulk in flexi tanks and get them bottled in the facility of their bottling partner, Nirvana Biosys

Would you like to offer a premium Napa Cab at your luxury hotel? Fancy having your hotel’s very own logo and message on the label? “Produced and bottled exclusively for <Your Hotel Here>.” Cali Beverage Group, a Californian winery, has recently announced its position as a turnkey solution for fine Indian hotels looking to offer premium Californian wines under their very own private label.

The program aims to reduce the cost and effort required by an Indian hotel to import custom label wines from California. The intended benefit will be an overall boon to the hospitality industry’s food and beverage programs, as well as a catalyst in sparking greater acceptance of all wines - both foreign and domestic.

Veteran winemaker Gabriel Froymovich traveled extensively throughout India and was surprised to see a lack in representation of Californian wines in the Indian hotels. With almost a decade of vineyard management and wine making experience, he decided to address the issue at its root cause. “There is a common misconception that high import tariffs are the primary cause for India’s shortage of foreign wines. But considering that high-end hotels are exempt from the basic import duty, you have to look deeper,” says Froymovich. “The real root cause is incentives.”

Cali Beverage Group’s mission is to incentivize hotels to offer and promote fine Californian wines at fair prices by coupling the sale of wine with a branding opportunity. “We’ve also discovered that many food and beverage staffers in the hotels are reluctant to push wines due to a lack of product knowledge. A branded wine solves this problem. The staff is confident in promoting a wine because they are able to stand behind their hotel’s own brand. The added confidence comes from the trust that hotel management wouldn't put the hotel’s name on a sub-par product.”

At this stage, Cali offers two basic packages. Hotels can have their wines bottled and labeled in California, and shipped directly to them. Alternatively, the wine can be shipped in 1000 liter flexi-tanks and bottled and labeled in India, thus offering potential additional cost savings.

Cali Beverage achieves much of its cost savings by sourcing great wine values in California and passing those savings to the hotel. In what is essentially buying directly from the wine exporter, the customer is also cutting out a number of middlemen.

Hoteliers choose California wines based on factors such as varietal, appellation, vintage, and price. Then, with Cali Beverage’s deep understanding of the Californian market, they are able to source the best quality wine to meet given criteria. “Much of the cost savings comes from our ability to extract value on the buy side of the transaction,” says Froymovich. “Customers can also choose to blend within the United States and WTO specifications to further reduce cost."

For customers wanting to even further reduce cost, bulk wine can be shipped in thousand liter flexi-tanks, as opposed to bottles. This method reduces freight costs which coincidentally lowers state excise, where applicable. If choosing this method, the wine is bottled and labeled in India through a contract filling partner. Cali Beverage’s primary partner for this option is Nirvana Biosys, located in Haryana, about 80 kms from New Delhi, who offer a state-of-the art bottling facility and are already manufacturing wines for the domestic market.

‘In 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture in New Delhi made an introduction to us with Dr. J.P. Gupta of Nirvana Biosys, a winery near New Delhi. We have since formed a nice relationship with Dr. Gupta and his team, and have numerous cooperation plans in place, key being that Nirvana Biosys will provide bottling services in their state-of-the art facility,’ says Robert Withers, partner of Cali Beverage Group.

Cali Beverage Group coordinates all logistics and customs, providing a complete door-to-door solution. All outbound shipping from the United States is coordinated through a United States federally licensed freight forwarder, and cargo is shipped in a properly climate controlled environment. An Indian inbound logistics partner, AKS Logistics, handles all customs clearance, including the required layover in a bonded warehouse, and ground transport to the subsequent destination. Cali will take care of all the excise formalities required, including label registration.

 The time it takes to execute the order varies by the complexity of the requirement. The company claims that a small, and perhaps easy to source request could take as little as eight months from door-to-door. This estimate relies mostly on a quick turnaround at the customs bonded warehouse, and timely registration of the label. Cali Beverage Group, however, makes no claim as to the guarantee of timeliness, due to the magnitude of logistical and regulatory processes.

‘Minimum order quantities start at 100 cases (1,200 bottles) only and pricing varies greatly on the type of wine being sourced,’ says Robert. Exact pricing may be obtained through inquiry with the company however, as indicated on their website, the company offers entry-level wines starting out at an ex-cellar price of US $2.00 per bottle.

Transactions are priced on a line item basis, wholesale cost of the wine, freight, customs, etc., and Cali Beverage Group earns a set service fee on the entire cost of the order. “This keeps the entire transaction straightforward and transparent,” says Froymovich. “We pride ourselves on economizing the supply chain, so we want our customers to see what they are paying for. "

The company claims to have addressed various issues relating to the customs and excise and there seems to be merit in exploring the possibilities, especially in the private branding of wines for the individual hotels. For details, visit their website or directly contact Robert Withers at

Subhash Arora

Tags: Cali Beverage Group, Nirvana Biosys, California, Gabriel Froymovich, Californian wines, Robert Withers



George Penick Says:

Interesting idea- will be looking forward to more developments

Posted @ January 27, 2014 12:06


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