April 30: Fratelli Wines Pvt Ltd, a family run- winery in Akluj, Maharashtra, was conferred with the Super: ‘Best Family Business with turnover under Rs. 1000 Crore, Led by a Woman’, at the Moneycontrol Pro and CNBC India Family Business Awards last evening in Mumbai, with Puja Sekhri recognised for steering the company successfully through turbulent years after the tragic and untimely death of her husband and co-founder Kapil Sekhri in 2020, reports Subhash Arora
Puja’s brother-in-law, Gaurav Sekhri, Director, co-founder and elder brother of the Late Kapil Sekhri, was very upbeat when I met him over a cup of coffee about 10 days ago. He was quite excited about the award but due to the usual embargo on the release of such news, requested me to keep the story under wrap till today.
The family deserves an applause. Founded in 2007 by Sekhri brothers Kapil and Gaurav, Secci brothers Alessio and Andrea from Tuscany and Mohite-Patil brothers Ranjit and Arjun in Maharashtra, the family business became the second biggest wine company in terms of volume and value, about 4 years ago, notching past Grover to stay behind the leader of the pack, Sula Vineyards which is a formidable and worthy opponent today in a market of around Rs. 1000 Crores (Rs. 10 Billion) and expanding annually in double digits.
The company earned revenue of Rs 112 crore in the financial year 2020-21, compared to a little over Rs 109 crore in 2019-20. Although Gaurav was tight-lipped about the performance in the post-Covid 2021-22, reliable sources inform delWine that the growth has been over 30% last year, highest in the industry.
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Last year, the company revamped the varietals with chic labels that were the brain child of Puja Sekhri who was devastated by the death of her husband but immersed herself quietly but firmly, full time in the family business. Fratelli launched the rebranded version of its varietal wines with the new stylised labels under her supervision and they were very well received in the market. I had shared with Gaurav and Puja on a visit to their office last year that they looked like sure winners.
Kapil had been very ambitious and in moments of weakness would share in private that he dreamt of Fratelli Wines being the leading wine company in India. He wanted to take Indian wines to the world and went international in 2018 and now exports wines to many countries including France and the Netherlands. They have collaborated with Jean Charles Boisset in California and launched J’NOON in 2018. The wines priced at around Rs. 4000 are always in short supply due to the small quantities produced. As Gaurav informed me, the current vintage has already been sold out.
Also Read : Fratelli Wines: Sekhri Family carries on the Legacy of Kapil Sekhri
With the late Steven Spurrier, Fratelli had released MS- denoting the last names of (Piero) Masi and (Steven) Spurrier. Ironically, Steven Spurrier had passed away last year while Piero Masi was snatched away earlier this month.
The company produces its wine in Akluj, a small town in Solapur district of Maharashtra, that was selected after Masi had tested the soil and climate of various possible sites in Maharashtra, including Nashik and around. Fratelli Wines has 32 domestic labels in its portfolio and its selection is now available across 27 states and Union Territories.
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The company is the undisputed leader of the Wine-in-Can category in India. TILT label was introduced by Kapil and Puja Sekhri and had received a very good response from the market, with the sale of over 50,000 cases (of 24 cans each) last year. The company has its sight set on 100,000 cases within the next 2 years, maintaining its leadership position in the Can market with 4 variants as well as NOI sparkling wine cans.
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The company is quite aggressive in planning its expansion. Gaurav Sekhri’s son Aditya who was obliged to join the company 2 years ago, has taken charge of the operations and sales and providing valuable, renewed energy in building the business. It is participating in the North East Food Show with a wine pavilion on May 5-7. Hosted by the government of Meghalaya, the event is slated to include buyers and exhibitors from all the 8 North-eastern states. A Masterclass to be held by the company Sommelier is expected to attract big number of visitors. The company is also pitching in with possibly the biggest wine stand at Vinexpo India Mumbai 2022 on August 18-20 and a Masterclass to have its wines penetrate even further in Maharashtra and elsewhere.
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The brand caters to the affordable as well as mid-premium segments and is available at price points ranging all the way from Rs 150 to Rs 4,000. Keeping in mind the increased demand of the affordable wines for the burgeoning middle-class buyers it is in the process of releasing a new label Jivo.
Fratelli also entered the artisanal cheese business during the Covid time, by collaborating in 2020 with Chennai-based Kirke Cheese which sells the dairy product under the Kase brand. In keeping with its high-flying ambitions, Fratelli claims to be the only Indian wine to be on the wine menu of Tata-owned Vistara Airline for its international sectors.
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Indian Wine Academy and delWine wish Puja Sekhri and the entire team including Gaurav Sekhri, Aditya Sekhri and Alessio Secci continued success. As Rajeev Samant, Founder CEO of Sula Vineyards often says, he loves to see competition in the Indian wine industry. Fratelli Wines can be officially acknowledged to be that competition with the announcement of this Award, hosted by Moneycontrol PRO and CNBC. The Award has been won in the Category ‘Best Family Business with turnover under Rs. 1000 Crore, Led by a Woman’.
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