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Wine India Moves: Rekhi becomes Chairman of IGPB

Posted: Monday, 11 July 2011 16:58

Wine India Moves: Rekhi becomes Chairman of IGPB

July 11: The Indian Grape Processing Board has reconstituted itself, replaced by a more action-oriented Board with Vijay Rekhi, Director of Four Seasons Wines Ltd. As the new Chairman replacing Sham Chougule who retains his membership, with a welcome addition of Rajiv Samant of Sula and a better balance and harmony along with a slight more powerful punch in its flavour.

Mr. Sham Chougule, the first Chairman of the Board may have opted out because of his old age and the continuing problems in his wine company Indage, but he has a lot of experience and vision of the industry. Highly respected by the farmers of Maharashtra, he will be very useful member to consult.

Dr. U. Venkateswarlu, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries becomes the Vice-Chairman according to the Memorandum of the Board, replacing Mr. Rajeshwar Rao, JS, who was transferred out of the ministry last year.

Rajiv Samant ought to have been there during the first constitution of the Board. But he is not known to clink glass with the erstwhile Chairman and he might also have been busy sprinting ahead and increasing the gap between himself and the second, third and all the others in the wine industry last year. However, he is a welcome addition now.

Addition of Mr Vijay Rekhi last year was a surprise to many people as he is known to be a strong whisky man. He has done wonders for the whisky and other non-wine industries for UB and is a highly respected figure in that industry. Even Vijay Mallya would admit that he was a key factor in the rapid strides he made after the death of his father Vittal Mallya in 1983. A great visionary, would be a suspect benefactor of the wine industry.

But, he has apparently now run out of steam on that track. After getting retirement from his main job as a UB man, he is now apparently concentrating on Four Seasons Winery. A hard-core, smart businessman, he strongly believes that wine is a business at the end of the day and to have the industry leapfrog, the individual businesses must be successful. Surely, the smaller producers will be happy to have him and champion their cause of survival and sustenance.

In keeping with India’s joining the OIV soon, the grape growers who have got India a ninth place in the world of vines and wines last year (according to statistics from OIV), there are three growers-:Bhemshen Kokre is the President of Karnataka Grape Growers Association,  Bijapur and Ashok Gaikwad of N D Wines who has been one of the top grape exporters even though he does not enjoy the same status in wine making yet.

A surprise but welcome entry is that of Ajit Gulabchand, CMD of Hindustan Construction Company. Known nationally for his unfortunate ecological troubles at an ambitious real estate development project and India’s first planned hill city, Lavasa. He is getting ready to come out with his wines from Charosa Wines. With a huge land holdings, he could be a dominant figure in wines in the years to come, if he can match quality of his soon-to-be released wines with his rock-solid industry status.

All in all, a better and well rounded Board, with softer tannins that will help make the wine mature well and hopefully will give us an Indian wine that will taste better and last longer.

Subhash Arora  

IGPB Board 2011-12



David Banford Says:

Having worked closely with Rekhi for 4 years when posted to India recently, I can vouch for his vision and dynamism. I believe we need a man of his stature to shake up the IGPB,and create an action agenda, and the new team should certainly achieve that.

Posted @ July 23, 2011 10:10


B.Shankaranarayan Says:

At last IGPB has top industry people on board. Hope this will augur well for producers and consumers in equal measure.

Posted @ June 12, 2011 16:55


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