Dec 20: La Cave Fine Wines and Spirits, founded by Madhulika Dhall Bhattacharya in conjunction with her importer husband Aman Dhall, Director of Brindco, opened a new Retail store in the prestigious retail and F&B plaza at The Quad by BLR outside the Arrival lounge of the Bangalore Airport, earlier this week exclusively selling premier wines, reports Subhash Arora who feels that such stores will help promote wine culture and consumption and differentiate it from liquor
Madhulika is very excited about her latest project though the Store is rather small in size of around 200 square feet; it is the only Retail in Bangalore and perhaps in the whole of India selling only wines, she feels. Aiming to deliver international dining and retail experience to visitors and travellers alike, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) which operates the Kempegowda International Airport had launched The Quad by BLR, in February last year. It provides a unique luxurious experience, primarily to around 19,000 passengers arriving daily at the airport.
‘We planned to open it earlier but due to lockdown things got slow and picked up speed only a couple of months ago. It is a happy moment for us during the Covid time and we are very excited about it’, she says. When queried about the significance of this store, she added, ‘the excise laws in Karnataka are the most consumer friendly in the country and taxes reasonable. So we decided to have only a premier range of wines at this venue. In fact, I purchased several wines for my own personal consumption in Delhi.’
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BLR Airport is reportedly the first in the country to introduce such an offering. Situated on the Kerb in front of Arrivals, The Quad is spread over a total retail area of 50,000 sq. ft. Next to Starbucks, you cannot miss La Cave which has already created waves within days of its opening.
‘We are going to have offerings which are most attractive at Arrivals though we will also cater to Departures by offering bubble packs for the wines sold, thanks to the Consumer Connect. The focus will also be on wines which are not easily available in other parts of the country and the prices are most reasonable. For example, you can pick up the KRSMA label here-and we carry a Chateauneuf-du-Pape at Rs. 3600 only,’ she says proudly.
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At the moment there are over 100 labels to choose from, though she is adding several new labels daily based on consumers’ choice. Most labels are imported by Brindco, though there are a few popular labels from importers like Pernod Ricard and even wines from local producers are also represented.
The design of the space for Quad was inspired by Baroque gardens, using geometric shapes like circles, rectangles, and triangles, besides irregular patterns made of swirls and curved lines. The space is divided into four zones: Retail, F & B, Flea Market and an Amphitheatre which includes a centrally-located LED video wall and arena for live performances and designed to host plays, musicals, poetry and book readings and concerts.
If you are a wine connoisseur, you ought to pop into the store on your way in or out to see what exciting offers they have and pick up a few bottles for your home, which may not be available in your city. According to our information, the excise laws allow 5 Liters of wine (6-7 bottles) per passenger to be carried as personal baggage by air. Madhulika also agreed to consider my suggestion to procure bubble-pack bottle bags which are very common abroad and at an extra nominal charge, one may have the bottles packed in these bags, saving time for departing passengers and making it very safe for the check-in bags. (I have been carrying wines for my self-consumption in these bags for over 10 years.)
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The only other Retail outlet carrying wines in their portfolio exclusively, is the Wine Park in Mumbai, thanks to their wine excise license. ‘We also carry wines of other importers and a few producers. But we also market some Sake and Vermouth,’ says Vishal Kadakia, owner of Wine Park.
But the convenience of last minute carrying wines in personal baggage is provided only by La Cave at the Bengaluru International Airport now.
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