May 31: Vijay Mallya, who has just bought a 150-year-old French wine-maker, Bouvet-Ladubay, is learnt to be making an all-out effort for a foothold in the fledgling Indian wine market. The company is in an advanced state of discussions for a joint venture with the Nashik-based ND Wines, reports The Economic Times.
Ashok Gaikwad, Chairman, ND Wines, confirmed he is in talks with UB Group, which is the world's third largest producer of alcoholic beverages by volume. "The negotiations are for a possible joint venture, through which ND Wines can manufacture and supply wine to UB," he said. Gaikwad did not divulge the quantity to be produced under the joint venture.
UB officials have denied that they are engaged in talks with Gaikwad. Sula Wines CEO Rajeev Samant, meanwhile, issued a statement contending that ND has a JV already in place and is committed to supply wine to his company till 2011.
If the talks succeed, it will be UB's first foray into the Indian wine market. The UB Group, which has been occupying a leadership position in the spirits and beer industry, for the past 20 years, hasn't focused on the wine segment so far, largely because of the small size of the Indian market.
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