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Vijay Amritraj stages a comeback through Groverz

Posted: Friday, 10 October 2014 15:18

Vijay Amritraj stages a comeback through Groverz

Oct 10: After the successful launch at Wimbledon of Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection of a white and red wine produced by Grover Zampa Vineyards, the wines by the celebrity Indian Tennis legend Vijay Amritraj were officially launched in Mumbai and Bangalore in the presence of the star while Delhi saw the unofficial maiden presentation by Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of GroverZ at two back to back events at Gulati’s Spice Market organised by the Indian Wine Academy for its members and at the Delhi Wine club Dinner last month. Rojita Tiwari from Mumbai and Subhash Arora from Delhi report

Click For Large ViewIndian Wine Academy and delWine have always wished and hoped that wine labels brought out by sports and Bollywood celebrities can do wonders for accelerating the wine culture and often exhorted producers to tap the resource as much as they can. It was positive news to learn about Amritraj collaborating with GroverZ* and launching the VA Reserve Collection Launch in London at Wimbledon, which was a great success.

The ace Tennis player, sports commentator and actor who leaves a significant mark on everyone he comes across, has thus pioneered this trend of launching his own labels of Indian wines. The California-based legendary sports person’s association with Grover Zampa Vineyards is just an extension to his continued love for the country and its wines.

Launch at Mumbai

The launch of the VA Reserve Collections white and red wines was organised at the Leela Hotel in Mumbai. The event witnessed the crème d la crème of Mumbai enjoying the celebrations. While personally welcoming each and every guest and spending quality time with almost everyone present at the event, Vijay Amritraj seemed at ease and quite ecstatic to talk about this new association with the Grover Zampa Vineyards. He said “It gives me great pleasure to associate with Grover Zampa Click For Large ViewVineyards on this special collection. Their wines made with absolute perfection bring together the element of passion and sophistication”. Grover Zampa Vineyards and Vijay Amritraj have worked on this project for over two years to produce these iconic premium quality white & red wines reflective of the Indian terroir.” The launch event in Mumbai was attended by the Directors- Kapil Grover, Ravi Jain, and Deepak Roy. Aishwarya Nair of Leela-a wine connoisseur herself, and Ashish Kumar Rai, General Manager of the Leela Mumbai, played perfect hosts for the evening as the CEO of GroverZ, Sumedh Singh Mandla talked about the brands and their strategy to sell them also in India where they plan to sell about 5000 cases in the first year.

The collection includes Vijay Amritraj Reserve- a red Reserve, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Viognier and the white Reserve which is a barrel fermented and barrique- aged Viognier. While the white wine is a fruity, well structured, light bodied, medium acidity and flavourful Viognier with prominent peach and floral notes, the red wine is a well rounded wine with a good balance of tannins and acidity.   

Maiden Presentation in Delhi

Click For Large ViewThere could have been no better choice of Venue than Gulati’s Spice Market for the unofficial launch in Delhi of The VA Reserve Collection organised by the Indian Wine Academy for which Sumedh Singh Mandla agreed to come to Delhi exclusively for one day. Delhi Wine Club has become a launching pad for many wines and restaurants. The top level of GroverZ- Chene was informally launched in India at one of the club dinners a year ago. York and Turning Point wines were launched at a similar Tasting at Chez Nini a few months ago. Spice Market is run by the enthusiastic couple, Sumit and Chiquita Gulati. Sumit is a Swiss trained restaurateur with a fine pedigree for the rustic Indian food, coming from the Gulati Restaurant in Pandara Road and his wife Chiquita is a Chef par excellence for Indian cuisine. Equally fascinating is the fact that Sumit is extremely passionate about wines. Recently, his restaurant sales of wine overtook that of liquor- a record of sorts for an Indian restaurant. A couple of months ago when I took some foreign guests to the restaurant on a Tuesday when it was totally packed (in India many people are vegetarians on Tuesdays and prefer to eat at home), I took a few minutes to propose organising a couple of wine events  structured round the Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collections. Sumit took less time to concur.

Indian Wine Academy (IWA) has a closed group on Facebook with over 3400 wine enthusiasts of varying knowledge of wine-the passion for wine being the common denominator. Most of the members are from pan India though there are several foreign members too. IWA decided to have a limited number of privileged members to participate in an exclusive and maiden tasting of Seven Wines with Seven Snacks prepared by an enthusiastic Chiquita whose team did a marvellous job of using the limited kitchen resources to maintain an unending supply of delectable snacks as the staff kept on pouring the chain of wines starting with Zampa Brut and ending with Chene-the VA Reserve being the stars of the Show.

Click For Large ViewAlthough it turned out to be an arduous task, getting the attendees to leave as they were enjoying the wines rather well, the next event with the members of the Delhi Wine Club was a different ballgame with a sit-down 5-course dinner with 4 wines- Brut, VA Reserve white, VA Reserve red and Chene dancing with the various dishes on the Menu. Who says wines don’t go well with Indian food-the North Frontier/Mughlai food was well paired with wines.

As expected, the opinions of which wine was better of the two were divided. But the fact that by the end of the evening, the voices got louder and people sharing more jokes and anecdotes was a clear indicator that Vijay Amritraj has once again won the hearts of Indians. A lucky draw for a bottle of wine (we planned for more but had to use them as the resource because of the unexpected love for the wines by the guests) added to the fun. One hopes that this turns out to be the first of such participation by the wine aficionado stars plunging into the wine world, by not only giving their names but starting direct participation with production and branding- and follow the step taken by Vijay Amritraj and Groverz.

The Vijay Amritraj Collection wines are available at Rs 1200 in Maharashtra, Delhi and Bangalore and will be distributed across India and key international markets like UK, USA and Europe. 

For earlier article please click

Grover Zampa Enters Wimbledon with Vijay Amritraj

Blog: Rajni Reserve from Tendulkar Wines!

Subhash Arora and Rojita Tiwari

Rojita Tiwari is an independent writer and consultant in the fields of wine and spirits, travel and hospitality. She is a WSET certified wine professional and is listed as one of the TOP TEN WOMEN OF WINE IN INDIA by the Indian Wine Academy. With more than 11 years of experience of working for several publications and more than 8 years of heading the editorial of India's leading alcobev magazine, she is now busy tasting, travelling, judging, writing and at present curating the first "Selection of India's Finest Wines" list. She tweets @rojitatiwari.

*GroverZ is the short form created by delWine to denote Grover Zampa Vineyards

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