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Labruyeres of Beaujolais and Burgundy Invest with GroverZ

Posted: Tuesday, 29 March 2016 20:18


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Labruyeres of Beaujolais and Burgundy Invest with GroverZ

March 29: The Labruyere family with its winemaking roots in Beaujolais and wings spread to Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne has entered into a strategic partnership with GroverZ through Singapore-based Visvires Capital that holds around 30% shares of the company, with the co-owner Edouard Labruyere joining the board, writes Mumbai Correspondent for delWine Babso Kanwar who met Kapil Grover, Ravi Viswanathan and the cousins Edouard and Sebastien Labruyere who flew in last night from Paris to attend the Board Meeting

Kapil Grover, Chairman of Grover Zampa Vineyard, explained to delWine that their entry will not change the pattern of holding within the company as they have invested in Visvires Capital managed by Ravi Viswanathan with the same shareholding as before. Grover who met the Labruyere cousins for the first time just before the Board meeting, is very happy to have them invest through Ravi because he sees a long term strategic growth with the family that has been in the wine making business since 1850.

Owner of the premier vineyards in Moulin-a-Vent for more than a century, Jean-Pierre, Edouard’s father, wanted to spread out into other wine regions. He acquired Domaine Jacques Prieur in Meursault, Burgundy, in 1988 followed by Chateau Rouget in Pomerol in Bordeaux in 1992 (and thus becoming the first Burgundian to buy and own a vineyard in Bordeaux), where  Edouard is helped by Michel Rolland who has also been the consultant winemaker for Grover Vineyards since the beginning. In 2012, the Family entered the champagne business by becoming Récoltant-Manipulant in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay, located on the Montagne de Reims.

There are 13 cousins in the family with Edouard running the wine business and Sebastien takes the decisions to invest. This is their first venture outside France and they are pretty excited about the possibilities. Opportunities of expansion have become rather limited in France, says Sebastien and they have always been fascinated by India, possibly because Michel Rolland has been present in India for a long time. They had looked at investments in China, Argentina and South Africa before zeroing in on India.

Labruyeres seem to have a knack of partnering with companies and areas about to make their mark on the world stage. In 1976, Edouard's father acquired land in Napa Valley which was just about ready to take off. Two regions have been on lease with Beringer who were a tiny start up at that time. The emphasis currently would be on the technical expertise that they bring with their vast history. Of course Michel Rolland has been highly encouraging about this investment. As Ravi said, ' So far India has just had visiting winemakers. We would like to change that model and try something more permanent.' 

Says Edouard, ‘before we looked at India the cousins tasted the wines from Grover Zampa at their house and were very pleased with what they found on the palate.’ In a way, it’s the wine that speaks, says Edouard who is going to visit the Nashik winery tomorrow and the Bangalore facility day after tomorrow before returning to France after a whirlwind tour.

Ravi Viswanathan who believes in strategic partnership says the family had invested in January with his Venture Capital fund and looked at GroverZ operations before deciding on India’s number two winery, marching ahead at full throttle for the last 3 years since Sumedh Singh Mandla came on board as the professional CEO.

Edouard is the sixth generation winemaker and stresses that they are in for the long haul in India. ‘We are looking out for the seven generations ahead.’ This leaves a lot of responsibility on the shoulder of Karishma Grover who is already the third generation winemaker after the founder late Mr Kanwal Grover and her father Kapil.

‘We have lots of expectation from each other but let’s see how this collaboration goes forward, says Kapil. But he says ‘I have clarified and emphasised that there will be no changes in the winemaking team and status quo will be maintained.’ He didn’t want to be coaxed into the discussion, but Edouard is also very excited about their newly acquired champagne business and he sees a lot of possibilities in India. Perhaps Chandon needs to look beyond their shoulders after a few years, with Sula trying to stay the number one sparkling wine producer and working hard to maintain their market share.

Interesting times seem to be ahead for Grover Zampa Vineyards and the Indian consumer may  be the ultimate winner.

Babso Kanwar



Ravi Viswanathan Gmail Says:

Just to clarify they invested in our fund Visvires Indian wines which in turn is an investor in Sula and Grover. Ravi Viswanathan

Posted @ March 30, 2016 19:17


Tags: Labruyere, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Visvires Capital, Edouard Labruyere, Kapil Grover, Ravi Viswanathan, Sebastian Labruyere, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Moulin-a-Vent, Domaine Jacques Prieur, Meursault, Chateau Rouget, Pomerol, Michel Rolland, Verzenay, Grover Zampa, Nashik, Bangalore, Sumedh Singh Mandla, Karishma Grover, Kanwal Grover, Chandon, Sula

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