Archive for November, 2005

Girls crush grapes in India Reuters

Photo: Indian girls crush grapes during the Chateau Indage Wine Festival 2003 in Narayangaon 228 km north of Bombay, February 8, 2003. Best known for its teas and spices, India now aims to place its wines on supermarket shelves in Europe and the United States. REUTERS/Roy Madhur

India’s wine market is estimated at 5 million bottles a year — equivalent to around 200 people sharing one bottle — and, at 2.75 billion rupees, makes up less than 1 percent of India’s $1.8 billion alcoholic drinks market.

But the wine market is growing at 25-30 percent a year, nearly three times as fast as beer, whisky or rum, which together make up 45 percent of the total. Exports currently make up about 10-15 percent of total output.

“Consumer attitudes towards wine have really changed,” said Rajeev Samant, who runs Sula Vineyards in Nashik, 120 miles (190 km) north of Mumbai, formerly Bombay.

“It’s seen as more sophisticated and healthier than liquor, and therefore more acceptable for women or youngsters who are starting to drink.”

Youth appeal is important in a country where more than half the 1 billion-plus population is below the age of 25.

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After a 15-year struggle to turn Indian consumers on to the grape, Kapil Grover feels vindicated by a recent issue of ‘Decanter’ magazine, which named his ‘La Reserve’ as the best red among New World wines.

“It has put Indian wine on the world map,” said Grover, whose father first planted imported French grape varieties in 1988 on 20 acres (8 ha) at the foot of the Nandi Hills north of Bangalore.

Funded by other family businesses for years, Grover Vineyards has expanded 10-fold and now sells a range of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Clairette and Sauvignon Blanc wines.

While small farmers scramble to plant grapes, wealthy entrepreneurs, private equity firms and foreign labels are all sizing up India’s wine market.

Seagram plans to set up a winery in Nashik, and Australia’s Foster’s Group Ltd. will soon launch its wine brands.

“We’re seeing a bullishness from investors and we require funds to expand capacity and (make) acquisitions as the market grows,” said Ranjit Chougule, managing director of Champagne Indage, the local market leader.

Grover is to plant grapes on 50 acres of land owned by Jerry Rao, head of software services firm MphasiS BFL.

“Just as happened in Napa Valley, we’re seeing a lot of interest from Bangalore’s tech people,” Grover said, recalling the California wine rush triggered by the 1990s dotcom boom.

India’s wine market is still a tiny fraction of China’s $7 billion industry that has attracted millions of dollars from private equity firms and foreign labels.

But even the Chinese drink on average less than two glasses of wine a year, compared with 59 litres a head in France and 12 litres in the United States.


Wine-making in India dates back several hundred years.

Mughal kings were as devoted to fine wines as to grand architecture, and the British made wine fashionable. Before foreign brands arrived in 2002, local fruit wines were popular.

The recent take-off in demand was helped by regulatory changes triggered when the western state of Maharashtra declared wine-making a food processing industry in 2001, exempting it from excise duty and slashing sales taxes.

At least 20 wineries have sprung up around Nashik and Pune, known for their cooler, yet sunny climate — a far cry from the 1980s when Grover spent years seeking a suitable location for his grapes, before settling on the southern Karnataka state.

“It’s a very profitable business now, but when we began exports (in 1999), Indian restaurants in London were very resistant, unlike their acceptance of beers like Kingfisher,” said Grover, referring to the top brand from local United Breweries.

International wine experts reckon it’s time consumers tried wine with curry, preferably fruity, assertive wines that complement spicy Asian dishes.

United now has two wine brands in India and is looking to tie up with a local or foreign brand to raise its profile.

“You can’t do a Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Noir in India and you live with that, but we’re looking at a more distinctly Indian label to make our wines stand out from other New World wines,” Grover said.

Sula, which sold its first bottle of wine in 2000, has more than 300 acres of grapes under cultivation and will sell more than 1 million bottles this year, including a sparkling wine, a Chenin Blanc, a Cabernet Shiraz, a Sauvignon Blanc and a blush Zinfadel. A planned third winery will take capacity to 1.75 million litres a year.


Wine makers now host wine tours and harvest festivals in India, and Sula has a 2,000 sq ft (186 sq m) tasting room overlooking its vineyards, nestled amid scenic lakes and hills.

“India is in the news a lot these days and is perceived as cool and hip, and Indian food is also becoming popular,” said Sula’s Samant, a Stanford engineering graduate who quit his job at Oracle Corp. to head his family’s farm.

But consumption in India remains low and there is strong opposition to easing regulations in a country where drinking tends to be frowned upon and wine is seen as a luxury product.

High taxes and rules against selling wine in department and grocery stores in most Indian cities push up the cost of a bottle of wine, said Sonal Shah, who heads the strategic advisory division at Rabo India.

Shah reckons three-quarters of local wine sold in India sells for 200-600 rupees a bottle — more than the price of a local wine in London or Paris.

But it is not just the rich city dwellers that wine makers are targeting: enterprising farmers are naming their wines after their villages, locals visit Sula’s tasting room, and Indage has launched a brand at less than 100 rupees a bottle.

“The only way to grow the market is by making wine a utility, making it affordable and accessible,” said Chougule, whose firm began making sparkling wine nearly 20 years ago and will export a quarter of this harvest’s output under its Chateau Indage label.

Valentines Day Wine Tour

Date: Feb 11, 2006 (Sat)
Phone: 866 946-3268
Time: 8:30 am depart SOHO/8:45am Grand Central Sta
Email: cdavies at [at=@]
Cost: $119 per person
Place: Long Island Wine Country, North Fork, 11935

Calling all “Wine Lovers!”
Join the editor’s of Long Island Wine Country. COM for our highly popular “Wine Lovers” tour. Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend on your own “Sideways” adventure, Long Island Wine Country-style! The “Wine Lovers Tour” is an all-inclusive day tour, that departs Manhattan from SOHO and Grand Central Station. Attendees are whisked to Long Island Wine Country in a luxury motor coach, accompanied by an expert tour guide. Attendees will visit three exquisite winery estates for a day of wine tasting, tours and a delicious lunch. Wine lovers will enjoy tasting limited release reserve wines and “barrel tasting” future releases with a winemaker. The afternoon will conclude with a pairing of chocolate and late harvest desert wine. Attendees will be offered special-purchasing opportunities at winery gift shops prior to their departure.

Wine Lovers Tour Includes:
• 3- Exquisite winery estates-wine tasting & tours
• Delicious lunch at a winery
• Wine 101 course provided by your expert tour guide
• Round Trip transportation in a luxury motor coach.

More Info: Long Island Wine

Low Cost Wines for the Budget-Minded

The Morning News’s Claire Miccio has written a great article called ”Tight Wines” in which she reviews ten cheap wines. She recommends seven red wines, four whites, and rosé, all under ten bucks a bottle. Of , a $6.99 red wine, she says, “If only one of the wines on here ever makes it home with you, make it Secret de Campane. This Grenache-Cinsault blend is just so soft and pleasing that even if you think that these wine recommendations are arriving directly out of from my ass, after a glass of this you won’t care what I said.”

If you are intrested in budget wines, you can try some Under $20 wines from our online wine store.

The $16,500 Wine Tasting

How much would you pay to taste some rare wines? Decanter reports that 35 dedicated oenophiles paid $16,500 each to taste a variety of wines with an average bottle price of $2000 and some costing as much as $15,000 a bottle. The Top 100+ Wines of the Century was a three-day wine and food event last month by Manhattan-based Acker Merrall & Condit at New York restaurants, Le Bernardin, Cru, and Bouley. The guests were each given a modest taste of verticals including Rousseau Chambertin from the 1920s and Pétrus from the 50s, horizontals of 1959 First Growths and 1985 Jayer Burgundies, including Echézeaux, Vosne Romanée Cros Parantoux, and Richebourg, and Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Conti from 1923, 1937 and 1945. Even though the quantities per person were small, a lot of wine was served, $400,000 worth in all. Decanter reports that the high price was no deterrent for wine lovers and that the event was sold out. Also because the wines were so old, not all of them were in peak condition. Some of the wines were “off” but such are the risks when cracking open bottles of older vintages. Personally, I’d rather enjoy a few amazing bottles and be able to partake of more than a taste of each but for those who are interested in tasting what few will ever get a chance to experience these tastings offer a rare opportunity.

The $9,760,140 Zachys Auction

Decanter tallies the results of the Zachys wine auction that took place last weekend. The auction was the third-highest in modern history, bringing in $9,760,140 which was the highest ever for one seller. Pretty amazing considering that this is only one third of the seller’s collection. Some highlights included five cases of Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux covering vintages from 1955 to 1999 which fetched $88,500; three magnums of 1950 Chateau Lafleur going for over $30,000 each; a magnum of 1947 Cheval Blanc was sold for $42,480 and a bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem which reached $30,680.


Redcar wines and a rare collector

The Redcar wines and a rare collector’s beauty from WineLegend.

Here is a special selection. For detailed information on the wines, please check the links.
1. Red Car The Fight 2003
2. Red Car Red Wind 2004
3. Red Car Box Car Pinot Noir 2004
4. Marilyn Merlot Velvet Collect 2003

Click here to see the newsletter!

Corporate Holiday Gift Basket

This year when you think about what your company is going to do with its corporate gift budget, keep one basic business principal in mind: ROI – Return On Investment. A busy office is going to get lots of gifts over the course of the year, with the most coming in December. Sending a gift serves two major functions: It shows your appreciation and thanks for all of their efforts over the year, and is an investment that helps foster, build and maintain good relationships. Sending a gift that blends in with the rest is not a good Return On Investment. You don’t need to be a CFO to realize that sending a gift that differentiates you from the rest will go along way in developing successful relationships.

So how do you make your gift stand out from all the others? When sending gifts there are some simple rules that will help make your gift giving more successful. Follow our instructions and become experts.

When Sending Gifts to an Office – Think Corporate Gift Baskets

1. Send something that everyone can enjoy.
Business is about people. Everyone working at the recipient company adds value to your relationship in one capacity or another. Send something that everyone involved can share and enjoy. This shows that your appreciation extends beyond the scope of your primary contacts. Even though you might not know them, I guarantee they know you.

2. Send a gift that requires little to no preparation.
A gift is meant to be enjoyed, not be a hassle. Send something that doesn’t require assembly and can easily be opened and enjoyed. Requiring the recipient to do anything difficult will reduce the value of the gift. Our Holiday Gift Baskets are “open and enjoy.”

3. Remember that your gift is a reflection of you.
When you put your name and your company’s name on your holiday gift, make sure that you error on the side of quality over quantity. Simply put, better gifts have a higher perceived value than a bigger gift of inferior quality. Sending a smaller, more upscale gift is always the safer bet.

When Sending a Gift to an Individual Such as a Valued Employee, Client or Customer -

1. Use Reverse Engineering To Find The Perfect Gift.
Start with the person who will receive your gift – think about their tastes, hobbies, and lifestyle. After a little research you can start your shopping for a gift that will make the most lasting impression. For example, if they love golfing start with a golf theme. If they are into Kosher Foods, then one of our Kosher Gift Baskets or Robert Mondavi Gift Baskets will do the trick.

2. Send Your Gift To The Home Or To The Office?
If this is a personal gift that you would like the recipient to share with their friends and family, and you have their home address, then it is acceptable to send it to the home. If you would prefer that the staff enjoy it too, then play it safe and send it to the office.

If you are like most busy professionals, the process of shopping for and delivering your corporate gifts to your most valued clients, contacts, customers, and employees can be a chore. Selecting the right gift often seems like an impossible task, and delivering the gifts can be a complete hassle. Instead of stressing out, let Gourmet Gift Baskets offer to handle the whole process, seamlessly, professionally, and of course in the good taste.

Make your gift stick out this year by sending something sophisticated, unique, and upscale. Send something that shows your appreciation and your good taste at the same time: Send Holiday Gift Baskets which have been designed to provide the most delicious gourmet foods in spectacular gift basket presentations. The office will probably receive many gifts this holiday season, but the one that will stick out and be remembered will be the one from Gourmet Gift Baskets.

– a prweb article by Ryan Abood

Redcar The Fight 2004

This is a presale wine.

You can buy this wine at our wine store.
Regular Price: $64.99 | Sale Price: $51.99
Click here to buy this wine!




Redcar Red Wind 2004

This is a presale wine.
About this wine: The 2004 red wind is the next vintage of the Trolley Series. It is called red wind after the hot, dry off-shore winds that blast Los Angeles. It is thick purple to the rim of the glass. The aromas are wild blueberries and violets. It literally explodes in the mouth with blue and black fruit flavors, giving one’s palate the sense of a sweet round center held together by vibrant acidity. Time will tell but this may be the best wine made by Red Car to date. At the least it is a testament to the possibilities of blending. Pure syrah, it is comprised of 8 barrels from Richard Perry Vineyard, 3 barrels from Shadow Canyon Vineyard, 2 barrels from Laetitia Vineyard and 2 barrels from Vivio.

You can buy this wine at our wine store.
Regular Price: $64.99 | Sale Price: $51.99
Click here to buy this wine!

Red Car Boxcar Pinot Noir 2004

This is a presale wine.
About this wine: The 2004 Boxcar Pinot Noir is expensive in taste but not in cost. Delicate and bursting with ripe cherries and plums, its juicy front palate has smooth elegant tannins on the finish. Produced from grapes harvested from eminent Russian River Valley vineyards, this is Red Car’s second select pinot noir. It is balanced with bright acid with an aromatic nose of cinnamon and cloves. Enjoy this affordable jewel now.

You can buy this wine at our wine store.
Regular Price: $28.99 | Sale Price: $23.19
Click here to buy this wine!