Indian wine company short-listed for UK award

The awards, described as "UK's premier, cross-industry Awards programme", will be announced on November 13.

London: A new company, launched by two former Indian students here, which focuses on sourcing wines from India and selling them across Britain is among the finalists at the National Business Awards.

The awards, described as "UK's premier, cross-industry Awards programme", will be announced on November 13.

Based in Solihull in the west Midlands, Soul Tree Wine, the company launched by wine lovers Melvin D'Souza and Alok Mathur in 2009, is among 10 finalists for the 'Start-up Business of the Year Award'.

D'Souza and Mathur completed MBA at the University of Oxford.

It was during their time at the university that they thought of sourcing quality wine from the Nasik region in Maharashtra and selling it across the UK.

The company's pitch that Indian food goes well with Indian wine is similar to the marketing strategy used by Indian-origin entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria, who successfully created a market for consuming Indian beer (his brand Cobra Beer) with Indian food.

Soul Tree Wine says: "Complementing Indian cuisine with a genuinely Indian wine completes the Indian dining experience in a subtle, but very powerful way. Soul Tree wines have been primarily designed to be consumed in India - and of course to be consumed with Indian cuisine."

The company adds: "We have gone one step further and indulged in simple fine-tuning of these wines to the European palate, but without removing any of the characteristics of the wine that make them Indian".

Earlier this month, Indian wine was one of the major attractions at the 'Flavours of India' event organised to showcase Indian specialities such as spices, tea and coffee to visitors during the Olympics.

Some Indian wine brands are offered for sale at well known superstores in Britain such as Waitrose, and indications are that the Indian wine exports are likely to grow to nearly Rs 100 crore by 2015.

India is a new entrant in the global wine market, but the availability of favourable factors such as widespread grape cultivation, increased demand and lesser trade restrictions has positioned it as a key player, official sources said.

According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the growth potential of Indian wines over the next five years is close to 100 percent.

India exports more than 10 lakh bottles per year to major destinations.

Indian wine is slowly making its presence felt in Britain, but it is a major exporter to countries that include Japan, Germany, UAE, the Netherlands, Singapore, Ghana, France and New Zealand.

Most of the 90 wine companies are located around the Pune-Nashik belt and Bangalore.


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