In late 2011, the IndiaPE website reported that Vallee de Vin (based in Nashik) had announced that it would shortly merge with Grover Vineyards (based near Bangalore). According to a recent report in The Times of India, the legal formalities of the merger have now been completed, and the new entity is to be called Grover Zampa Wines.
The merger has provided an opportunity to recapitalise the combined entity and to reconfigure the equity positions. The founders of Grover Vineyards and of Valle de Vin will together hold just over 50% of the equity in the new venture; the remainder will be mainly held by investors Ravi Viswanathan and Reliance Capital. Consultant oenologist Michel Rolland, who oversaw the use of new French oak barriques at Grover Vineyards, will also have a small equity stake.
This merger can certainly be read as part of the ongoing narrative of a rapidly increasing supply of Indian wine and wineries, without a corresponding growth of domestic and international markets. Yet aside from these fundamentals, there have been some self-inflicted wounds which have prompted the merger. These include the reported quality control issues with Grover Reserve and Valle de Vin’s overly-optimistic sales projections for highly priced wines with little track record. And the use of social media by both companies has been derisory.
Grover Zampa Wines is now the second largest Indian winery after Sula Vineyards, but they still face an uphill battle if they are to restore profitability and develop a sustainable future.