I think there is nothing better than having a glass of wine or two after an exciting match, whether you are playing Paris Open, Wimbledon or US Open. It is a great experience when you come back, sit with your entire team and drink wine with a good meal and you don’t worry about the next day’s match until about next day,” says Vijay Amritraj, the former tennis player from India who is also a sports commentator and actor.
The event was organized at the Pling Bar in Delhi’s Pullman Hotel to celebrate the success of Amritraj’s wine brand, the eponymously titled Vijay Amritraj wine. The wine collection has received rave reviews across national and international markets and won nine international awards in two years since its launch, across three continents including America, Europe and Asia.
This was the first time any sports personality in India collaborated with a professional wine maker to launch his own, official collection of wine. Grover Zampa Vineyards, which is among India’s finest wine makers, and the Padamshri-awardee Amritraj have worked together for over two years now, with an aim to create top quality wine reflective of the soil and climate of India.
Sumedh Mandla, CEO, Grover Zampa Vineyards, says, “We wanted to cherish Vijay Amritraj’s contribution to Indian sports. What better way than to dedicate a collection to honour his legacy? Grover Zampa Vineyards and Vijay Amritraj , both legends in their own right, came together to launch this wine collection and we are happy to see its presence and rising recognition across international markets.”
“The only drink I take is wine,” says Amritraj at the Delhi event, held on Thursday evening. “Sumedh and I decided to launch wine because that’s the only drink I consume. I could have also endorsed whisky but that would not be me. I wanted to launch a product which I myself use. I endorse two more brands other than wine which I regularly use. I started drinking wine in my 20s and I wanted to endorse a product I used and grew up with. More than endorsement I believe in a partnership in a sense that I would be a regular consumer of a particular product.”
The wine is unique and smooth to the palate, as well as gracefully well-rounded to deliver the rich experience of Indian manufacturing. This collection is distributed across India and in key international markets such as the USA, UK, Australia, France, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Singapore.
A well-respected sportsperson in India and aborad, Amritraj wanted to endorse a product that was made in a specifically Indian way. He says, “Being good friends with Zampa family, I was approached by them to come together to endorse a wine on my name but the only condition I had was that the grape should be Indian. I think we have developed a product I am proud of. This wine is completely made in India.”
The wine is already going places. Sumedh talks about the awards the wine has received. He says, “The wine is well received all over the world. Having won nine awards in different categories all over the world I can say that the product is getting popular day by day. Priced at Rs 1,400, the product has been placed in the super premium category. The wine is present in 15 cities in India. Premium clubs and premium restaurants all across the world are carrying this wine. It is a good feeling seeing the wine in doing well. I believe if a product is good it creates a fine market for itself.”
Talking about if the wine would do even better in the Indian market in the coming years, Amritraj says, “India has already established itself as a good market for beer and whiskey drinkers and the market for wine consumers is growing. Sumedh and I feel that we are at the right place at the right time when the market is still in its nascent stage.”
Amritraj also draws an analogy on the link between his wine and his career in professional tennis. He says, “When I started playing internationally, no one believed that a tennis player has come from India and then I took a pledge to prove myself to be one of the best players. The same goes with Vijay Amritraj Wine. When we talk about wine we talk about wine from France, Italy, Spain and others but here is a wine that actually came from India and won many awards. Just like me who came from India and made his mark on the tennis world. That’s the analogy.”