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Bibendum distributes Indian winery

Bibendum is to distribute wines from Grover Vineyards, one of India's premier producers, on an exclusive basis in the UK. Three wines will be represented initially comprising Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet-Shiraz  and the award-winning La Reserve.

Amber Vaidya, resident in the UK, has been appointed brand ambassador and will work closely with the Bibendum sales team.

Grover Vineyards was established in 1988 by Kanwal Grover following 7 years of research into finding the best place in India to grow vitis vinifera. The Nandi Hills in the state of Karnataka were identified as holding the most potential, although most vineyards were (and still are) in Maharashtra. Firstly, with the help of Georges Vesselle (then technical director of Champagne Mumm), and latterly (since 1995) with the winemaking advice of Michel Rolland, Grover Vineyards has become one of the leading quality wine producers in India. The company is now run by Kanwal’s son, Kapil, and the latter’s daughter, Karishma, who studied viticulture and oenology at UC Davis and has worked at Cakebread Cellars in Napa. Grover is the largest exporter of wine in India with 80% going to France.

The temperate Nandi Hills are situated about an hour’s drive north of Bangalore at an altitude of approximately 1000 metres above sea level. The area is protected from the monsoon rains making it less humid than Maharashtra and ensuring a longer, cooler growing season. Temperatures range from 11-21 degrees C in winter to 23-29 degrees C in summer. The soils are predominantly gravel with red loam, granite and clay, and are well drained. Having originally planted 33 experimental varieties, Grover now focuses on Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Tim Marson MW, Bibendum Buyer said: “With more than 6000 Indian restaurants in the UK this is a very exciting opportunity to bring India’s best wines to a wider audience. Grover Vineyards have the passion and vision to succeed in seeing Indian wine become the beverage of choice in good Indian restaurants across the country. Crucially, the wines more than hold their own in terms of quality which will enable them to gain fans beyond the Indian dining sector.”

Kapil Grover, Director of Grover Vineyards added: "We are delighted to be associated with Bibendum in the very challenging UK market. We share a common vision with a strong commitment to quality, and with Bibendum's excellent distribution we feel confident of success in this new venture. I look forward to a long and exciting partnership with Bibendum.”

The 2006 La Reserve was a highlight of the LIWF’s Indian Masterclass last month presented by Stephen Spurrier, being the sole representative of Karnataka.

1 June 2010 - Felicity Murray