From reaching number 16 in the world tennis rankings through acting in a Bond film to being one of the world’s most respected sports pundits and dabbling in stand-up comedy, Vijay Amritraj is a man of many and varied talents.
India’s most famous tennis export has now added to the ever expanding plumage atop his proverbial hat by turning fine wine producer.
The all new Grover Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection is a collaboration between the sports icon-turned-entrepreneur and Grover Zampa vineyards, one of the oldest wine producers India.
The Collection had its UK launch – the first ever international launch of an Indian wine brand – on Sunday 29 June at a suitably glamorous summer party at St James’ Court, a Taj hotel, in Central London.
“Wine is the one thing I’ve drunk for a very long time. Wine making started out as something of a hobby but has evolved into a lot more than that”, Amritraj said.
“It had always been my intent to have a premium wine out of India primarily because there are some great Indian wines but the truly good ones haven’t been exported out of the country to a great extent. Launching this wine, with the Grover family who have been very close friends for a long time, has been a dream in the making for several years. We’ve already won a number of awards, including recently in Hong Kong and Dubai and we are hoping to launch in the US and the Asia Pacific region later this year.”
The Collection consists of a red wine that blends together traditional Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon red grapes with Viognier, a variety of white grapes that’s often grown alongside Shiraz.
The Collection’s white wine is made entirely with the Viognier grape fermented in wooden barrels – as opposed steel – to add the unique flavours that wood produces during the fermentation process.
Amritraj is arguably the first well-known Indian figure to attach his name to wine-making. He joins international celebs such as ‘Godfather’ director Francis Ford Coppolla, cricketer Jonty Rhodes and actors Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas as wine producers.
Whilst India may lack the winemaking heritage of France, Italy or even ‘New World’ producers such as Australia and the United States, a clutch of Indian wine producers have been steadily building an industry that is now catering the country’s increasingly well-to-do and discerning Middle Class.
Grover Zampa – a joint venture between Grover Vineyards and Vallee De Vin – has long been at the forefront of the Indian wine producing mini-boom. The company is also India’s biggest wine exporter and has won numerous awards, including for the Vijay Amritraj collection.
The company grows its grapes in the famed Nandi Hills in Karnataka State and Maharashtra’s Nashik Valley, long renowned as ideal locations in terms of weather and soil, for producing outstanding grape varieties.
The company’s wine-making process is also overseen by French fine wine consultant Michel Rolland, one of the world’s most influential oenologists.
Visit www.groverzampa.in for more.