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The owners of Vallée de Vin are said to be in talks to buy a significant stake in India’s Grover Vineyards. The Nasik-based winery is close to finalising a deal to buy Grover shares held by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) and Indian-based distribution company Brindco, Harpers has learnt.
The move would create India’s second largest winery behind the dominant Sula Vineyards.
Vallée de Vin officially launched its Zampa range in the UK at a Indian food and wine matching event during the London International Wine Fair, following a distribution deal signed with Thierry’s earlier this year. Bibendum currently distributes Grover in the UK.
The winery is run by managing director Ravi Jain and owner Deepak Roy, two former entrepreneurial allies of UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya, owner of Whyte and Mackay.
Sources said Kapil Grover family will hold at least 33% after the merger with Vallée de Vin. Grover’s other investor, ex-Citibanker and entrepreneur Jerry Rao, will continue to be a shareholder in the combined entity.
A merger of the two wineries would help Vallée de Vin overcome restrictive distribution access into India’s second largest grape growing region Karnataka near Bangalore and in turn, Grover will have greater access to Mumbai based in Maharashtra.
“Grover Vineyards is a great brand but it is underperforming,” a source close to the deal told Harpers. “If this deal is finalised Vallée de Vin will have the muscle and know how to really push Indian wines both domestically and internationally.”
Vallée de Vin and Grover Vineyards have both refused to comment on the deal.
India’s wine industry has been struggling since 2008. Several new wineries have come and gone with those that have survived plagued with a production glut and facing financial ruin.
Last year, Verlinvest SA, an investment vehicle belonging to the three founding families of beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, bought 15% stake in Sula Vineyards valued at around US$100 million.
Story by Shirley Kumar
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review