With the objective of bringing a variety of quality wines to
enthusiastic wine lovers, erstwhile banker, Ajay Shetty started Myra Vineyards
in December 2011.The idea was to create quality wines and Mr. Shetty
believes “Wine is all heart”. Myra Vineyards works closely with the
farmers to produce the best wines as they strongly believe that the
quality of wines is in the juice of the grape. His days in United States, prior to starting Myra,
he says have given him good insight to global cuisine as well as great
As a former banker he has worked with some of the
biggest multinationals including MorganStanley, Merrill Lynch and
Daiwa Capital Markets. Ajay has a Bachelors Degree from Bangalore
University, and completed a Masters at (NJIT) NJ, USA.
Recently Myra Vineyards launched The Reserve, a high end
premium quality wine by Myra, which was available exclusively in Maharashtra, in
Mr. Shetty, in an exclusive interview with India Hospitality
Review, shares with us the story behind Myra Vineyards, the road ahead and his
experience in the Indian wine industry:
Investment Bank to Wine-making, share with us the journey.
have always had passion for food and wine. During my banking days, I travelled
a lot to different countries that exposed me to different cultures, people,
cuisines and not to miss Wines. After a while, I found banking too mundane and wanted
to do something more self-gratifying. I always wanted to come back to India and
start something in the area of agri-business, and wine was a very good option
given my passion and the gastronomical explosion our country is going through.
I found my partners in the form of sommelier and viticulturist who helped me set-up
Myra Vineyards and we announced our arrival in early 2013 by launching four
varietals; two each in red and white. We have a large consumer base in our
country and are looking at creating new set of wine consumers and at the same
time translating existing alcohol consumers to wine consumers through wine
education and spreading awareness on the benefits of drinking wine in
comparison to other alco-bevs.
Q. Brief us on
the range of products that you offer.
Vineyards’ portfolio includes Sauvignon Blanc- winner of the Wine Consumer’s
Choice Awards (IWCCA)2014- Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Shiraz- its
most popular wine, and also an IWCCA winner in 2012 in the Non-Reserve Shiraz
category. Its range also includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz reserve.
product segmentation includes – Two-headed bird which is the entry-level
category followed by Myra (mid-segment category) and lastly Reserve (premium
Q. Tell us
about your expansion plans
our wines available across three category segments – entry, mid and premium andcurrently
have our presence in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. Our next cities in the
list is New Delhi and Pondicherry, and we intend to expand across other critical
markets in the coming months.
Q. Wine is associated with luxury. In the recently
released wealth management report by Kotak, it was revealed that India’s rich
population is spending about 4 % on wine/spirits. Please share your thoughts on
The wine market in India is on the rise and
wine consumption is at approx 16.2% of the market. India is witnessing a
steep increase in wine drinking habits as there’s more choice and availability
for consumers. The market now has both Indian and Foreign winemakers who are producing
quality wines. Newer and younger consumers being exposed to the wine
drinking has also affected wine consumption. As a brand we cater to a cross-segment
Q. Is there a
section which, according to you, which has huge untapped potential? How do you
plan to position yourself vis-à-vis it?
Yes, the entry level segment. Single
varietals at entry level is an untapped market especially with an affordable
price range. We have introduced ‘Two Headed Bird’, which is single varietals
introduced at entry level segment. Myra
Vineyards is the only brand in India that offers single varietal at entry level
at a price range of Rs.330. This makes
the range more effective and efficient while considering the right balance
between interest, variety and affordability.The boom is reasonably priced wine reflects the increased attention
‘great taste’ at a ‘great price’ for everyday drinking’.
Kerala announced its determination to become an alcohol-free state in the next
ten years. In such circumstances, how conducive is the environment for the wine industry to thrive in India?
These kind of policies would lead to black
market operations. What we need to
consider is, liquor is one of the sectors that contributes a huge revenue to
the state governments.
Q. Give us an insight
into your distribution model, making your wines available to end consumers
through hotels/pubs etc.
We currently operate with two distributors covering
the South and Western India expanse for Myra. Our presence is marked across
leading retail outlets, restaurants, and five-star hotels and aim to open up
our product offering for a larger audience in the coming days.
Q. Throw some light on
the level of competition that Myra brands has to face from local and
international brands in terms of quality, price and supply
local brands such as Sula and Zampa have big market shares; newer brands such
as ourselves are trying to make a mark. Like other winemakers we’re trying to
bring about a paradigm shift to the wine drinking culture by introducing
quality wines for different segments at a pocket friendly price. We find
ourselves constantly evolving with the changing consumer preferences and are
focused in our endeavor to make wines more approachable.