Farmer's role in wine firm

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By SOHINI MOOKHERJEA in Calcutta
  • Published 14.06.08
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Calcutta, June 14: Four Seasons Wines Ltd, a subsidiary of United Spirits Ltd, is set to become one of the first companies to offer 49 per cent shareholding to contract farmers in the Sahyadri Valley near Pune.

United Spirits will hold a majority 51 per cent in the firm.

“We have 500 acres under contract farming in the Baramati region of the Sahyadri Valley which we plan to scale up to 2,000 acres in the next two years. The share allotment will start with 500 farmers and will gradually go up to 1,000 acres as the contract farming area increases. These farmers were already growing the table grape variety and they had to be trained in viticulture, Abhay Kewadkar, director of Four Seasons Wines and chief wine maker, said here today.

“The farmers are important stakeholders in the project and hence the decision to make them part of our company,” he added. Kewadkar was in the city to attend a wine tasting session of the Zinzi brand.

The company has also acquired another 50 acres, 50 km away from the Sahyadri Valley.

“As and when the law permits we will acquire land in the same area and continue with our plantation. This year we plan to sell one million cases,” said Kewadkar.

Parent company United Spirits will invest Rs 80 crore this fiscal to help attain this target. In the first year, Four Seasons is projecting a turnover of Rs 30 crore.

While Four Seasons is eyeing a market share of 35 per cent in the next three to five years, Chateau Indage is the leader in the segment.