Sula Extends Global Footprint to Jamaica, Australia Next; Sula Selections to Add Popular NZ and South African Labels to Ramp Up Portfolio
CECILIA OLDNE remembers the time she first joined Sula Vineyards eight years ago, she would go abroad and somehow convince people in the trade to taste the wines she represented, and they would do it just to oblige her, with no intention of buying a drop, or to savour the novelty of sipping a different kind of wine. No one really cared for an Indian wine.
The tide has turned — and how! Cecilia’s problem today is not how to find a market for Sula’s wine portfolio, but to get enough wine to service the demand. “People from around the world today contact us on their own and ask for our wines,” Sula’s Global Brand Ambassador said a day after she presented a selection of wines distributed by Sula’s imports business at the Pan-Asian restaurant in Sheraton New Delhi.
Unsurprisingly, Jamaica is the latest international market to be covered by Sula’s international footprint of 30 (and counting!). Australia is next in the queue, even as UK, powered mainly by Marks & Spencer, becomes the wine label’s second biggest market after India, followed by Germany, Japan, U.S.A. and Holland. And in Dubai, “orders have tripled over the past year”. Cecilia wasn’t overstating her case when she said, “I have never seen so much interest being shown in Sula’s wines.”
A Swede who has lived and worked in Stockholm, London, Cape Town and now Mumbai, Oldine has her hands full with another successful Sula business vertical, namely, Sula Selections, which is the import arm of the country’s wine industry leader. Its portfolio encompasses the Remy Cointreau brands, Japan’s Asahi beer, Sierra tequila and the whiskies of William Grant & Sons, which it represents in westen India and Odisha.
The vertical got all the attention it could have asked for when it got Australia’s down-to-earth pace-bowling legend Glenn McGrath over to promote the cause of Hardy’s, a wine label that the retired cricketer endorses and is now the official pour of the England and Wales Cricket Board. It is now pacing itself to expand its offerings by getting more Ruffino labels from Tuscany and a Limited Edition of the Stamp of Australia series of Hardy’s as well as two rising international favourites.
One of them is Mud House, a New Zealand label that draws its reputation from grapes grown in the three wine-growing regions of the South Island: Marlborough, Central Otago and Waipara Valley. Sula Selections is tapping Mud House for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
In a couple of months, it is also sealing a deal with Kumala, a South African wine label famous for the gecko on its label and for being one of the fastest-growing wine brands in the world. In Cecilia’s words: “India should not be missing out on brands that the world loves.” All that Sula has to do now is get its Selections always right.