A new label with a quirky name, and eyes on the international market – Ajay Shetty of Myra Vineyards has big plans for his brand
To him, the wine business just happened, even though he does admit to have been interested in the food and wine space even as he crunched numbers as an investment banker. Today, after being in the business for just about three years, Myra Vineyards is setting foot in UK and Hong Kong.
You’re launching misfit soon. Tell us the story behind the name, and a bit about the wine.
Misfit is a special limited edition cuvee, and is a fine blend of traditional Cabernet Sauvignon and fruity Shiraz. Matured in French oak barrels for 18 months, the blend is smooth, medium-bodied and generous on the palate. Given this rare cuvee has been kept unfiltered in conception, the natural characteristics have been retained to set unprecedented standards. It is a fun take on being different.
Misfit is a personal take on what we are trying to do as a brand, and for me on a personal level. Given my background in banking it was an unusual move for me professionally to get into viticulture. A lot of people told me that I’m a misfit in the wine business and I can relate to the term as it often comes as a surprise as to how I ended up in the wine industry. The thought of ‘behavior or attitude that sets something apart from others’ is a philosophy that we strive to showcase at Myra. This limited edition creation is for those who concur with this belief. If that weren’t unique enough, all profits made from Misfit will go to charity.
You mentioned you want to sell it only through one channel in the city. Why this strategy?
This is not a strategy. Misfit is a limited edition cuvee of which we produced just 300 cases. So when we decided to showcase it to a few people, the charity angle stood out and institutions came forward with an offer of buying the entire lot produced. Our marketing strategy was to never push the charity angle but to rather focus on an opulent, luxurious wine that is affordable to the public. The fact that only 100 cases were produced for each of our markets, namely Bangalore, Mumbai and Goa we feel these institutions felt this was an opportunity to be involved in giving back.
You’re also taking your brand to the UK and Hong Kong. Which of the wines are you introducing there? Do Indian wines have a market abroad?
Slowly and surely Indian wines are getting a foothold in foreign markets as there has been a steady shift in the quality of wines India has been producing and shipping. Currently we are taking our Reserves and our Sauvignon Blanc to these markets and we might add to the portfolio later, which could possibly include Misft.
How do you think one can make wines more accessible to Indians?
As wine makers need to keep it simple. We need to price it right for it to be accessible to the masses. Pricing doesn’t mean compromising on quality but being able to make available aspiration wines at every price point. In India, wines are either available at high or low price points where consumers do not have choice or options to make decisions on the brands or wines.
Give us some insight into the business of wine.
It’s a game of passion and a game of love. Without it you will not succeed. This is a brick and mortar business where returns are not immediate and where you have to have a sustained plan. You have got to have a long term plan with a vision. It’s a beautiful business with its own perks and something I would like to see more and more people getting into. Plus people in India have started to accept wines as a fun drink!
— Priyadarshini Nandy