It was somewhere in 2010 that the brand ‘Rhythm Winery’ came into existence. With India still being in the nascent stages of this industry, wine culture had not fully seeped in then.The decision to get into a fruit wine brand was bold, to say the least. But ten years down the line, the company Hill Crest Foods and Beverages Pvt. Ltd. and the brand ‘Rhythm Winery’ has now created a strong foot hold in the market.
Wide-Ranging Portfolio of Tropical Fruit Wines
The brand today has a portfolio of eight tropical fruit wines including Kiwi, Peach, Plum, Pineapple, Strawberry, Alphonso available in 750 ml and 375 ml (pint) bottles. As well as Premium Blend Mulberry and Raspberry variants in a sleek 375ml bottle. The base of the wine is grape, which gives the structure to the wine and the fermented fruit adds to its character and taste profile. While traditional wines are made from grapes because the right balance of sugars, acids and tannins,it is a more challenging process in the case of fruit wines.The proportion of fruit wines to grape largely depends on the nature and the ripeness of fruit, weather in that particular season etc. Akalpit Prabhune, Chief Wine Maker and one of the two directors of the company explains how the primary concept at Rhythm Winery is of blending grapes and fruit. While sourcing grapes we know that we are dealing with an organized sector and the grape is specifically cultivated for wine making, but that is not the case with other fruits. So the key is to pick and choose, and then blend.
Can Fruit Wines pair with Indian Food ?
Every country has its own culture, lifestyle and social structure. Similarly, if Indians prefer their wines to be on the sweeter side, or wish to drink it as a aperitif, so be it! As wine pairing goes, flavoursome food needs to be paired with a flavoursome wine, so that one doesn’t dominate the other, upon consumption. These semi-sweet wines compliment Indian, Oriental and spice rich food beautifully. Being light bodied fruit wines, they can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone drinks or cocktail mixes! They taste best when served chilled between 6-8 degrees Celsius.
New Kids on the Block – Alphonso, Mulberry and Raspberry
While the Rhythm Strawberry remains a favorite amongst fruit wine lovers, especially in the Pune – Mumbai- Mahableshwar belt. AkalpitPrabhune says,“People from Pune and Mumbai often visit Mahableshwar and it is here that they have shown increasing preference for Strawberry wines.” Likewise a lot of people travel to Konkan and have bought the Rhythm Alphonso made available across the shelves. Mulberry and Raspberry are the new kids on the block in the Premium Blend range.The advantage is that all these fruits are available in abundance across Indian Subcontinent. Rhythm Winery has truly played a master stroke with its Alphonso. The king of fruits has an unparalleled loyalty not only domestically, but within the huge Indian community abroad.
Expanding Horizons across Europe
Vidita Mungi, Director and Promoter of Hill Crest Foods and Beverages Pvt. Ltd. explains how the Alphonso wine has been exported to the UK since 2018. The wine is available in prime restaurants in London such as Ooty, Sindhu, Brigadiers and so on. It is also available in outlets within London’s iconic shopping malls such as Harrods and Selfridges, which are popular spots for locals and tourists. Furthermore, the wine is now going to be distributed across EU & Russia as well.
With a notable start in UK, Hill Crest Foods and Beverages now plans to expand the distribution across Europe including France, Germany, Spain and Russia says Vidita Mungi. The expansion has been driven by demand from these countries.
Currently the winery is located at Narhe, on the outskirts of Pune with an annual capacity of 5,500 cases almost running to full capacity. The company plans to ramp up the capacity to 8000 cases per year subject to approvals. We want to remain a unique wine brand serving world class quality wines at reasonable pricing.
The brand marketing campaigns have specifically targeted for the young generation which is ready to lap up the rather unconventional concept of Fruit Wines. Vidita Mungi says “We have made sure that the branding, packing and taste of the wine is appealing to the youngsters. With every sip of the wine, they should be taken back to the fruit of choice while getting a good buzz on!”. These wines can pair perfect with lightly sweetened desserts as well. Although the wines are now available across wine shops and restaurants in Maharashtra, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh. While the demand for these wines is slowly picking up,consumers need to be given adequate information about the wines, which remains a major challenge in the wine industry in general. But then there is an interesting tool that Rhythm is using to reach out to youngsters and that is their Instagram handle! The platform is being used in an interesting way including wine workouts, wine cocktails, memes and wine trivia explaining the way to enjoy these wines in a very engaging manner. Team Rhythm have drawn the attention of the youth by engaging them with the latest trends on Instagram. They have developed unique relationships with younger people with fun hashtags like #WineWorkoutChallenge, where people earn the fruit wine at discount and burn the calories at the same time by posting the Wine Workout videos. A deal such as this sounds exciting to make the in-house celebrations thrilling, so to get the party started at any point!
I had met these guys five–six years back and frankly I had my doubts about fruit wines then, but now there is no doubt they have set the foundation firmly to expand this ‘Made in India’ product to the entire world. In all fairness they have got me grooving to a nice ‘Rhythm’ of fruit wines.