1st July, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
A former Indian professional tennis player and actor has turned his attention to wine, launching a collaboration with one of the country’s largest premium producers.
Vijay Amritaj and winemaker Karishma Grover
At an event in London timed to coincide with the Wimbledon tennis championships, Vijay Amritraj unveiled two wines from his project with Grover Zampa, both of which are now due to go on sale in the UK.
The barrel-fermented Viognier and red blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier were made from grapes grown in the Grover Zampa vineyards, which stretch across the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and the Nashik Valley in India’s wine producing hub of Maharashtra. The company employs Michel Rolland to oversee its own team of local oenologists.
Amritraj, whose 20-year tennis career saw him reach No.16 in the world and beat stars such as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, balanced this with a brief spell as an actor. This saw him take the role of MI6 agent Vijay in the James Bond film Octopussy, as well as appearing as a starship captain in Star trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Recent years have seen him become a UN Messenger of Peace from 2001 until 2006, and he has since set up the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, which supports victims of “disease, tragedy and circumstance” in India.
Commenting on this latest venture, Amritraj said: “It gives me great pleasure to associate with Grover Zampa Vineyards on this special collection. Their wines made with absolute perfection bring together the element of passion and sophistication.”
Meanwhile Sumedh Mandla, CEO of Grover Zampa, highlighted the strong fit between Amritraj and the message he aims to send to the UK market with this launch. “Working with such a well known and respected athlete as Vijay really reflects the quality and success we expect from the wines, considering the premium style of wine produced at Grover Zampa”, he explained.
“We are looking forward to showing the UK market the premium wine that Indian soils can produce, and we are delighted to be hosting the world wide launch in the UK, a market we highly prioritise.”
The Grover Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection is distributed in the UK through Cranbrook Wines and Myliko International with an RSP of around £14.99 per bottle.