KATHMANDU: In the recent years, Nepali people have begun to consider wine drinking as an essential part of socialisation. Capitalising on this growing trend, various wine brands have come up in the market, among which Mark Davidson is a leading brand. This Australian wine, a product of the Tamburlaine Company, was launched in Nepal on September 2007, and currently holds 50 to 60 per cent of the market share.
Arjun Bhandari, managing director of Mark Davidson wine, says, “Wine culture is new to Nepali people, hence my task is not only to market wine but to help wine culture flourish.” Bhandari collaborated with Mark Davidson, the founder of the wine, to first import it to Nepal. He reveals, “I met Davidson during my visit to winery stores in Australia and discussed the possibility of starting the wine business in Nepal, which is a relatively new market for wines.” After returning to Nepal , the idea continued to excite him, as he saw a bright future in the field of wine import. It was this confidence in the product gaining acceptance in the Nepali market that led Bhandari to discuss wine import options with Davidson and introduce the brand in Nepal.
Three years later, Mark Davidson has established itself as a popular brand. The wine, named after the founder Mark Davidson of Tamburlaine Wines, was established in 1985 in Australia and is now exported to 19 different countries. Plans are on to launch the product in Vietnam as well.
Seven varieties of wine are produced under the Mark Davidson brand. Besides, 20 other products are registered under Tamburlaine in Nepal. Mark Davidson is popular in five star hotels, among the diplomatic community and higher income communities whereas another product of the company, Miracle is popular in the middle income group. Mark Davidson wine is available in most liquor stores, departmental stores and supermarkets all over Nepal.
Marketing of the brand is done with combined activities such as advertising in newspapers,
magazines and promotional activities such as participation at expos , street and music festivals as well as wine tasting for publicity. Mark Davidson wine holds seminars in five star
hotels for food and beverage staff, hotel management students and graduates simply by letting them taste the wine.
Hunter valley, where the company is established, is Australia’s premium wine industry renowned for manufacturing excellent wines. Bhandari was impressed by this, as he explains, “Mark has over 30 years of wine making experience and is different from other wine-
makers because he has access to the best combination of soil, climate and topology.” The Australian government’s Wine and Branding Association Corporation, which checks wine sample before export, further guarantees the quality of this product.
Licence of authority to export wines is provided only if it meets the standards of the corporation. Bhandari explains, “The Australian government is very strict in maintaining the international quality of its products. Australia’s wine industry is the fourth largest revenue earning industry and the fourth largest wine exporting country as well.”
It took a while for the wine to be accepted, as hotels also wanted to know whether the wine could be delivered regularly, as they did not wish to discontinue it from their menus in case of unavailability. But persistence convinced customers. Even today Mark Davidson still does not believe in the dealership system. He elaborates, “My philosophy is to reach clients directly and receive instant feedback. It lets me understand their wants and needs.”
Mark Davidson wine is a strong advocate for alternative sustainable farming. In Australia,
farmlands are rapidly degrading due to use of harmful chemicals to induce over production. Davidson found that this was having an adverse effect in the health of the Australian people; he came up with the philosophy of sustainable farming which would lower the productivity but enhance the quality of raw materials for wine. So he marketed Mark Davidson as an organic wine, which has also proved to be its unique selling point. Bhandari explains, “People have begun to drink wine but they need to realise that they have to drink quality wine which has health and social benefits. Contrary to misconceptions, wine does not make consumers aggressive. It is just fermented grape juice enhanced with a bit of alcohol.”
Bhandari adheres to this eco-friendliness by stating, “Our vision is to expand internationally as a reliable and affordable brand without compromising on its quality.” The wine is indeed affordable with prices ranging from Rs 490 to Rs 1800 per bottle.
Bhandari opines, “I believe 30 per cent of Nepal’s population drink wine, and most of them can easily afford this price. We sell over 100 thousand bottles of wine annually, which indicates the growing consumption capacity of Nepalis.”
Bhandari is confident that even more Nepalis will take to Mark Davidson, which has the best
aromatic flavour and taste. He emphasises on the superiority of wine, which should not be gulped down like other alcoholic drinks but should rather be savoured. He says, “I advise people to discover how good wine enhances the taste of food.” For Bhandari, wine is not only a business but also a passion and something he loves educating people about.
Spoilt for choices
Products available in Nepal under the Mark Davidson and Miracle Mile brand
Mark Davidson Cabernet Merlot
Mark Davidson / Chardonnay Semillon / Saivignon Blanc
Mark Davidson Mail Run Riesling (2008)
Mark Davidson Sanctuary Farm Chardonnay (2006)
Mark Davidson Three’s A Crown Merlot Cabernet (2007)
Mark Davidson North Bore Shiraz (2006)
Miracle Mile Dry Red
Miracle Mile Sweet Red
Miracle Mile Fruit White