Himmaleh Spirits, India’s first traceable distillery focused on artisanal spirits, today announced the launch of its first product, Kumaon & I - a provincial dry Gin that celebrates the unique terroir and rich flavours of Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region.
With a strong focus on farm-to-bottle and sustainable sourcing, Himmaleh Spirits is a family-owned and independent artisanal spirits distillery founded by Ansh Khanna and Samarth Prasad. The company aims to encourage consumers to drink better by shaping not just a legacy of spirits but also a legacy of social and environmental responsibility. Its hyperlocal approach drives it to work only with botanicals from Uttarakhand, fostering sustainable progress for the region.
About Kumaon & I – India's First Provincial Gin
A careful curation from the house of Himmaleh Spirits, Kumaon & I is an all-natural Himalayan dry Gin made from fresh Himalayan spring water. It embodies a unique selection of 11 regional botanicals that are slowly distilled at source for 9 hours, to extract the maximum flavour and lend a distinct texture to the spirit. Among its standout botanicals are Timur, a berry-like Szechuan pepper that infuses a delightful fusion of fruitiness and spice, and Black Turmeric, cultivated at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, endowing it with an extended growth cycle and a richly concentrated flavour. This is complemented by coriander seeds and two distinct citrus fruits – Galgal, a local citrus variety, and Kinu, which introduces nuanced sweet undertones.
Label & Bottle Design
The logo and bottle design draw inspiration from the traditions and culture of the Kumaon community. The black circles symbolise the circularity of sustainable farming, while the lines embody the commitment to traceability through local sourcing and the dedication to the ‘farm to bottle’ ethos. The colours (white and red) trace their roots to Aipan, a local hand-painted art form drawn on a smooth surface of wet ochre mud (Geru), which is red. A white paste (Bisvar), made by grounding cooked rice in water, is used by women to draw patterns on this surface.
Ansh Khanna, Co-Founder of Himmaleh Spirits, said, “Having witnessed the incredible wealth of natural resources in India, we decided to delve deeper into using a hyperlocal approach to spirit production. We are thrilled to introduce Kumaon & I, India’s first premium provincial Gin crafted from unique Himalayan botanicals like Timur and Black Turmeric, along with local citrus fruits like Galgal. These ingredients create an earthy essence and an unmistakable mouthfeel that encapsulate the flavours of Uttarakhand.”
Current Availability: Rs 2,700 (Uttarakhand), Rs 2,896 (Goa), RS 3000 (Gurgaon)
(Excerpt from a release)
Chisinau, Moldova – September 25, 2023 – The Republic of Moldova is once again gearing up for the 22nd edition of National Wine Day, an extraordinary wine celebration event in Eastern Europe. Traditionally held on the first weekend of October each year, this year's festivities are scheduled for October 7th and 8th. Wine of Moldova is preparing to host a remarkable showcase featuring a record-breaking lineup of over 90 wineries, ranging from well-established producers to a burgeoning number of boutique wineries. "Our Wine Wins Over the World" is the chosen theme for this year's Moldova's National Wine Day, echoing the remarkable international recognition that Wine of Moldova has garnered in recent years. It encapsulates a decade of remarkable achievements and revolutionary successes in the global wine arena since the launch of Moldova's wine country brand, "Wine of Moldova. A legend alive."
Over the past 10 years, Moldovan wines have made significant strides in quality, propelling us to become the most awarded country in Eastern Europe at international competitions. Moldova proudly claims the title of the "World's Best Red Wine," a testament to our dedication and craftsmanship. Moldovan wines have received record recognition at international competitions, amassing over 6,000 medals.
On October 7th and 8th, the Great National Assembly Square will undergo a stunning transformation into a vibrant wine city. This gathering will unite winemakers, oenologists, wine connoisseurs, and industry professionals, alongside enthusiastic tourists from all corners of the globe. More than 90 dedicated winemakers will proudly come together under the banner of Moldova's renowned wine brand, "Wine of Moldova”, to showcase their exceptional vinous creations. The event will also feature a prestigious award ceremony recognizing outstanding figures in the wine industry, a diverse program of captivating artistic and cultural performances, the "Wine School" dedicated to educating consumers on responsible wine consumption and nurturing wine culture, as well as tailored tours and exclusive programs at Moldova's wine-rich oenotourism destinations. With National Wine Day typically attracting around 100,000 attendees, including local residents, tourists, and industry experts, this year's celebration promises to be even more remarkable as it marks the 10th anniversary of Wine of Moldova.
(excerpt from a release)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
East Side Distillery, Goa-based craft spirit company, announces a prestigious win for its latest venture, Portal Gin. Portal Gin has bagged the prestigious Silver Award at the 2023 Asian Gin Masters held in Hong Kong. This remarkable achievement follows in the footsteps of DOJA Gin, the world's first Indo-Japanese Gin, also crafted by ESD, securing the same accolade at the highly regarded Asian Gin Masters in 2022.
Portal is a London Dry Gin, meticulously crafted using an array of botanicals including juniper berries, coriander, lime, orange, angelica root, thyme, liquorice root, black pepper, green cardamom, and ginger root. Each botanical is intricately measured and blended to achieve the perfect symphony of flavours, culminating in a gin that stands unparalleled in terms of both taste and quality. As a result, this gin exudes a harmonious and refreshing profile, possessing a complexity and sophistication that belies its remarkably affordable price point.
Reflecting on this win, Victor De Benito, Head Distiller & Global Brand Ambassador, East Side Distillery and Member of the Gin Guild said, "Our journey at East Side Distillery is about more than just creating beverages; it's about creating experiences. Each bottle we produce is a fusion of tradition and innovation, encapsulating the rich tapestry of global influences that inspire our craft. This win reinforces our belief that quality should be accessible to all, and Portal Gin, with its intricate botanical blend, is a testament to that vision.”
( Excerpt from a press release)
HAMILTON, Bermuda- -Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held international spirits company in the world, announced today the completion of a transaction that makes the family-owned company the sole owner of ILEGAL Mezcal®, a leading super premium artisanal mezcal.
The transaction follows a successful relationship in which Bacardi partnered with ILEGAL since 2015. The super premium plus mezcal category is growing at a fast pace and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16% over the next five years according to IWSR. Between now and 2027, the agave category – which includes both mezcal and tequila – is expected to be the sixth largest category globally, and it recently overtook American Whiskey to become the second largest category (by value) in the U.S. At 86% of global market share, the United States dominates the super premium mezcal category. (Source: 2022 IWSR).
“We believe that ILEGAL has the credentials to own and lead the super premium mezcal category at a global level. ILEGAL perfectly complements our portfolio and bringing it into our business sets the brand up for even greater growth as mezcal captivates more and more consumers,” says Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited.
“Bacardi and ILEGAL have a shared commitment to communities, quality, and environmental sustainability that we will build upon together as we look to invest for the long term. As a family-owned business for seven generations, we are always building for the future to maintain the legacy that is Bacardi,” says Mahesh Madhavan, Bacardi Limited Chief Executive Officer.
ILEGAL, recognized globally for its lifestyle branding, also prides itself on being a responsible and sustainable business. They work with fourth-generation maestros mezcaleros in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. ILEGAL Mezcal is double distilled in small batches using 100% Espadin agave. ILEGAL Mezcal is 100% natural and uses no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, or additives. It is certified as artisanal mezcal by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).
John Rexer created ILEGAL in 2006, after years of working with small distillers in Oaxaca to make mezcal for his bar in Guatemala. John’s goal has been to bring the finest artisanal mezcal to a global market. He has worked closely with the distillers in Oaxaca to create sustainable jobs, and to be a positive force in protecting the environment and preserving local culture. John will continue to guide the vision of the brand.
“We are excited about the next stage of the journey,” says John Rexer. “Success for ILEGAL goes beyond seeing more of our bottles on shelves; it’s about building our business the right way. We will always be committed to artisanal production, the Oaxacan community, and our core values. Being a part of Bacardi will bring ILEGAL to a larger audience while maintaining our commitment to sustainability and growing the business responsibly.”
ILEGAL Mezcal is available in Joven, a full-bodied agave flavor with a light smoke; Reposado, aged six months in medium-charred American oak; and Añejo, aged to taste for 13 months using a combination of new and used American oak, medium char barrels.
(Excerpt from a release)
Notable South Australian estate Two Hands Wines and fine wines importer Wine Park hosted a tasting of Australian Shiraz, featuring the estate’s finest styles from vineyards across Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale and more. Two Hands Wines proprietor Pierre-Henri Morel and Wine Park head Vishal Kadakia co-hosted the tasting with Mumbai’s leading restaurateurs, retailer and media in attendance. Morrel took participants through an elaborate tasting of seven wines featuring the estate’s Picture Series and the highly rewarded Bella’s Garden as well Two Hand’s top wine, Holy Grail. The Two Hands Wines tasting was held on August 28 at Four Seasons Mumbai.
Pierre-Henri Morel introduced the Two Hands wines by laying an emphasis on the estate’s philosophy, saying that, “Two Hands has always focused on the highlighting the regional identity of the Shiraz grape in the Barossa Valley and across South Australia. We do this by crushing grapes from specific regions so as to capture the unique regional styles like Barossa and Mclaren Vale. We also believe in nurturing the vines and the soil with an organic approach in the vineyard.” Morrel believes that the wine is foremost made in the vineyard : The vineyard is the champion. That is where the magic happens.
The seven wines tasted were:
Two Hands, Angels' Share, Shiraz 2020
Two Hands, Brave Faces, GMS 2020
Two Hands, Gnarly Dudes, Shiraz 2020
Two Hands, Sexy Beast, Cabernet Sauvignon 2022
Two Hands Wines Bella's Garden Shiraz 2021
Two Hands Tenacity Old Vine Shiraz 2022
Two Hands Holy Grail Shiraz, 2021
Wine Park founder and head Vishal Kadakia said on the occasion, “Our journey with Two Hands has been very rewarding, more so because I believe Wine Park has help build the local niche that enjoy premium quality Australian wines. And Two Hands is right up there with the best. I was an admirer of Two Hands wines for a long time, having tasted them back in US several years ago. I was also impressed by how Two Hands featured 13 times in the last 20 years in the Wine Spectator Top 100.”
(Excerpt from a release)
Although conditions were somewhat turbulent at times, the course of the year to date has fuelled high expectations for this year’s vintage. According to estimates, the harvest volume is expected to be around 2.3 million hectolitres. The course is set for another successful year for Austrian wine. Alongside a good quality of wine, this success can also be explained by the positive export trends and the affinity that Austrians have with their country’s wines.
Johannes Schmuckenschlager, President of the Austrian Winegrowers´ Association, expects a promising 2023 vintage. “Following a climatically turbulent and challenging season that was marked by severe storms, we are forecasting a wine harvest of around 2.3 million hectolitres – slightly lower than the volume of the previous year. Nevertheless, we are expecting a very good quality of wine. With this year’s growth cycle having been characterised by alternating spells of rainfall and hot weather, the perfect course has been set,” reported Schmuckenschlager at a press conference in Vienna this week.
Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (Austrian Wine) also responded positively to the forecast for the 2023. “With yet another excellent vintage, the course is set to continue the successful growth of Austrian wine – international markets included. Despite the difficult situation over the past few years, our vintners managed to grow export values in 2022. On the domestic market, the release of Sturm [Ed.: partially fermented grape juice from Austria] marks the start of a key sales period for the wine industry. Austrian Wine is supporting this with a focus on revenue-boosting areas, such as wine tourism, the promotion of high-quality Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine) and Reserve wine for the festive season, and the Sekt Austria concept,” Yorke said.
Very changeable weather throughout 2023
To date, the weather in 2023 has been positive. The year kicked off with a very dry winter, followed by a mix of warm and cool days in March. April was remarkably cool, yet the second half of the month brought very welcome rainfall. The rather cool weather caused relatively late budding of the vines, at the end of the month. This was very good news, however, given the threat of late frost at this time of year. Fortunately, the cooler temperatures in early May did not cause any late frost damage either – a risk that persists in the vineyard until mid-May. The warmth of the vegetation period that began in the second half of May led to strong growth of the vines.
Blossoming began in mid-June in most wine-growing regions. “This late onset, compared to previous years, is viewed positively by the wine industry because a later blossom also means a later start to the ripening period – going more into autumn – when more moderate daytime temperatures and somewhat cooler nights can be expected. This generally leads to more harmonious wines with a well-balanced sugar-acid ratio,” explained Schmuckenschlager. Flowering progressed very well in most regions. Poor flowering conditions were extremely localised, unfortunately resulting in coulure.
The first hot spell of the year began at the end of June and lasted until the beginning of August, with temperatures largely staying above 30 °C. “Contrary to winemakers’ fears, drought damage was fortunately kept at bay – in contrast to the previous year – due to the ground having been well-supplied with water during the preceding falls of rain. Just a few young vineyards were adversely affected by the prolonged dry period. Precipitation at the beginning of August managed to refill the drained water reserves and was particularly important considering that the ripening period was about to start,” Schmuckenschlager added. The second heatwave of the year, which similarly saw temperatures in excess of 30 °C, enabled the ripening process to advance very quickly. Further precipitation was recorded at the end of August, which is especially important for the grapes to ripen fully.
Schmuckenschlager is hoping for nice, dry weather over the next few weeks to ensure that everything is in place for a very good vintage.
(Excerpt from a release)
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