Cellar Master Maldives

02 September 2017

Cellar Mater Maldives is a specialized wine, beer & spirits importer based in the Maldives with the aim of providing expertly led options to the countless resorts of the country. it has established itself in the Maldives with the sole slogan as the "The New Face of Wine in the Maldives".  Today Island Chief sits down with Mathew Harroven, General Manager at Celler Master Maldives as we discuss some of the key factors that led to the inception of the company and ideas for the development of the companies future.

1)        1: Could you give us a brief introduction of the company and your work?

I was appointed General Manager at Cellar Master Maldives in September 2016. We are a specialist wine, beer & spirits importer, and our aim is to provide expertly led exclusive options to the surrounding resorts. My job is to ensure we maintain a high standard throughout all of our practices and to support my team.  We truly care about all of our products and the people behind them. Our energy is focused on supplying high quality, value for money and interesting products. We consider ourselves a green company, taking on environmentally friendly initiatives to improve our customers and their guest’s experience. We are proud to offer many wines crafted according to sustainable, organic or biodynamic practices.

2: How did the idea of importing alcohol and supplying them to the resorts begin in 2008?

Cellar Master Maldives was established in 2008 by the fine foods import company, Fantasy Pvt Ltd. Fantasy have a strong reputation for excellent quality products via B2B and B2C supply. They decided to reach out to the wine sector offering new and exciting products. Originally concentrating on wines from Australia and New Zealand, Cellar Master had a growing and loyal customer following.

3:  How has the company progressed since then?

Since then, Fantasy partnered with a Dubai based company and more resources have been given to Cellar Master to allow the company to evolve. In 2017 we decided that the range needed refreshing and have since taken on a number of products from around the world, sourcing from some of the best in the industry. We have a concentrated range of fresh vintages that have been stored correctly throughout their life, and we are now a fast growing team with a sister company in the Seychelles.

4: What were some of the highlights of the company’s journey?
Launching our new website was high on our agenda. We are a transparent company that provides useful information and industry led advice and news. We created an interactive online portfolio for our customer’s convenience which allows our range to be accessible from anywhere in the world (or any Atoll). We are very proud of partnering exclusively with producers that have international industry acclaim, this is an exciting time for us. After visiting all of our producers and associates at Prowein this year we had the amazing opportunity to taste/select and meet first hand our network of industry support from across the world.

5:    What are some of your most notable products and brands?

We are lucky to have some excellent producers backing us, giving us a range of products that have proven to be successful internationally, time and time again. We nurture close working relationships with our producers and we feel very proud to receive support exclusively in the Maldives from some of the best in the industry.  We work with the exquisite Champagnes House Charles Heidsieck. One of the oldest great Beaune négociant houses spanning 250+ years, Domaine Chanson. The internationally recognized specialist Malbec producer, Maal Wines. Purato, made using 100% eco-friendly products and completely unadulterated by chemicals or man-made pesticides. Château d'Anglès, the family estate of the famous Eric Fabre from Château Lafite Rothschild and the pioneering biodynamic producer Robert Eden with château Maris - to name but a few.

6:   What are your goals for the company?

Our goal is to provide Maldives resorts with the best high quality and value for money wine options. To provide on hand expert advice and support, enabling resorts to maximize on opportunities and increase their sales.  Most of all, our goal is to provide a concentrated range of products that can be supplied to resorts consistently. We have refined our systems allowing us to be proactive in the market, with an intuitive and reactive service for our customers. 

7:    As an alcohol importer, do you face many challenges?

There are a number of challenges that alcohol importers face in the Maldives. Shipping times can be slow from international producers which can cause delays. We believe in maintaining a concentrated range, uncluttered by too many categories, to ensure we supply consistently. Importing natural products into any tropical country will face its challenges, keeping products fresh with up to date vintages is a must for us. Our team of wine experts would never allow a wine to be sold that is a tired old vintage, poorly stored. Freshness is key.

8: Do you have any new developments or plans for the future that you could share with us? 

We have big plans for the future, out list will remain refined but it will expand. We attend international trade shows to stay up to date and select the right products for this market. It is all too easy to select 100’s of products and say yes to everything but it is vital to supply consistently. We are taking time to listen to our customers and plan to hold a trade led event to give everyone in the industry the chance to taste and network. We feel this is something the Maldives is missing. To keep up to date with our journey, connect with us on social platforms.