Ever heard of Moravia? No marks for guessing Alberto Moravia, the great Roman novelist who among other things explored modern sexuality and penned novels like Two Women, Erotic Tales etc.
This being a wine Blog should give the clue that I would be referring to some wine region. Actually, Moravia is the eastern, third part of Czech Republic carved out of the former Czechoslovakia. Wikipedia puts the population of about 1.2 million for the whole of Moravia.
Yet there were 3 wine labels submitted from this region at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles held in Valencia last month. There was none from India.
There were about 6000 wines, majority as expected, from France, Spain and Italy. There were wines from over 30 countries including South Africa, Chile and Argentina.
But there was none from India.
I was pleasantly surprised when over a dozen international journalists at the venue in Valencia quizzed me about Indian wines and whether I had brought some wines for tasting. Looking at the overall interest, I think this would have been an ideal opportunity to showcase our wines to the journalists from across the globe.
But the export efforts from India are only fragmented and the smaller producers are not able to take part in such tastings or competitions. Last year Mercury won a medal at its very first presentation at one of these competitions, which besides Concours de Mondial Bruxelles includes Vinitaly, International Wine Challenge and Decanter among many other specialized ones.
Mundusvini 2009 is taking place in Germany for which samples must be submitted in June. This is a good competition for those seeking European markets, especially Germany. For the Asian market, WineStyleAsia takes place in Singapore in October for which wines can be sent till September. Both the competitions are blind, professional and objective.
Most competitions charge around $160-200 per label. This may be nominal, for the European producers but substantial for many small Indian producers who believe they are making quality wines. Therefore, it is important for organizations like APEDA to take charge and bundle the samples and give a subsidy of 50%- like Moravia and many other countries offer their producers.
The newly formed Indian Grape Board should take it as a priority and should offer the same subsidy. They have reportedly a budget of $1.5 million for the next 3 years, the majority of which will perhaps go into salaries, travel and office rent. A nominal amount could be kept aside to pay the subsidy and cost of sending the samples.
I am not sure if the wines from Moravia got a medal or not. While a medal can always be bandied around- not getting one does not hurt any reputation because no one comes to know about the participation.
And who knows, some of my journalist friends at these competition taking part as judges, might be tempted to write about the ‘exotic’ wines from an ‘exotic’ India!