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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, 26 July 2010 12:57

Taj Monopolizes WS Wine List Award Again

Taj group of hotels has once again cornered the Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards 2010 in India, bagging 8 out of 10 Two Glasses- Awards for the wine lists of  its restaurants pan-India, with Hotel Imperial, Delhi claiming the other two for San Gimignano and the Spice Route Restaurants, with no restaurant bagging the Three Glasses Grand Award.  

‘The Taj Hotels have made a clean sweep of this year's Wine Spectator ' Best of Award of Excellence', with three restaurants in the Delhi Taj Palace and Mumbai Taj Mahal & Palace Hotel sharing all four 'two glasses' awards for outstanding wine lists’ is an excerpt from the news article from delWine issue of August 2007, referring to the awards for 2007.  The Taj group seems to have honed the art of winning this recognition to a perfect T, by not only bagging 8 out of the 10 two-glasses but also 19 of its properties pan India were awarded the ‘Single Glasses’ out of 26.

Only 1 stand-alone restaurant out of the total of 36 awarded from India, managed a single-glass. Indigo in Mumbai is an old stalwart, not only in bringing the casual fine dining wine culture to Mumbai in the nineties, but also receiving a single-glass earlier. As before, no Indian restaurant has been awarded Three Glasses Grand Award.

The other 6 five-star hotels who received awards and gate-crashed into the ‘Taj-exclusive’ party are Hotel Leela Palace (Jamawar and Zen- Bangalore, Stella- Mumbai), Hotel Aman (Aman- Delhi), Hotel Grand Hyatt (Cellini- Mumbai) and Sahara Star Hotel (Aafrein- Mumbai)  .

The New Line up of Gran Award Winners

Alex, Las Vegas - A new headliner on the Las Vegas strip, Don Alfonso 1890, Macao - an embarrassment of wine riches in Macao, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Hong Kong - a temple to Bordeaux rising in Hong Kong, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston – with a Texas-sized wine list in Houston, aged in-house, RN74, San Francisco - a thousand Burgundies, named after the touristic road from Dijon to Beaune, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney – where pristine provenance uplifts a cellar in Sydney and Spago, Beverly Hills A Los Angeles Icon, are the Magnificent Seven Restaurants that have been awarded the highest Grand Award of Three Glasses for the first time. With 68 others that have won them earlier, the list of Grand Award winners has touched 75 this year.

 3734 restaurants have been awarded one of the three-level awards for the wine lists submitted to Wine Spectator, submitted along with the charges in January every year. The Awards have been given annually since 1981.

The awards might have lost a bit of their sheen when a journalist, posing as the owner of a fictitious restaurant along with a fictitious address and the wine list a couple of years ago was given the award with an invitation to advertise in the magazine, making the wine and hospitality world wake up to the fact that ‘Restaurant Awards’ was basically a clever business venture. The company has now made it a point to mention on their website that while the Grand Award winning restaurants are visited-not all awardees are checked out by them or their reps. It makes practical business sense-visiting at least 3734 (imagine how many would have applied?) restaurants throughout the world would be an arduous task and commercially unviable.

This is precisely the reason Ritu Dalmia of Diva Restaurant in Delhi decided to stay away from the Awards this year, after applying and winning a single glass award for several years. Diva is known for its excellent wine list with 440 entries last year, which she has just pruned down to 402.  Referring to the reported scandal, she says, ‘When they don’t bother to check the details and want only the money, where is the satisfaction when I wine an award that I have achieved something?’ she says, adding, ‘I’d rather spend the $250 they charge as application fee, on something more productive. I am happier with my clients being satisfied.’

Obviously, Taj derives enough commercial advantage from the award- talking of which the group must deserve a special Award from Wine Spectator. Even if one assumes that they made application for only 27 restaurants-that is, all the properties received the award, they must be the biggest single client of the Wine Spectator Restaurant Award Division!

Does the Award mean that no stand-alone restaurants in Delhi, Mumbai (barring Indigo) or Bangalore have wine lists which are awardable? Even Taj won’t buy that!! 

Details of rules and procedure were given in our earlier article; Taj Wine List gets a Taj from Wine Spectator.


1. Blue Ginger E Taj Palace, Delhi   
2. Masala Art  Taj Palace, Delhi 
3.   Masala Kraft  Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai
4. Orient Express  Taj Palace, Delhi
5.   San Gimignano  M Imperial, Delhi
6. Souk  M Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, Mumbai
7. The Blue Bar Taj Palace, Delhi
8. The Spice Route  M Imperial, Delhi
9. The Zodiac Grill   M Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai
10. Wasabi by Morimoto M Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai
11. Aafrein  E Sahara Star, Mumbai
12. Aman   Aman,Delhi
13. Atrium Lounge  E Taj Lands End, Mumbai
14. Celini   Grand Hyatt, Mumbai
15. Chinoiserie    Taj Bengal, Kolkata
16. Golden Dragon   Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, Mumbai
17. Golden Dragon Taj Coromandel, Chennai
18. Graze E Taj Residency, Bang
19. Hip Asia   Taj Connemara, Chennai
20. House of Ming E   Taj Mahal, Delhi
21 Indigo Restaurant M Behind Taj Palace and Towers, Mumbai
22. Jamawar E The Leela PalaceBangalore
23. Masala Bay E Taj Lands End, Mumbai
24. Ming Yang  Taj Lands End, Mum
25. Neelkamal M Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur
26. Prego  E Taj Coromandel Chennai
27. Rice Boat Taj Malabar, Kochi
28. Southern Spice Taj Coromande Chen
29. Stella E Leela Kempinski, Mumbai
30. Suvarna Mahal Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
31. Thai pailion Taj, Mumbai
32 Chambers   E   Taj Bengal, Kolkata
33. The Hub M Taj Bengal, Kolkata
34. Varq E Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi
35. Wasabi bt Moromoto E Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi
36. Zen   Leela Palace, Banglare

E- Wines are expensive    M-Wines are moderately priced

Taj Wine List gets a Taj from Wine Spectator

Aug 27,2007 issue


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