1 thought on “From Archives (2006): IFE-2006 – Robert Joseph decries French influence in Indian wine making

  1. “16 years seems like a very long time ago. In fact, my daughter is 16 and my son just 18 months older. When you and I had that conversation, Subhash, I had no way of imagining that I would one day see my Le Grand Noirwines earning their place among the most popular in India. I really appreciate the friendly support you have given me over the years, and all the invaluable information you have shared with everybody about the complexities of the Indian wine market.

    Your dusting-off of my thoughts in 2006 is quite timely, because I’m currently going through things I have written and said since the 1980s for a book to be published next year.
    For better or worse, I have always tried to ask questions even when they may have struck the recipient as impertinent, and attempted to make sense of the answers and if and how they fitted into what I had seen, heard and tasted with my own senses.

    Often, of course, I’ve inevitably got it wrong, but those occasions can be just as interesting and instructive as the ones that allow me to pat myself on the back for having backed the right horse or foreseen a storm others had overlooked.

    For many years, as wine exports to China boomed and other markets ranging from Vietnam to Russia showed ever more promise, India continued to look like the most laggardly runner in the race. The quality of Indian wine seemed to evolve frustratingly slowly too, and Grover – before it became Zampa-Grover – failed to blossom as much as I certainly had hoped.

    But, as everyone knows from the fable about the tortoise and the hare, it isn’t always the rapid starter that wins the race. Chinese consumers still drink far more than their Indian counterparts but, as I recently noted in Meininger’s, since 2018, they have been cutting back. Today, China’s wine consumption is at a 20-year low and, following the imposition of draconian tariffs on their wines by Beijing, Australian producers who were relying on the Chinese market are now desperately looking elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, as I’ve been delighted to see, a new generation of Indians – especially young women – are discovering wine and increasingly embracing it far more eagerly than their parents. Gratifyingly, the quality of Indian wine is improving too. Producers such as KRSMA, Fratelli, York, Charosa, Reveilo and Sula, of course, are all making really impressive wines, and – as I hoped 16 years ago – moving beyond the early focus on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc.

    I’m very excited to see how the Indian wine story unfolds and look forward to witnessing it for myself – with a bit of help from Subhash, of course.”

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