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Posted: Monday, July 20 2009. 18:19

Blog : An Indian Wine Student in Australia

I met Umesh Saini a couple of years ago when he came to my office looking for guidance to start wine import business. A commerce graduate, he was raw but willing to work with us. Looking at his passion for wine, I recommended him to go to Adelaide, UC Davies in California or Bordeaux to study and gain experience before taking the plunge.

Last week he met me at my house. Apparently he took my advice seriously and got admission in the University of Adelaide last summer for a 3-year degree course in wine marketing. He has completed a year and is working part time with Possums Wines, a highly acknowledged, young McLaren Vale winery in South Australia owned by Dr. John Possingham and Carol Summers.

The curriculum includes viticulture, winemaking and of course marketing with a special emphasis on wine and costs about $ 40,000 of 3 years- a hefty sum of money but still less than the unofficial capitation money being charged by most of the medical colleges in India-before even starting the course!

He seems to be very happy and well-settled into the course, which is not a given in this course, he says. There is about 80% drop- out rate, primarily because most students think there won’t be any technical subjects but finding the going tougher as there is a lot of material to be covered and most local students are unable to cope up with it.

Umesh is very happy though and hopes to finish it in the next year and a half as he is getting some credits for his undergraduate work in India. He plans to come back and work for an importer, perhaps. He gets to taste innumerable number of wines and visits several vineyards in the area.

Racism in Australia

None at all, he feels-at least in Adelaide in South Australia. He says the problem is mainly because of many less-educated people, and in only certain pockets. In Adelaide, Indian students are very much respected, he feels.

Possums Wines
 
Umesh has been carrying some wines from Possums Winery. The 9 year old winery is highly rated by James Halliday, a colleague and correspondent from Australia for the Meininger Wine Business International magazine we both write for and one of the most respected journalists of Australia. They have a basic level ‘Two in the Pouch’ Shiraz/Cabernet and a Chardonnay/Viognier which would make excellent Retail wines.

Possums Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is a very good quality wine with plenty of plum fruit and the blackberries and has a long, persistent taste. It would make a great restaurant wine at reasonable price. But the best value-for money wine is Shiraz from Willunga vineyards, with soft tannins, harmonious mix of flavours and can drink for 6-7 years more. An absolute winner for restaurant or retail. The best wine for me was the Springs Chardonnay, an un-oaked Chardonnay grown at higher altitude which had distinct aromatic flavours and would not burn a hole in the pocket-could be an excellent value white. Of course, the reds are slightly high on alcohol, with 14.5% and even more because of fully ripening of the grapes and the wines are quite dry, with less than 1 gm. of residual sugar.

Although Umesh is working with the winery as a part timer to gain experience and is visiting India, I have advised him to concentrate on his studies, visit as many vineyards as possible and taste as many wines as possible, before coming back to India where he should have no difficulty in finding a job as marketing manager with many wineries or importers.

You are welcome to contact Umesh Saini or the winery directly. It makes me extremely happy that I was able to make a difference in the life of this young guy who was genuinely passionate about wine and was willing to anything to expand his horizons and is now well on his way to a successful career.

Subhash Arora

 
 
   

Dan Traucki Says:

G'day Subhash: I tried sending an e-mail a minute ago but I think it failed. Anyhow, can you please give me Umesh's contact details as I live only 10 minutes away from Mc Laren vale and would be pleased to meet him and help in any way I can. Cheers Dan

Posted @ July 23, 2009 16:23

 

 
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