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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, 21 May 2010 10:34

Blog: The Irresponsible Wine Journalism

A news item reported by the reputed news agency IANS about India’s participation at the London Wine Fair and picked up by online media like Yahoo, had so much erroneous and immature reporting that the producers, wine connoisseurs and serious wine lovers would be at sea whether to laugh or raise their arms with disgust.

“Eight Indian winemakers will compete with international brewers at the three-day London Wine Fair beginning Tuesday,’ roared the news item.

This is not a beer show where international brewers are congregating. What the reporter does not know perhaps that wine is not brewed but fermented out of grapes or other fruits. And if the objective is to compete against the international players, I am, afraid they would perform much worse than our cricket team at the recent T20World Cup!

‘The Indian Grape Processing Board has handpicked eight wineries from across the country with a varied product portfolio to represent India and meet industry stake-holders for better promotion of Indian wines, said Abhay Kewadkar, chief winemaker and director of Four Seasons Ltd of the UB Group,’ according to the article.

Prima facie, I would be surprised if Abhay Kewadkar, who did not answer my query seeking clarification to this quote, as he was perhaps already in transit, would make such a statement. I hope the Board would be forthcoming in denying this statement  or else it would be accused of being partisan. At least three of the participants are members of the Board. It would be tragic for its credibility if it took the stand that it had in fact handpicked the wineries. To the best of my knowledge, the selection was on a first-come-first served bases, as it should indeed be. I know that Grover Vineyards wanted to take part but were late in responding and were denied the entry.

‘It was trailing close on the heels of the IMFL (India Made Foreign Liquor) market with an 'overall size of 250 million cases annually,’ says the journalist talking about the figures of hard liquor being produced in India.

Again, this statement perplexed me. Trailing-did it say? At only 1.5 million cases of total wine consumption-are we trailing the IMFL market? Or are we trailing!!!

'Britain does not make its own wine. The country imports all of its wine from France.’ I hope no Brit or French has read the article! It may not be important to know the figures, but UK perhaps already makes the number of bottles close to what India produces- in South England where they produce fairly decent sparkling wine. England is also one of the few countries in the world which is totally free in importing wines from all parts of the world-even Indage, Sula and Grover have been exporting for several years-though insignificant amounts.

The report further says- The official said: 'It was imperative for India to market its wines in the same way as Australia, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand - the neo-wine producers - who have been trying to push their brews in the economy segments.' I think the official might need to explain in simpler terms what he meant by the statement.

While every journalist is free to write whatever he fancies and it is not our intent to be critical- it may not be worth the time- but it is important to point out that the journalists are responsible for the statements they make or the facts they write, else they would be clubbed in the same category as the cheap quality Indian wine, leaving the quality producers fuming or laughing.

Subhash Arora



Gianander Dua Says:

Dear All, I am a witness that the the wineries were selected on First come first serve basis, as a common mail was sent to all the wineries and the wine associates and the people who responded first were selected, so there is no question on the transformation whether there are 3board members or more participating (IGBP) was very clear on the same. With regards to the reporter talking on the issue the wine being brewed rather than being fermented, is probably the lack of knowledge or also a mistake which all of us have read and have understood. thirdly i would also like to note tto people that if the goverment is promoting the Indian Wineries , we all should be supporting rather than going and swifing that the Indian Wineries should be banned from the international arena, because Indian Government has not banned the import of wines it only the higher tax policy which , i am sure all of us have a concern on. Finally via this blog , i would like to congratulate the IGBP( Indian Grape Board) on the tremendous response and success it has achieved at LIWF.

Posted @ June 02, 2010 11:40


Abhay Kewadkar Says:

Dear Subhash, After going through this blog, the only comment I have is to agree with you. Let me clarify here that I have never made any statement to any journalist about selecting 8 wineries from across the country for participation in LIWF. Let me also categorically state here that IGPB in its communication clearly stated to all the wineries that participation will be on "first come, first serve" basis. More so, I would be the last person to state what IGPB has done, or the process. This all seems to be a figment of imagination on the part of the journalist. I did receive your email which I promptly replied to, clarifying the above. As I was in transit, it was sent from my Blackberry - somehow you do not seem to have received it. IGPB has been very transparent and above the board; in my opinion, we do have to worry about some irresponsible journalism. Kind Regards, Abhay Kewadkar Business Head (Wines) & Chief Wine Maker, Director - Four Seasons Wines

Posted @ May 24, 2010 17:20


Tony Keys Says:

Subhash Not all wine writers are journalists and not all bloggers have a greater understanding of wine other then own interest. I note the article did not carry a name and I hardly think it an article rather a badly worded media release that IANS had re-hashed even more badly. You are doing the right thing by exposing such rubbish so be critical as journalists have a duty to present facts and commentators the right to use knowledge that advices the wine or any industry where they are going wrong. Tony Keys The Key Report

Posted @ May 24, 2010 10:55


Ray Azoba Says:

Dear sirs/Madams, We support the international media,India should not be allowed to sell his wine in international market,why? Because if India does not allow other companies to sell their wine in India,why should India come to international wine market. We are also going to join E.U & NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) counterparts in their complaint to WTO against India's unfair import policy. Thank you, Ray Azoba, Canada

Posted @ May 24, 2010 10:53



As they say 'a little knowlegde is dangerous'- that is unfortunately the case most of the time when a reporter picks up his/her pen to write on wine ! They dont bother to research their subjects and come out with some absolute howlers like"Britain does not make its own wine" or refer to wine as a "brew"

Posted @ May 24, 2010 10:48


Kawaljeet Singh Says:

Dear Subhash I wouldlike to add to your perceptive article in agreement that 1. IGPB (Indian Grape Processing Board) has indeed emailed to Big Banyan Wines along with about 40 plus (counted from the email addresses) other wineries / persons about the LIWF and clearly mentioning the deadline, the no of participants that can be accomodated and the costs with a clear message that the participation would be on first come first served basis.The Board has been very fair in this regard and also in the past where similar transparent communication was sent for participation inthe HongKong Wine Fair.. the question of handpicking doesnt figure here. Wineries may have chosen toparticipate or otherwise for reasons of their own. The IGPB has been quite encouraging, I must admit in initiating the participation of wineries at international levels which on an individual levels would have been very difficult Big Banyan wines wishes the Indian contingent all the very best to represent Indian wines at the LIWF.. Cheers Kawaljeet Singh Head Marketing Big Banyan Wines India

Posted @ May 24, 2010 10:24


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