The Indian Wine Academy’s 2006 series of corporate events took off on Sunday, August 20, when Delhi’s crème de la crème, platinum card holders of the Standard Chartered Bank, joined Subhash Arora and Sourish Bhattacharyya on a magical journey across the world of sparkling wine, from Champagne to Narayangaon, Maharashtra.
It was an evening dedicated to fine living; the banner was Standard Chartered Platinum Spotlight. Befitting the occasion, Amit Gupta and his team at The Park welcomed each guest at Agni with a tulip of Mimosa, the sparkling wine drink with orange juice.
That turned out to be a perfect ice-breaker for the guests, who ranged from an intellectual property rights lawyer to a human resources veep, from an architect who designs heritage hotels and theme restaurants to a developer of software for user authentication on the Net.
The guests were well-travelled and well-versed in the art of fine living, which made the evening that much more enjoyable.
The sparkling wines served that evening started with Henkell Trocken (the base of the welcome drink), a German sekt that’s quite well-known in India, followed by Ivy Brut from Champagne Indage, which had won a Bronze Medal at the London International Wine Competition, and Freixenet, the Spanish cava.
The guest sipped these sparklers, as Arora and Bhattacharyya held forth on just about everything (from unusual Champagne facts to storage and serving tips), saw a Freixenet film on making cava, whose production process is the same as what’s employed in Champagne, and even answered questions to wine prizes.
And they went back home with a slickly produced handout written by the Academy and designed with great imagination by the RMG Connect team from Bangalore. RMG Connect is the CRM subsidiary of JWT, the top-ranked international advertising agency.
Interestingly, Freixenet was everybody’s favourite among the sparkling wines, but after the guests had a Pommery Brut Royale, followed by a Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, they acknowledged that Champagne, France’s northernmost wine-making region, had the undisputed right to regard its premium product as the emperor of wines.
The Park did an impeccable job – from Srishti’s warm welcome smile at the gate to the seamlessly unobtrusive service of Jasjit’s team (it was a delight to see the staff open the bottles without making a commotion), from the nibbles (Feta Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Tarts, Hummus and Babaganoush with Lavash, Chicken Goujers and Seekh Kebab Mini Puffs) to the endless dinner that followed at Mist, The Park’s all-day dining restaurant, washed down by a glass each of the Kendal Jackson Semillon Chardonnay and Robert Mondavi Merlot.
After dinner, many of the guests told us that the next time they serve bubbly at a party, they’ll remember us fondly. We hope they’ll also invite us to partake of the experience.