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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:34

Winds of Change Blowing over Karnataka

Last weekend saw the largest wine event ever in Bangalore after several postponements at the very stylish, brand new venue in the Palace Grounds in Bangalore, known as ‘White Petals’ with a large air-conditioned hall and beautifully landscaped lawns. Maureen Kerleau, our Bangalore Correspondent writes.

The Festival was at the initiative of the Karnataka Wine Board, sponsored largely by the Karnataka Tourist Board. Apparently, no major private companies were willing to take the risk in sponsoring this ‘high-risk’ event, neither were unfortunately the major Indian wine companies whose absence was a real disappointment to all visitors.
It was a Festival in the true sense. Quite a few Indian wines actually participated, a last minute decision for some. The new brand Seasons drew a huge crowd, Nine Hills were displaying their wines, including the award-winning rosé along with a small selection of their import portfolio. Big Banyan was trying hard to keep things under control. On Saturday, they were seen constantly bringing in fresh stocks throughout the day to keep pace with the avidly tasting public.

The eye-catching labels of Indus Wines who are distributed by Aspri were attracting a lot of attention. They were also showcasing their range of imported wines. Kinvah had a huge team and Naka Wines were also very much present with the whole family lending a hand on the stand.

When contacted by delWine, Kapil Grover of Grover Vineyards admitted not participating but said ‘there are too many of such events and we have to be selective with our budgets.’ Rajeev Samant was perplexed and said, ‘Frankly never heard of it.’ One may recollect that Karnataka had reciprocated to Maharashtra over a year and a half and imposed additional out-of-state excise duties, making them less competitive. Closer to home, Abhay Kewadkar, the Business Head of UB wines talked to delWine on phone from Australia and  it appears that due to the clash of dates, they had to regret participation.

Another interesting range of imported wines was being shown by the local importer Wine Baron, which included the South African Makumba range.

One newcomer was Heritage Winery, not displaying the wines which have not yet been marketed or even produced, but were advertising the winery and brand; apparently they will retail their wines at under 100 Rs per bottle! The entry of Rs.100 a person entitled him to be able to taste only a glass of wine at Rs.100 or even more! But these prices were quite reasonable and affordable. 
Like in every professional wine show the best glass manufacturers, Riedel, Spiegelau and Chef and Sommelier range with the unusual ‘Mikasa’ wine glasses were also doing a lot of business. Belgian chocolates, French cheese from Cheese Importer Daniel Dubloscard ‘La Fromagerie’ and the locally made, delicious Mozzarella, made by Monks who have learnt the trade in Italy. All of the participants, without exception, were overwhelmed by the success, with over 10,000 visitors descending on the 2-day festival.
Maureen Kerleau organised a series of seminars with a variety of very interesting speakers, including Bangalore’s very own Alok Chandra. Venki of Indian Wine fame was over from Chicago and gave an interesting talk on how he has to deal with the difficult task of marketing Indian wines in the US. A brand new, young winemaker from the Krishna Valley in Northern Karnataka, Dr. Basavaraj amazed us with a detailed account of all of the health benefits of wine and there was also a very down to earth session on the taste of wine.
This was the serious part, but what also drew the crowds was the fun part of the Festival – the DJ’s were working full-blast, there were ongoing quizzes on wine, dance competitions, beautifully choreographed Fashion Shows, a live African Jazz Band and not to forget the ‘grape-stomping’.  It was a completely mixed crowd, from young, keen wine drinkers and local vineyard owners to more curious mature visitors who as one gentleman put it ‘We are not yet into wine, but would like to know how to start’.
It was hugely encouraging for all that took part. The Wine Board, especially the Managing Director, Dr. Krishna gave their full cooperation by leaving the local government wine depot open on both days to facilitate collection by the participating wine companies, which was, believe me a real achievement and a big step in the right direction.
The Festival was organised by a small, local, event management company ‘Cosmic Meltdown Crew’ with young guys and girls leaping around with walkie-talkies and getting on top of every tiny detail.
Let’s just hope that the success of this event will lead to more flexibility in the local wine policy on a long term basis – but I am personally convinced that it will. But there are  few really interesting winegrowers in the State who all have MBA backgrounds or similar experience from the US and have an amazingly realistic attitude towards winemaking. The established and big players will certainly have to watch out over the next few years. If they succeed they will be producing 'niche', high quality wines with a direct marketing approach and what is more organic

Winds of Change are certainly blowing over Karnataka!

Maureen Kerleau




kskarnic Says:

The absence of so called big players in the festival is highly regrettable. Probably it is attitude of one-upmanship which is behind their decision not to participate in the event. It is because of Karnataka Government's' progressive, encouraging policy  that Grovers could establish themselves in karnataka almost three decades back. Bangalore festival wouldn't have drained their purse so much nor would it have brought disgrace to their product. After availing all the benefits from every source in Karnataka, The Grovers, and their earstwhile employee have rather shown disrespect to the Karnataka people. These people have no better brand that what others have. It is only their misnomer. There are many in karnataka who would definitely prove that they are equally better or rather have better brand than the so called two giants.

Posted @ April 12, 2010 17:44


Ashok Says:

Why are such events not taking place in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Pune? These cities also have a immense potential for wine market.

Posted @ April 16, 2010 17:40


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