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Good Earth Wines Enter Indian Embassy in US

Posted: Saturday, 05 March 2011 11:11

Good Earth Wines Enter Indian Embassy in US

Mar 5: Although Good Earth or any other Indian wines may never be allowed inside the White House in the US because of their policy to serve only American wines, the former has been able to enter the gates of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC which has selected their wines for official functions, as also several restaurants and retail outlets, writes our USA correspondent Rishi Vohra CSW.

One of the USPs of Good Earth Winery is that the owner, Girish Mhatre is a resident of the US  and uses his contacts on the East Coast, that enabled him to enter the US market barely a year after launching the wines in November 2009. The wines were earlier launched in conjunction with the HBO–sponsored South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) in New York last November.

Girish Mhatre says, “We are beginning to deliver on our stated objective to create wines that can compete on quality in the most discerning international markets.”

The wines from Good Earth are already available at several wine bars and restaurants covering a wide spectrum of cuisines including New American, Asian Fusion and South Asian. The list of restaurants in New York includes Bombay Palace, Mint Lounge, Darbar, Nirvana, Amma, and Sapphire. Rasika Restaurant, rated as the top Washington DC restaurant by Trip Advisor and the West Village situated ‘The Place’, rated as New York’s most romantic restaurant are avid supporters of their wines, claims Girish. They are also retailed at several high-end outlets such as 67 Wines, Sea Grape Wine Shop, Dandelion and Cleveland Park.

In January 2010 Good Earth Winery created “A culinary passage to India – In New York,” a two-week, multi-restaurant food and wine festival co-promoted by Zagat, the well-known US food rating guide.

Good Earth is a virtual winery- they lease the winery facilities at the York Winery but use their own grapes bought from the contracted growers in and around Nashik and own winemaking. They use the services of winemaker Rajesh Rasal who has also joined the company recently as a Director, according to Navin Sankaranarayan, CEO.

As Girish rightly believes, serving their wines at the Embassy will provide major visibility to the entire Indian wine industry. As a strong supporter of the concept of Indian Embassies serving only Indian wines at official functions abroad, Indian Wine Academy had even approached the Ministry of External Affairs to make it ‘mandatory’ for the embassies, especially in the wine consuming countries like the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, France etc to serve Indian wines to help promote Brand India globally.

For this purpose, they could even co-ordinate with the Indian Grape Processing Board which has been formed by the government specifically to promote Indian wines. The Board could facilitate such a service in the absence of which entrepreneurs like Girish Mhatre will continue to focus on specific embassies to patronise their wines, requiring much more efforts.

Indian Wine Academy has also written to the President urging her government to serve Indian wines at the State Banquets. It might seem strange and hypocritical to most people in the world that the Indian Embassy can serve wine at its official functions in Washington but it’s a no-no in Delhi. The new millennium calls for a new paradigm and removal of this veil of hypocrisy and a  subtle promotion of wine as the healthier option and specifically Indian wines the making of which  provides several job and earning opportunities in the agricultural sector -Editor


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