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Indian Missions to promote Domestic Wines

Posted: Thursday, 08 September 2011 16:15

Indian Missions to promote Domestic Wines

Sep 08 : Arrival of the new Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Ranjan Mathai should be sound to the ears of the Indian wine producers because not only is he a wine connoisseur, he is a big supporter of the Industry, writes Subhash Arora who has had indirect interaction with him during the processing of India’s application to join OIV.

‘Thank you for your letter felicitating me on my appointment and recommending serving of Indian wines in foreign Missions.  Indian wines are indeed being served at Indian Missions, wherever a regular supply is available’ was his reply to the letter sent by Indian Wine Academy on his taking over the new assignment at the powerful and extremely important position. It is seldom that dignitaries at such high government posts reply and that too with such alacrity. Indian Wine Academy salutes Ranjan Mathai.

‘This letter is to welcome you in your latest and most prestigious assignment and request you to consider making it highly recommendatory to serve Indian wines at the foreign missions whenever the occasion calls for inviting the local guests,’ is excerpted from the congratulatory mail I sent to him last month as soon as he took over the office.

An earlier mail sent to the Foreign Minister almost a year ago went unreplied as did a similar one to the President of India pleading with her to start serving Indian wines at State banquets. When IANS contacted the President’s office to get their reaction, they were told curtly that the Office received hundreds of requests daily and  it will be addressed in due course.

It was really heartening to know Mathai’s comments, ‘As regards the other proposals for promoting Indian wines, we will be in touch with the relevant authorities through the Ministry of Food Processing.  We are quite conscious of the need to support Indian products, and to represent the full range of Indian cuisine abroad.’

This was in reply to our plea and submission: ‘While quality improvement and lower costs will need to be the continued Mantra, it is equally important for the world to keep a tab on India’s progress.

One such tool is by showcasing our wines at such occasions by our missions who should even be encouraged to conduct frequent wine tastings for the local journalists, wine buyers and hospitality industry.’

Reposing faith in the IGPB I had suggested, ‘Indian Grape Processing Board has been formed by our government to promote Indian wine industry. Services of the Board may also be utilized to conduct such tastings-for instance, if some producer goes abroad and wants to conduct a tasting at the mission, IGPB should be involved. I have done so at the German, Chilean, French, Italian and Spanish embassies etc for their wines. There is no reason why we cannot promote similarly through our missions. My suggestion would be to encourage the embassies to work with IGPB. Mostly, they would be able to get complimentary wines. Otherwise, on national days like Independence Day etc. they could even buy the wines by getting IGPB’s help-but they must serve only Indian wines. This way, different producers will get an opportunity to have their wines tasted with a proper feedback.’

Mr Ranjan Mathai was India’s Ambassador to Paris before he took over as the Secretary in the MEA (foreign affairs ministry) on August 1.

Substantial credit goes to him for getting India accepted by a unanimous vote into OIV-International Organisation of Vine and Wine as a full member. Supporting the hard work put by the dynamic officials of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry through the Indian Grape Processing Board, he kept a liaison with the ‘United Nations of Wine’and charmed them into giving full membership to India while making several visits to ‘check them out’ thoroughly before giving a go ahead to the government to join them.

‘I believe that you promoted the cause of Indian wine and helped India become a member of the prestigious OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine). The grape producers, wine makers and consumers will ever be indebted to you once they realise the material benefits to the Indian wine industry,’ was a part of the letter sent to him.

The soft-spoken but astute Ranjan Mathai acknowledged in his inimitable style, ‘as you have mentioned, I was very happy to promote India’s membership of OIV which came through on July 12, just before I left Paris.’

Now it is left to the IGPB which also has producers like Sula and Four Seasons on the Board as well as various producer associations to use the good offices of the Ministry of External Affairs to promote Indian wines and ensure the domestic wines are available at our missions overseas regularly, perhaps at special prices.

Earlier this year Good Earth Winery is reported to have got their wines approved at the Indian Embassy in Washington. Such efforts by the enterprising entrepreneurs will help improve the image of Indian wines overseas and develop marketing to these countries. IGPB should step in as a neutral catalyst and co-coordinator to help the process along.

Subhash Arora



Sidd Banerji Says:

What a report.What astyle in presentation.Not only we,the new wine writers should learn,general language lovers should also find lots in it.Yours in wine world.

Posted @ October 17, 2011 11:35


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