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Curtain Raiser: India Wine Awards Ready for Judging at Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Posted: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 17:14


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Curtain Raiser: India Wine Awards Ready for Judging at Sofitel Mumbai BKC

April 12: There are around 300 bottles of Indian and imported wine ready to be opened and blind tasted by an eminent jury chaired by Sonal Holland MW and vice chaired by Subhash Arora, with a unique first time ever judging for wines matching with Indian food for which 6 dishes have been identified to be prepared by the Chefs at Sofitel Mumbai BKC, partner venue for the event and the Awards’ Night, reports Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewIt’s raining wine bottles at Hotel Sofitel BKC Mumbai, the venue and hospitality partner for the first Indian Wine Awards, organised by the formidable team of Sonal Holland MW, Subhash Arora and Sourish Bhattacharyya, who came together last year, and organised delWine Excellence Awards in Delhi at Hotel Pullman Aerocity, where they announced the India Wine Awards in Mumbai which was selected as the city since a vast majority of wine is produced in Maharashtra. All importers put the entire might behind this city for their marketing efforts.

At the time of publishing the Article, the organisers had received 301 entries during the short period available.  Setting themselves as a target for 300 samples for which 3 jury panels of 3/4 members would be required over 2 days, tasting on the average around 100 wines over 2 days. A word of information for the novices; wine tasting includes all the six elements: see, swirl, sniff, sip, swish and spit.

Rojita Tiwari has been working 24*7 for the last one week collecting, coding and storing samples from the participants. As history would tell us, there has been a flurry of activities with samples coming in large numbers during the last few days. She is the Technical Director for this Award and is responsible to help ensure it is a professional and international class competition where the participants can get the best defence for their wines vying for Silver, Gold or a Diamond medal. As Arora claims, ‘every judge is also the lawyer for the wine at some plane. He/she must ensure that each wine gets a very fair appraisal for the wine.’


Kadambari (kay) Kapur owns Gusto Imports in Mumbai.  She had formed the company in Kolkata a few years ago but later moved to Mumbai with her husband, partly because she felt the market had better potential. Consistently expanding the market share and holding an excellent portfolio of quality wines including Super Tuscans, she has entered the maximum number of wines, showing confidence in the competition and her products.

Fratelli Vineyard has been the leading participant in the Indian wine industry segment, which has come out with overwhelming support to the initiative, confident of getting an unbiased and professional response by the jury. With maximum entries from the domestic segment, they are very confident of getting good results. They have entered the maximum number of domestic labels and  also entered several of their wines in the food and wince category.

This is the first time ever that India is seeing a wine and food match competition. Wine is a food product and can be well matched with Indian food. How well do Indian wines match with Indian food will be evident when the results are announced at the Indian Awards Night on April 22 at Sofitel Mumbai BC where 100s of wines can be tasted and the winning wines will also be showcased.

Pernod Ricard takes such competition very seriously internationally and decided on the participation very methodically. They have entered the maximum number of wines for food and wine match competition at IWA. Arora has been judging for 7 years at HkIWSC organised in conjunction with International Wines and Spirits Competition (London).He has been involved with the food and wine match segment from the very first edition and knows that they won the Best of Show Trophy at the competition more than once. Therefore, their participation is miles ahead of others in this section.

As a policy, delWine does not disclose the names of the participants as is the international practice. Almost every Indian producer worth the name and who believe in his quality and striving to influence the customer is partaking in the competition.

As always, there have been Doubting Thomases who like to sit at the sideline and try to find fault with the competition; no competition is perfect. Some say their principals find the cost of sending entries is too high. At Rs. 2000 (around $31) an entry for wine and Rs. 1000 (around $15) each for wine and food match, this has been a special introductory offer at half the normal prices. There are no better examples of wine competitions in the world with such low prices, kept really low to encourage the producers/importers to participate in full strength.

Jury Panels

Jury selected has been the best possible within the constraint of availability on the days of the tasting on April 14 and 15 an Easter Weekend. Many capable judges like Ajoy Shaw, Cecilia Oldne, Harish Acharekar and Sumedh Singh Mandla could not be invited since they are working with an importer or producer. Although it is an international practice now to invite many in the trade for their expertise at such competitions, IWA has conscientiously stayed away to have any possible conflicts or perceived conflicts of interest.

Subhash Arora is perhaps India’s most senior taster in the international circuit for 12 years, invited consistently despite his efforts to restrict participating in such competitions. He has 53 international competitions under his belt with a record participation of 11 consecutive years at Mundusvini, Germany alone.

This year Subhash Arora, Rojita Tiwari and Sonal Holland are also invited to Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Valladolid in Spain next month. Although it is Sonal’s maiden outing to the Concours, Arora has been judging there for 9 years; it will be 4th outing for Rojita who was made President of one of the jury Panels  last year. She was also part of the committee to organise The Silk Route Conference and Competition in Beijing last year. Sourish Bhattacharyya has also judged at Concours Mondial de Brussels once. In recent times one has seen Magandeep Singh and Karina Agarwal also added to the coveted list. Alok Chandra has the advantage of being a tea taster ,so tasting wine has come to him  naturally. He has also judged at Vinitaly.

The complete list has not been announced yet by the organisers and will be published once it is announced.

Indian Wine Awards Winners Night

Results for the competition will be announced at the Awards Night on April 22 at the Sofitel Hotel BKC which starts with a wine tasting at 6 30 pm followed by the Awards  Night and the Dinner and Revelry to celebrate the winning wines. The tickets for the evening have been kept very low at Rs.2500 AI, considering the amount and variety available for tasting and the excellent food . There is no charge for the Networking; Who’s who of wine industry are expected at the event.

For online booking click

Seats are limited and on FCFR basis.

If there is any difficulty, please contact

For an earlier related Article, please visit  India Wine Awards to feature unique Food and Wine Match

Subhash Arora

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Krishnamaraju Dommaraju Says:

Wonderful Subhash. Feel like coming back to direct imports!You make me more and more curious about wines. I am really here for a long haul!

Posted @ April 13, 2017 15:50


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