March 06: Though not yet introduced in India, Krsma Wines made a good impression on the tasters at the recently concluded 5th Edition of the World Wine Symposium at Hotel Villa d’Este on Lake Como with those of the 250 registered wine professionals tasting the Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay from the Hampi producer in Karnataka pleasantly surprised at the swift progress made by Wines of India, writes Subhash Arora who had recommended him to participate and showcase the wines in the prestigious global conference, if money was not a constraint
At €2850 a person (€3850 a couple) registration charge, the Symposium is not for everyone-most would find the costs prohibitive. Not Krishna! Since I knew the high quality and his higher ambitions to make Krsma a world class wine, I called him and informed him about the event a few months ago and suggested that he participate as it would enhance Brand India (my sole selfish motive) and he would get an honest feedback from wine experts. He called me back in less than 5 minutes and said if I recommend it, he would take part in the event along with his wife Uma who is an active participant in his whole wine business.
Started in 2010, the wines are not in the market yet though he has already won some awards including the Bronze medals for the two wines he had submitted at HKIWSC held last month in Hong Kong as the latest. He plans to launch the two wines in Bangalore next month but has been very open to suggestions and criticism to improve the wines further for the future lot and saw WWS as a good platform to have several wine experts from throughout the world taste his wines. Fortunately, finances are not on the top of his chart - taking time out of his busy schedule was.
World Wine Symposium (WWS) started with the concept as a Davos de Vin (Davos of Wine) and is shaping towards being called the Villa d’Este Wine Symposium (VDEWS) perhaps due to pressure from the sponsoring hotel - one of the top luxury hotels in Italy. Arora has been invited to every edition of WWS since the beginning and was the lone Indian till the 3rd edition in 2011. He noticed then that the wine producers who were participants could also showcase their wines to the other delegates including the top wine celebrities, connoisseurs, journalists, sommeliers, restaurateurs and importers. Sensing it a great place for the Indian producers to showcase their wines and get an impartial feedback from global experts, he decided to invite one or two producers to participate in this Symposium. Four Seasons and Fratelli were the first ones who decided to participate last year.
During the same edition in 2011, he noticed that a group of about 8 affluent Malaysian wine connoisseurs who had participated, made a regular appearance at the lunches, dinners and the other tastings but were not seen at various seminars. When asked, they said where else would one stay in a fabulous hotel with a great gourmet experience that included fantastic wines. Add to it the various wines available to taste and the wonderful wine celebrities one met here, it made an excellent proposition to attend, even at the seemingly high registration cost.
Taking a cue from this happenstance, Arora talked to a few select members of the Delhi Wine Club and 4 agreed to participate instantly. It was heartening to see them enjoying the event so much last year and pre-register for this year’s event too. Along with Krishna and his wife Uma there were a record 12 participants from India this year. It was also a matter of privilege that Francois Mauss, the organizer and owner of the WWS promised to reserve a special table of 12 for the Indian contingent as one of the head tables. In fact a Burgundy Grand Cru wine producer, a regular visitor to the Symposium for 12 years remarked at the end of the Event with envy in the back layer, ‘we noticed your group of people having a jolly time at every meal.’ ‘We like to have fun and bonhomie around fine wine wherever we were,’ was an instant response from the group.
Krishna was present at all the tastings and even carried his bottles to various tables at dinner time to have some of the delegates taste the Krsma. The initial response was better than cursory and polite. Almost everyone said that the initial reaction had been very good and they would love to have a glass or two of the wines at any time. Willi Klinger, MD of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board whom Arora invited to taste the wines when Krishna was busy, felt that the white Chardonnay wine was very clean and a nicely drinkable wine. He was in fact, surprised that the Indian wines had improved to such a fabulous level so fast even in the red wines when he tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon. It was particularly heartening for Krishna to hear that because he had grown only 600 kgm of the grapes this year as an experiment and though his New Zealand winemaker advised him to throw the grapes away as the quantity was too small to tinker with, he had insisted on making a trial batch to get at least the feedback from critics and journalists.
When asked about his experience at the Symposium, Krishna acknowledged it was a great learning moment for him and the response had been very positive from many tasters. When asked further whether he would like to attend another such event next year, his instant response was, ‘I would love to attend again-perhaps next year. But I would feel more comfortable to showcase my wines when I feel we are their equals in quality. Now, I know my wines are good but I need to work more to make them truly international in style.
What about the other registrants? Both Parag Tripathi and C S Vaidyanathan, active members of the Delhi Wine Club already plan to complete a hat trick with their spouses/room-mates next year. The big surprise perhaps was Vikas Singh, another Supreme Court lawyer who had come to WWS with his wife. He openly admitted at one of the Prestige paid tastings costing between €700-900 that he was an avid whisky drinker and had come only because his friend Parag Tripathi had coaxed him to attend as it would be a life changing experience for him. Before he left Villa d’Este on Sunday, he booked a specific lake facing room for the next year. He was present at all the tastings including the 3 prestige tastings and attended a majority of the seminars.
Krishna was not as lucky though-he could not get the ticket for the DRC Tasting even though he was willing to pay the cost of €900. He had overlooked booking it online though he had informed the organisers of his intention to attend the same.
Next year, the WWS will be held on 6-9 November. For any details of the program for 2014 write to email@example.com. For his reactions or to know more about Krsma wines, please contact Krishna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subh xash Arora
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