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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, January 21 2010. 16:46

Vinitaly India Shining in Delhi

Vinitaly India made its 2-day appearance with its fourth edition at the Park Hotel, New Delhi after an absence of a year due to 26/11 in Mumbai last year and skipping Mumbai this time, with about 25 wine companies showcasing wines and olive oil, repors Subhash Arora.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

The show was first organised by Veronafiere in 2006 and it became a regular event with a day’s presence each in Mumbai and Delhi. The other editions were held in 2007 and 2008 with this pattern.

Wine producers from Piemonte, Tuscany, Veneto, Lombardy, Sardinia, Friuli, Lazio, Sicily and Emilia-Romagna showcased their wines and olive oil on two days to visitors keen to taste and learn about the Italian wines, hopefully some of them to import from these participants. The exhibition also included guided tasting of Italian wines and several other presentations including one from the UIV- the Association of Italian wine producers.

Although the number of participants was more or less the same as in 2008, as Faye Caldwell who was here as a part of the Veronafiere team, the venue selected was much better and more compact than the then Inter-Continental Hotel a couple of years back. The organisation was better and the vibrations seemed to be stronger and more positive this time. The banquet room on the first floor was buzzing with people trying to taste as many wines as possible during the curtailed hours in this edition- 6 hours a day as compared to the 8 hours or more in most international wine shows.

The participants included Brunelli from Montalcino, Riondo, the big daddy GIV (Gruppo Italiano Vini) and Zeni from Veneto and Cacchiano, Cavalierino, Fabbiano, Isole e Olena (Tuscany).

Feudi dell Medusa from Sardinia has the unique distinction of being the only winery which has participated in all the editions of Vinitaly India held so far. Sardinia is a totally detached big island of Italy (so is Sicily but you can still reach Trapani- the extreme end of Sicily by train) and has some unique wines because of its terroir.  Cannonau is a signature grape with which one can make elegant and full bodied wines as was evident at the tasting of Medusa portfolio.

It is a lack of appreciation of finer Italian wines that the winery has not been able to find the right importer. It is heartening and encouraging to seem their persistence and hopefully next year they will participate with an importer.

Another surprise- and the one that shatters the myth that such shows are only to scout around for importers, was the presence of Zonin. This Veneto based producer is perhaps the biggest Italian family producer, which has annual sales of € 90 million and has estates also in Piedmont, Lombardy, Friuli, Tuscany, Apulia and Sicily. The company has solidly cemented its relationship with the wine and spirit importer Aspri in the last 3 years. Says Maura Marciante who looks after the export for this region said, ‘we are extremely happy with the performance of Aspri after we switched from the earlier importer Brindco. The show had given us an opportunity to meet several F & B personnel, invited by them so we can give deeper insights of our wines.’

At a dinner organised by Aspri at the Italian Restaurant Tonino later in the evening, one could meet many friends from Shangri-la, Radisson and other restaurants too, over a glass of their Amarone Della Valpolicella which gave a newer perspective to drinking this wine in the cold and foggy February weather of Delhi. It also gave an opportunity to their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to compete with the traditional Chianti or Sangiovese with a pepperoni pizza. Tasting of these wines at the Park and then comparing the flavours with Italian food validated my strong belief that Italian wines do wonder with Italian food.

A surprise find was a delicious Rose sparkling called Bardolino Chiaretto from Zeni, a Veneto based small winery. It was so delicious and so moderately priced that this wine will be a clear competitor to the ubiquitous Prosecco Spumante which at 125 million bottles a year is already threatening to beat Champagne in a couple of decades with its ever increasing demand and a clear recent push towards consumption in countries like the US and Europe as well. 

Vinitaly India may appear to have lost some its sheen, coming down from the 2007 in which over 50 producers took part that included Gaja, Pio Cesare, Masi and Mastroberardino. While one suspects a strong helping hand from the EU at that event, the Veronafiere does realise the importance of India as the market to push and announced a JV called Veronafiere Lems India Pvt Ltd at this show to concentrate on more such events.

Hopefully, the show also lit a spark for the potential importers to visit Vinitaly in Verona on April 8. Details at

Subhash Arora


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