India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
DWC 10th Anniversary: The Mother of all Wine Dinners

Posted: Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:20

DWC 10th Anniversary: The Mother of all Wine Dinners

September 26 : India saw its largest sit down wine dinner when the Delhi Wine Club recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary and organised its 200th wine event at a scintillating evening at the hospitality partner Hyatt Regency, in association with Ethos Summit and Rolex watches, attended by the Foreign Secretary, DG of Paris-based OIV, Ambassadors, Indian and foreign producers, and several other dignitaries, writes Arun Batra

Click For Large ViewThat the year 2012 was going to be a milestone year for the Delhi Wine Club was amply clear to most members as the year progressed. The Club communications to our members focused on the fact that not only was the Club celebrating 10 years of its existence in July but was also going to host its 200th wine dinner in September – a clear indication of a vibrant and buzzing with activity association of wine lovers.

From modest beginnings in 2002, in a new and then relatively unknown Mediterranean Restaurant in Connaught Place-Spirit, the Delhi Wine Club has grown exponentially in size and stature and today would easily lay claim to being the largest and most active Wine Club in the country and very well-known outside the Indian borders as well. The Club has its own website and archives of previous events on the site are witness to the mindboggling array of wines from the world over which have passed through the lips of our now fairly discerning band of wine aficionados at a multitude of fine dining venues in the NCR.

The credit for this extremely happy state of affairs can be laid solely and squarely on the shoulders of the Club President, Subhash Arora, who has singlehandedly, with a pioneering zeal handled all activities of the Club right from screening members (though we do have a screening committee), coordinating with wine importers and hotels to ensure wine dinners run smoothly, running the website and most importantly also doing the collections from members!! Not an easy job, given his business interests and his never-ending international wine commitments as a judge and wine writer.

Click For Large ViewWhilst the 10th anniversary dinner at the same venue as 10 years ago was more of a trip down memory lane for the founder members, Subhash felt the occasion of the 200th wine dinner called for a celebration on a larger scale and thought why not do a dinner for the 200? Normally our wine dinners see an attendance of between 40 to 60 members and knowing how much they appreciate the pre-plated sit down model of our wine dinners, we had to persevere with the same for the big occasion- the high numbers notwithstanding.

As anyone in the food business will tell you, serving a pre-plated 5-course meal with accompanying wines is not only a chef’s nightmare but it would also give jitters to the food service manager. So to handle the large numbers, we had to go a top quality hotel who we term a ‘friend of the club’ and based on our past experiences we could be sure about their capability to handle such an event.

The only hotel in Delhi we felt had the wherewithal to handle a sit down fine dining event for over 200 people was the Hyatt Regency – a staunch supporter of the Delhi Wine Club over the years . After doing the ‘due diligence’ the hotel agreed to even partner the event. Once that was decided, the next issue was that of balancing the books in such a way that prices to be paid by our members didn’t go sky high - Subhash had in mind to get the top quality wines even if they were to be air-freighted. That’s when - for only the second time in our history - we agreed to work with a sponsor compatible with our stature and image - Rolex -  through Ethos Summit watch company which sells over 50 luxury brands throughout India. Another first was the release of corporate tables so as to expose a bit of well-heeled corporate India to the world of wine through our members.

Click For Large ViewThe planning for this evening commenced some six months ago, especially on the wine front where Subhash leveraged his worldwide connections to orchestrate 2 Champagne aperitifs, a Pink Port cocktail and 7 high quality wines to arrive well in time for the evening . On the food front the issues were also complex, given the fact that with an enthusiastic response from our members and quick take up of the corporate tables, we were suddenly looking at acceptances of over 280 against our estimate of 200 – making this possibly the largest sit down wine dinner held in India.

However, neither the Executive Chef Dirk Holscher nor the acting F&B Director Somnath Dey were to be cowed down by these large numbers. According to Chef Dirk the success of the evening, given the large numbers, would depend on limiting the number of choices available to a guest for a particular course. Even though we had 7 wines for the sit-down section, we decided to go for the 7-course meal with a choice available only on 3 courses – this would minimize, to whatever extent, any possible potential chaos in the kitchen.

The knottiest problem was that with a lack of a suitable red meat option given Indian religious sentiments and poor quality of local lamb/tenderloin options, what would we serve to accompany the high quality reds on the line-up? Ultimately, though that was not the ideal choice, we went for a chicken option but with an interesting twist devised by Executive Chef Dirk as we found out during the evening.

Click For Large ViewThat Mr Federico Castellucci, Director General of the Paris-based International Organisation of Vines and Wines instantly accepted the invitation by Subhash to attend the dinner was proof enough of the respect he and the Club command internationally and nationally. The Foreign Secretary, Mr Ranjan Mathai, Secretary MOFPI, Mr Rakesh Kaicker, Ambassadors of Italy, France and Georgia, were some of the key personalities who came for the dinner. Wine producers like Rajeev Samant of Sula and Abhay Kewadkar of Four Seasons Wines came from Mumbai and Bangalore for the evening too, taking the profile of the guests to an even higher level.

After a long wait (I had early- birded on the 28th of May !!) , the 21st of September finally rolled by and 8pm onwards there was a steady stream of arrivals into the pre-function Banquet area at the Hyatt . With a short break to register themselves for the Rolex lucky draws, guests had the choice of two Drappier Champagnes - the Brut Carte d’or and the Brut Rose - to savour whilst they viewed some of the international range of Rolex watches on display. In addition,  Pink Cadillac – a Port based cocktail christened as such by an enthusiastic Subhash - was also on offer along with some excellent finger food spearheaded literally by Parma ham-wrapped asparagus rolls.

Just a shade before 9 pm, the doors of the main Banquet hall were opened and guests were requested to take their seats at their pre-assigned tables, the layout of which had been displayed. As one entered, the eyes took in a sea of pristine white tables shimmering with glassware and cutlery and it was hard not to be impressed by the layout the Hyatt had provided. A menu booklet with the food courses and accompanying wines was close at hand and for the first time we had tasting notes for each of the wines side by side for easy reference. Click For Large ViewSubhash was able to coax our new member Joachim Lafaure not only to prepare the tasting notes but also help him in the wine service for the evening - a tough job as he does not like wine to be wasted in the glass.

Slides of our past 199 wine dinners, prepared by our enthusiastic honorary photographer Adil Arora,  were being projected on a three panel screen as a background as Subhash Arora took the stage and gave his introductory remarks for the evening whilst we nibbled on the excellent crusty sourdough with lashings of herb butter. In my opinion, Hyatt makes the best sourdough bread in town and I did see a number of guests asking for extras. I enjoyed the pairing of the Joseph Drouhin Chablis Reserve 2010 with the sourdough bread – the crustiness of the bread matched well with the citrus fruitiness of the Chablis.

Next up on the dais with his welcoming remarks was the Foreign Secretary, Mr Ranjan Mathai, our Guest of Honour. He had prepared  a written speech but seeing the mood of bonhomie, he kept his sentiments informal – he seemed to have quickly moulded himself to the atmosphere – maybe he could see the lines of waiters armed with the first course waiting for the signal to commence serving. The grilled Mediterranean vegetable terrine was a visual delight and provided a burst of flavours in the mouth when coupled with the basil mascarpone reduction.

To go with the next course of capelotti, we had the Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010, of which the owner Bruce Cakebread had specially air-freighted 36 bottles to India for this very dinner. The wine had travelled well and retained its citrus bouquet and lush fruitiness on the palate the way the wine maker intended. I had opted for the soft and succulent seafood capelotti with a rich and creamy shrimp bisque sauce - this was just delicious. There were two vegetarians on my table and both of them raved about the delicate taste of the truffle mashed potatoes which accompanied the mushroom and mascarpone capelotti.

Click For Large ViewA lot of members did look a little surprised when they were served a Georgian Red wine next, but this soon turned to serious appreciation once they tasted the Tbilvino Saperavi 2010 and the Askaneli Mukuzani 2005.Unfortunately, due to supply constraints, we had to split the wines between the two halves of the Banquet room. I thought the Tbilvino was a spicy and rich wine with overtones of cherries with a hint of vanilla lurking in the background of a long finish–definitely a high quality wine and I’m not saying it just because the Georgian Ambassador Mr. Zurab Katchkatchishvili was also present at the dinner with his wife.

A cleansing of the palate with a strawberry sorbet and we were ready for the Valdivieso Caballo Loco No. 13 - which was introduced by the wine producer’s representatives Christian Sotomayor and winemaker Brett Jackson, who had flown in from Chile especially for the dinner. Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 was the second red wine matched with the main course. Both the reds were of unimpeachable character and to my utter surprise paired admirably with the Chicken breast with a smoked pistachio stuffing. If I hadn’t been party to the food tastings prior to the dinner, I could have sworn there was a definite bacon flavour to the chicken - that’s the skill Chef Dirk brought to the table so much so that one didn’t even notice the absence of a red meat!

By the time the founder members of the Club had been called to the stage for the cake cutting, platters of cheese were placed on the tables to go with the Torres Mas la Plana 2008 – an elegant 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Penedes region of Spain – a wine with good structure and a medium finish.

Click For Large ViewThe parade of wines for the evening was brought to its conclusion with the superlative Torres Moscatel Oro Floralis – an amber coloured fortified wine with a floral bouquet and a mix of honey and fruit on the palate. The dessert, consisting of a yummy vanilla cheese cake on a bed of butter crumble accompanied with passion fruit ice cream, was really the perfect match for the Moscatel.

To wind up proceedings for the evening, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Ranjan Mathai, said a few words before awarding the Rolex lucky draw winners their prizes and Sourish Bhattacharya, our Club vice president proposed a heartfelt vote of thanks to Subhash for all the fantastic work he had done to place the Delhi Wine Club on such a high pedestal.

I am sure this wine dinner must have been the talk of the town during the weekend social spin of parities that is the hallmark of Delhi’s social life. To have successfully hosted what I would term as possibly the largest sit down wine dinner in India (245 all told) would not have been possible without the stellar support of all members of the Hyatt team. The hours of planning, preparation and training paid handsome dividends in terms of flawless execution. This outstanding performance simply reaffirms our belief in the Hyatt having a top notch F&B and Banqueting team. Kudos to Somnath Dey, F&B manager and Bhanu Gupta , Banquets Manager who worked in tandem with Executive Chef Dirk Holscher  to orchestrate a truly scintillating performance. Salud!!

Arun Batra

Arun Batra is a Delhi based food and wine enthusiast and a long time member of the Delhi Wine Club.

IWA Gallery         DWC Gallery



Christian Sotomayor Says:

Dear Subhash, Finally arrived back home after wonderful business trip including India. Just a few words to thank you and your team for such delightful night at the Hyatt, for the DELWINE Anniversary. Dinner and wines were superb, as well as the company.I believe, we wine producers of the world owe you and the wine club a great deal for such great job in ND. Many thanks again and I remain at your disposal. Saludos, Christian Sotomayor Valdivieso ASIA & ROW

Posted @ October 04, 2012 15:00


Sumit Sehgal Says:

Subhash- Excellent event! You are doing a wonderful job in creating awareness about quality wines in India. Keep going like this...

Posted @ September 29, 2012 12:40


Silvia Costantini Says:

Caro Subhash, ancora mille ringraziamenti per la magnifica serata ieri. E complimenti speciali a te: sei un vero Ambasciatore del vino e della grande qualità di vita che lo circonda. A presto, Silvia

Posted @ September 28, 2012 16:32


Kumar Shobhan Says:

Great article and congratulations on 200th dinner and 10th anniversary. Many more to come.

Posted @ September 28, 2012 15:14


Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks Pramod. Missed you here. Nashik was an official function. Ours was a purely wine connoisseurs' event with 250 guests enjoying a fine dining experience with 10 super premium wines. But I am glad you were able to meet Mr Castellucci who had come specially for the dinner to be a part of the celebration. Subhash

Posted @ September 28, 2012 14:58


Pramod Krishna Says:

Well done Subhash ! Congratulations. I missed the event but attended the one at Nashik , the next day at Sula Vineyards. Pramod Krishna

Posted @ September 28, 2012 14:40


Ravi Khanna Says:

Congrats. Lovely evening. Thanks. For all efforts made. Look after your health. Back to Golf Course more often and relax. Cheers,

Posted @ September 28, 2012 11:55


(Mrs.) Vinod Kotwal Says:

Dear Subhashji, I learnt from Kacker Sir, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries that the dinner part yesterday was a rocking affair and there was a huge gathering. Congratulations for the same. Regards, (Mrs.) Vinod Kotwal

Posted @ September 27, 2012 17:50


Marc Perelló Colomer - MPO Says:

Dear Subhash, Back in Barcelona, let me congratulate to you for the excellent venue you hosted on Friday. It was superb! All the best and you can be proud of yourself! With my best regards.Marc. PS: Pity is I wasn't the winner of the Rolex watch, anyway will keep trying!

Posted @ September 27, 2012 17:35


Dipti Chopra Says:

Thank you for a wonderful evening. Big kudo for you for single handed doing so much for the club

Posted @ September 27, 2012 16:50


Suprio Says:

Suprio: congrats on pulling off such a grand event. heard it was a roaring success

Posted @ September 27, 2012 16:15


Rajeev Samant Says:

Subhash – it was a real pleasure. What a great job you've done. The food and wine service was impeccable. See you soon! Rajeev Rajeev Samant CEO - Sula Vineyards

Posted @ September 27, 2012 14:00


Fred and Carmen Hernandez Says:

GREETINGS- It is so wonderful to hear from you. We have such fond memories of the Delhi Wine Club and all the people we met while involved with the group. We are back in Miami but working on international projects for Brasil and Singapore. We miss India and hope to visit in the near future. Please accept our sincere congratulations on this great milestone. You should be very proud of all the progress. Best regards to the entire group. Fred and Carmen Hernandez

Posted @ September 27, 2012 11:42


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet