Nov 26: The first edition of the wine and spirits Show ProWine Mumbai, was organised at The St Regis Mumbai in Lower Parel on 17-18 November with gusto and enthusiasm with people meeting each other after a gap of 2 years because of Covid, writes Subhash Arora who attended the Show and found people feeling unchained and breathing normally, with Covid Protocols in place
The event kick-started ceremoniously with champagne- popping and inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by guests from the US, French and South African Consulates, Australian High Commission, Trade Centre of Argentina, Republic of Mauritius, corporate heads and the industry associations with media partners. It was perhaps the first trade fair in Mumbai for the wine and spirits sector since the COVID pandemic hit India; Mumbai and indeed most of Maharashtra had been badly hit by the pandemic.
ProWine Mumbai featured over 200 brands from 70 companies across 13 countries with about 2,000 attendees. What was most visible was the relief and chirpy look on the faces of most visitors who felt relaxed after tasting wine and various spirits. Although Prowein is primarily a wine show, the ‘Central Court’ of the 8th floor of The Regis Mumbai had been assigned to the Spirits industry while the adjoining banquet room had been converted into the Masterclass venue. The wine producers were shunted in the back Hall which gave the first impression of a step-motherly treatment. But the Hall was buzzing with activity with producers and importers like The Wine Park, Virgin Hills Vineyards, Grover Vineyards and Good Drop Cellars carrying the day with their generous pours and the company of seniors.
The maximum buzz was however seen in the ‘French Pavillion’ where Tastin’ France was organised innovatively by Business France. Thirteen French producers who had showcased their products at the French embassy in Delhi a couple of days earlier had an exclusive space with impressive tasting.
A few producers like Chateau Pesquie, Chateau Juliette, Jeremy Gordon, Vignobles Vellas (with a huge array of labels) and Boissonneau (it was the second visit to India by the owner Nicolas Boissonneau) were present in person while others were connected to the wineries digitally through internet. Vianney Meynier, Bangalore-based Head of French Agrotech Department in India was a constant fixture, helping each visitor-even getting them to talk to the principals in France. ‘This arrangement is quite expensive and at times slow and even the connection drops despite the extra bandwidth we have bought but we are generally satisfied with this arrangement,’ he told delWine. There was a huge variety of quaffable wines at affordable prices for importers to choose from.
ProWine Mumbai is the latest addition to the world-renowned ProWein organised by Messe Düsseldorf by their Indian counterparts and All Things Nice. Visitors ranged from importers, distributors and retailers. As always, the exhibitors whined about the smaller number of hoteliers, and restaurateurs.
What was impressive however, was the presence of smaller producers of gin, vodka, single malts, rum, tequila, craft beverages and beer. The innovative cocktails were artistically curated. There were of course internationally recognised labels of Single Malts like Amrut and Paul John to taste. One could not but notice the liberal supply of Veen, the mineral water in a glass bottle.
Mr. Thomas Schlitt, Managing Director Messe Düsseldorf, India said, “It fills me with joy and gratitude to see this amazing recognition from the industry stakeholders in India for the 1st ProWine Mumbai event. Going from being a ProWein Educational Campaign to a first-ever full-fledged comprehensive trade fair for the Wine & Spirits industry is the reflection of developing the market for the future growth of the industry in India.” He could often be seen on the floor with Surajit Bit, Director Projects & Marketing Communication, sorting out issues when needed.
All-in-all, ProWine Mumbai was a good Show for maiden appearance.
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