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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, 17 June 2010 18:13

Freixenet Features in Bollywood Blockbuster

Though this is not the first time that a wine is being shown  poured in a Bollywood movie,  the recent release of the blockbuster ‘Raajneeti’ may be a trend setter with the popular Spanish Cava Freixenet served as Champagne in a shot in the movie, which should help a notch in the promotion of wine- the Spanish bubbly, Champagne, the Indian fizzy or other  wines, opines Subhash Arora.

The multi-starrer has Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role. About 30 minutes into the movie, both of them come to a restaurant, possibly shot in the Jehan-Numa Palace Hotel in Bhopal where most of the movie has been shot. She orders a bottle of Champagne and when it is popped, she proposes to him-and he declines. But getting back to our own protagonist, Freixenet Cava, will suffice as Champagne, thank you.

Cava is the sparkling wine made in many parts of Spain, designated as DO Cava, the most of which coming from a small town called Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, about 40 kms from Barcelona. Several sparkling wines like Freixenet are produced here-mostly using the indigenous grapes Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello- sometimes Chardonnay too, using the traditional Champagne making method of double fermentation-like the one being used by Indage and Sula in India (however, in Maharashtra they use either Chenin Blanc, Ugni Blanc or Thomson Seedless eating grapes-the procedure of second fermentation in the bottle is the same).

As the wine consumption goes up in India, it will come naturally to the Indian film producers to use wine as the prop for heroes and heroines; it is chic and increasing number of youngsters and reportedly the movie stars are already having an affair with wine. But it would be equally useful for the industry growth if more stars are shown sipping wine (we are all aware of the ban on smoking in the movies because of the impression it leaves on the viewers); one hopes that the film directors are knowledgeable and sensitive enough to show the wine being at the center of romance or the dining table or at a café in Europe with the hero never drunk, wobbly or incoherent. For drowing sorrows, whisky would still remain to be the best bet- where as wine is a fun, laughter, romance and of course a drink for the taste buds… and the nose!

The interesting part is that apparently it has not been used as a promotional product; the film producers have not charged any money from the wine producer or the importer Global Tax Free Traders. Mukul Mehra, owner of the Delhi based import firm is happy that the Spanish bubbly he has been marketing for years, making it the number one selling cava in the country, was used in the film when they could have used any number of Champagnes. It may be possible that the hotel charged them for the drink and so selected the drink instead or maybe the name fascinated them.

When delWine asked Mehra, if he thought it would help his sales of Freixenet- the most popular cava brand in the USA, he said, ‘it is too early to speculate, but one hopes it will help increase the consumption of all sparkling wines or even Champagne.’ It is an accepted fact that most Indians like the fizz and flavour in Marquis de Pompadour (Indage) and Sula Brut- a few more brands have also been seen sparring recently and
more are in the process of second fermentation.

DelWine has always exhorted producers like Indage, Sula and Grover to have their wines, vineyards or wineries featured in the movies-even if it means the hero chasing his heroine in vineyards. Sula’s Tasting Room would be an ideal set for many a romantic scene or frivolous parties and the wedding banquets. In fact, about a year ago, Sula was also featured in a movie. Hopefully, Vijay Mallya will use his love for wine to get a few heroines to suggest to the directors-it is not difficult to have the scrip carry a visit through the vineyard, or a harvest romance, or the rich industrialist daughter falling in love with the viticulturist. In any of these cases the beneficiary could be wine-generically or typically for the wine producer.

In this case, Global Tax Free, other importers or the Indian wine producers may be the direct beneficiaries of the movie Raajneeti, though in a small way. But as Astronaut Neil Armstrong said, on reaching the moon in July 1969, ‘That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’- it might certainly be true also for the Indian wine market.

Subhash Arora


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