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MWTF: A Taste of Wine for Mumbaikars

Posted: Thursday, 10 January 2013 13:40

MWTF: A Taste of Wine for Mumbaikars

Jan 10: Wine lovers of Mumbai enjoyed two great evenings last week-end with over 60 Indian and imported wines available to taste and carry home at discounted prices, with the 4th edition of the Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival organised on January 5 and 6 in Colaba recording attendance of around 2500 people over the weekend, writes Subhash Arora who was invited to inaugurate the event.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Click For Large ViewFar from the maddening crowds of Mumbai, the Pier outside the Radio Club in Apollo Bunder, Colaba offers a beautiful site with the Arabian Sea as the backdrop and the beautiful Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel in close proximity. This is a great venue offered by the Radio Club for events like marriages etc. Once every year, it comes alive with people walking around with a wine glass hanging from their necks, visiting different stalls set up by the Indian producers and a few importers who don’t mind standing for 8 hours in the afternoon and evening on 2 consecutive days, talking to their customers, new entrants to the world of wine and the potential clients.

The Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival organised on January 5-6 saw over 2500 people visiting and enjoying wines from Vintage Wines (Reveilo), Fratelli, Grover-Zampa, Nine Hills, Turning Point and Pause. Smaller wineries like Eagle, Renaissance, Vin and Vouloir etc. showcased their wines under the banner of All India Wine Producers Association.

Connoisseurs of imported wines were busy tasting wines and comparing notes at the stalls set up by the Wine Park, Pernod Ricard, Ixora, Gusto, Tabuni Wines - an importer of Georgian wines, a big hit with the revelers who discovered a new source of unique foreign wines at affordable prices.

The Mumbai based Wine Park had wines from Australia, Italy, France, South Africa and USA.  Other participants Ixora, Gusto and Tbilvino had varieties from different countries including Georgia.

Bad Boy of Wine Park on the Kart

Click For Large ViewWine Park, the importer of wines from boutique wineries, was the center stage for a majority of the visitors, with wines from Australia, Italy, France, South Africa and USA. Helping Vishal Kadakia attract crowds was the set of quirky labels that his wines had on his bottles as a theme. He launched the Bad Boy, a 100% Merlot retailing at Rs.4500, from one of the great producers in St. Emilion, Jean Luc Thunevin. The Little James Basket Press from Saint Cosme in Rhone Valley was also very popular.

Vishal also launched an online web portal at the Show. Probably a take-off from the popular online stores, this unique store on the web offers a look at all the wines in his portfolio with details and discounts on several bottles, cases and mixes. The ease in operations will surely make it a popular site in times to come, especially for the Mumbaikars.

Click For Large ViewThe festival offered an excellent opportunity for sommeliers and other professionals and novices alike to interact with the producers and importers besides tasting wines. Also available were cheeses, gourmet food and a lot of music and entertainment to add to the ambience with a beautiful view of the ocean in the background, accentuated by the magnificent Gateway of India and the harbor on the side. Salsa dances and the free lessons were a bit hit with many. Click For Large ViewAlthough the festival was open only to adults over 21 years of age due to the excise laws, the Nine Hills grape stomping event saw a few kids ( the 'laptop babies' as the Festival Director Pratap Arora explained) take to the traditional wooden tub and inaugurate the ritual.

A special but regular feature of this event gave an opportunity to buy wines at discounts ranging from 10-20%.

Besides Indian Wine Academy (IWA) and Terroir One (Mumbai Chapter of the Delhi Wine Club), both wine bodies Indian Grape Processing Board (IGPB) and the All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) supported the event. IWA has been an ardent supporter of this festival and any wine festivals of this nature and appreciates this venture as others that are held in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bangalore, and even Gauhati where wine making is banned but fruit wines are still being allowed as mom or pop style ventures. Nagpur Wine Lovers Club is organising a similar festival slated to be the first one in Central India and the efforts of the founder President Sharad Phadnis are commendable.

Mumbai Wine Fest has established its credibility but it needs to take it forward and organise similar ones in Mumbai suburbs from where several new wine drinkers are expected to join the world of wines. Mumbai has a geographic divide between the South and the North due to the massive traffic problems. People from the suburbs would hardly be expected to come and buy tickets for Rs.500 to attend the festival. They would find it worth their while and the money spent to come to a similar one in Bandra or near-about.

Click For Large ViewThe launches need to be given a special focus. Even by offering a nominal extra charge, the Fest should offer an opportunity for wine producers and importers to launch their wares at a proper platform. Not many would have noticed that Vintage Wines introduced their Merlot at this festival. Turning Point launched their affordable range of JLT (Just Like That) costing Rs. 400 a bottle (wine at ninety-nine says Ashwin Deo about the wine-by-the-glass programme he is promoting for young entrants at various restaurants) but without any pomp or show. Though there was a huge demand for Bad Boy (perhaps the most popular label at the Fest) people did not know that this was a launch.

One hopes that more festivals like this will spring up. The key to success is of course the sponsorship. If it weren’t for the display of a Ferrari and a Mercedes, the organisers would have perhaps lost some money even in the 4th year. But it does offer a good business model for those in other cities with a passion for wine.

Subhash Arora

Tags: MWTF, Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival, Radio Club Apollo Bunder, The Wine Park, Vintage Wines, Reveilo, Indian Wine Academy, Terroir One, Fratelli, Grover-Zampa, Nine Hills, Pernod Ricard, Turning PointIxora, Gusto, Tabuni Wines, Georgian wines, Tbilvino, Indian Grape Processing Board, IGPB, All India Wine Producers Association, AIWPA, Bad Boy, Little James Basket Press, the, Vishal Kadakia, Ashwin Deo.



Kartik Sharma Says:

Wonderful article ! Truly depicting the spirit of the Mumbai wine festival for peeps who weren't able to make it ! And Thank you once again Mr. Subhash Arora for your appreciation and kind words for the Georgian wines ! It means a lot to us ! Gamajos..

Posted @ January 15, 2013 11:34


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