Oct 18: I have been associated with the IWBS team since I started taking toddler steps towards studying Wine (WSET) at Wi-Not, although, it doesn't conduct WSET courses on wine anymore. It was fascinating to know from Gagan Sharma that this newly launched course on wine is specially curated, understanding the Indian sensibility and palate for wines with the availability of wine in the Indian market, along with other specialized courses in spirits and beers, writes Sheetal Kadam who is quite peppy about the recently conducted Young Sommelier Olympiad (YSO)
Gagan Sharma, is a Certified Sommelier and Mixologist, Wine Educator, Travel Writer and a Wine Judge. Earlier, Gagan worked as an associate with IWBS but with the recent development he is the Managing Director of IWBS. He shows keen interest in mountaineering, paragliding and writing for tippletravel.com, as a pastime.
Magandeep Singh is India’s first French Qualified and Sommelier, professional Wine Taster, Wine Educator and, the founder of India's first-ever accredited Wine and Beverage School ‘Institute of Wine + Beverage Studies’ (IWBS). Invariably, he writes columns in several other national newspapers and magazines, on Wine, Food, travel, and lifestyle.
Gagan and Magandeep now jointly run IWBS (Institute of Wine + Beverage Studies), India’s premier beverage learning centre, both have a bunched-up experience of over three decades in the field of fine beverages. As revealed by Gagan in an interview, the duo comes up with multi-dimensional activities for the aspirants, such as online courses on Wine and Spirits, Indian Sommelier Championship (ISC), Young Sommelier Olympiad (YSO) that took place recently, 52 weeks 52 wines a (virtual Series on Wine), and winery visits in India.
India's first Online Certificate Course is dedicated to Wine, entirely for 7.5 hours with 15 videos, covering almost every aspect of Wine, fostered with voluminous study material to refer. I was amazed to see the panoramic insights of the content, with the login id, kindly shared by Gagan.
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This online course on Wine is at par with some of the best International Courses on Wine. Above all what I liked is the special attention given to Indian Wine. You’ll find a separate chapter on Indian Wine in this course. Also, I must appreciate their efforts of excavating in ancient Indian history to bring out the facts of the origin of Wine in India, including, the establishment of Indian wineries, glimpses of Indian terroir, successfully adapted international grape varietals in India, Indian wine styles and the taxation policies for wine in India.
Learning about wines wasn’t easy until now, but now one can learn Wine thoroughly with this online course introduced by IWBS. One can learn right from the meaning of Wine to making of wine, the different styles of wine, Climate influence in the making of wine, tasting the wine, identifying the grape varieties in the blind tasting, Storing the wine and serving wine like a pro, also choosing the right glassware for each one of them, reading the labels on the bottles of wine, science behind food and wine pairing, pronunciations of Wine the way French and Italians do. Indeed, one can earn the certificate of course completion, and brag about it, but more importantly, the knowledge about the wine one gain’s in this online course is much more rewarding. The participant gets unlimited access for 90 days after registration to the online content with unlimited validity, backed with the downloadable study material for a lifetime.
This self-contained online course is made so very interesting with the two speakers Gagan and Magan as they share their views in a relay. Hence one doesn't find it monotonous and boring, unlike some of the online courses having nicely animated videos but the speaker keeps speaking non-stop, just like a talking Tom.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a sommelier or wine expert as yet, all that you need is the urge to know about the wines. This online course will train the participant to handle confidently or understand any label of Wine that he/she comes across. The duo is quite reachable to help their participants even after the completion of the course.
Also, by participating in this online course, one gets entitled to be a part of the IWBS family and gets to know the updates on their activities as they plan. One such activity recently conducted on 30th August 2020, was Young Sommelier Olympiad (YSO) 2020. This beverage quiz competition was a rocking event that took place virtually, nothing more happening than this to uplift the participant’s aspirations during the pandemic, as the majority of them are from the hotel industry.
The Indian Sommelier Championship (ISC) teammates organised the YSO 2020. India's definitive and most authoritative beverage competition is in the 13th consecutive year. The ISC aims to identify and recognise young talent in the Indian Alcobev industry. The ISC team considers the YSO like the younger sibling, they take pride in grooming candidates who are yet to join the industry with a mandatory age limit of 21 years or younger. The format is the same as ISC, but there are no tastings involved with the online masterclasses, due to the occurrence of the pandemic. The three days of masterclasses covered a range of topics from beer to gin, mead to tonic water and even tea, hosted by brand leaders or industry stalwarts who made the time to explain the intricacies of their respective fields to these students.
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The syllabus for the quiz looked simple, but it wasn't; indeed, it was vaguely vast. The basics of hotel management, F&B syllabus and the content covered in the masterclasses was the base for all the quizzes, with 50 students to one quiz, 12 such quizzes were conducted over two days, jointly hosted by the ISC winners of the past. The top 37 selected scorers went into the finals based on a minimum cut-off. On 30 August 2020 the final round was hosted, about an hour later the results were self-announced. The top 8 received a host of prizes including cash prizes, trips to facilities, IWBS scholarships, an annual subscription to Sommelier India magazine and confirmed entry ticket to the next ISC with personal mentoring by the previous champions of the competition.
The Finalists for YOS were Shiva Sarjuprasad Chaurasiya Winner Anjuman-I-Islam Prizes - INR 25,000. Jordan Mascarenhas 1st Runner – Up Don Bosco Hospitality Prizes - INR 15,000. Nikhil Bhusal 2nd Runner – Up IIHM Bangalore Prizes - INR 15,000. Shubhankar Dodwad 4th position Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts. Pallabi Chatterjee 5th Position IHM Kolkata. Manas Patil 6th Position IHM Mumbai. Shivani Pandey 7th Position IHM Shimla. Dhruv Rastogi 8th Position Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management. All the finalists won a scholarship from IWBS India, a free seat to Indian Sommelier Championship-2021 and a subscription of Sommelier India Wine Magazine Hamper.
Master Classes were conducted by Magandeep Singh, Gagan Sharma, Sahil Misra and various other industry fraternity such as Nitin Vishwas (Moonshine Meadery), Shantanu Upadhyay (Kati Patang), Thomas William Hartman (BIRA91), Devati Basumallick (KRSMA Estate), Alessio Secci (Fratelli Vineyards), Shailendra Pai, Aditi Pai, Sanket Gawand (Vallonne Vineyards), Anand Virmani (Greater Than & Hapusa Gins), Charnelle Martins (Stranger & Sons Gin), Jeet Rana Sepoy & Angad Soni (Tonic Waters), Priyanka Save (Fruzzante) and Geetanjali Joshi (TWG India).
Mumbai-based Sheetal Kadam is a graduate in Agriculture with an MBA in International Business. She is also a Certified Level 3 in WSET and a Certified Cultore by Alfiere Italico- Wine, a certified wine course designed and organised internationally by Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) outside Italy, in Mumbai. She has worked with Indian wine producers in marketing in Pune for a year. She was part of the delegation organised by IICCI as a member of Italics Wine Club- Mumbai Chapter.