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Delhi Wine Club
IFDE: Food Show with Wines Too

Posted: Tuesday, 07 December 2010 10:30

IFDE: Food Show with Wines Too

The second edition of the International Food and Drinks Expo which debuted last year with the promise of a big show and a bigger one this year concluded last Saturday, but the size and participation and the visible number of visitors may not validate claims though the exhibitors of food, especially olive oil seemed to dominate, writes Subhash Arora.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Total Indian winery participation at the Show
The world recession seems to be still affecting the sentiments and wine producers appear to have been obliged to stay away due to financial constraints. This was apparent by the reduced exhibition space at this edition, although SUSTA was present in full swing and the French made a brave face by participating through Sopexa and France Bon Appétit on a common platform. Unlike last year, South Africa seemed quite active-though more with vegetarian food and juices than wine.

A significant amount of space was hogged by the Ministry of Food Processing Industry which did not offer much except propaganda displays and blowing its trumpet. Since the Show was in association with the MFPI, one assumes that the ministry managed to get the space at highly subsidised rates. But it could still have been better utilized to project their constituents-especially those who might have enjoyed the subsidy of Rs. 5 million granted for starting new projects in the food processing industry.

The Indian wine industry seems to be consolidating at the moment since only Sula ( in no mood or need to slow down) and the new Haryanvi Luca were holding hands in a bare area within the MFPI stand, displaying wines with the metaphorical- ‘touch but cannot taste’ stance. Last year the excise department had disallowed even the display of Indian wines registered in Delhi; it seemed to have a change of heart for this edition and allowed the display-even though the stand was complimentary for the participants, according to the manning staff. 

It was unfortunate to see Indian wines not available for tasting at the stand for whatever reason, when one could taste freely the foreign wines! This, when one could not only taste and drink wines openly to one’s heart content at both the wine festivals held in Mumbai last month but could buy them at discounts- also a practice in Bangalore.

Making their token presence were Spain, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Italy. Of course the usual sommelier competition held by Magandeep, guided wine tastings and wine appreciation sessions were there in the Taste area. SUSTA demo of the food from the Southern US states, prepared by Chef Nishant Doubay, seemed to be the most popular programme with an overflowing house.

Blowing its golden trumpet-MFPI
The lukewarm response by wine exhibitors and professionals may not bode well for the future of the wine shows- at least in the near future. One of the show organisers, a veteran of many such shows, told delWine that the main problem was that the producers exhibited with the sole objective of locating new importers. Since the established importers are few and far between, there presence is rather sparse. It may be a fair ground to gain free experience for the junior staff but the decision makers tend to stay away. The next generation of importers has still been unable to negotiate the bumpy roads and prove their sustainability and seriousness, the difficult market notwithstanding. Consumers are neither allowed nor welcome by the foreign producers at such shows.

One of the two Italian wine exhibitors, seething with anger and disappointment with the absence of potential importers -blamed the bad location of their stand, a common complaint. But the very next stand taken by a couple of Chilean wineries collected a bagful of visiting cards and was hopeful of finding the right importer. Nestor Riveros, head of ProChile which had a small stand at a separate area was optimistic and confirmed that next year they would be taking a 4-sided pavilion of substantial size which would house a multiple number of wineries and would be very visible.

Not everyone was looking for importers though. The €700m-plus French family-owned wine company Les Grand Chais de France, whose founder Joseph Helfrich I had the privilege of interviewing 3 months ago in Alsace, already has 3 distributors-highest by any foreign company, in India for their value-for- money labels (Calvet-Global, J P Chenet-SV Distributors and Alexis Lichine- Hema) being showcased. They were here looking for more marketing action in the Indian market, according to their Export Director for the region, Bill Fisher.

One can only hope that during the coming years the number of importers would increase, giving these exhibitors more opportunity to present their wines in the market. Unless the customs and excise duties decrease, the explosion of the kind that has taken place in Hong Kong (there are reportedly over 500 importers in the small Special Administrative Region of China) seems unlikely in the short term. This spells bad news for the expansion of the imported wine sector- especially the premium wines.

Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

Sidd, as I said this was the second edition of IFDE which was held in Pragati Maidan, the official venue for a majority of major shows in different sectors. It could be termed as a sequel to a Bollywood movie except it should be called Lollywood; the script and direction have been from London.

A London-based company, Montgomery International brought in a food and wine show called IFE to the same venue about 6-7 years ago as a JV with an Indian company. Just as the Show reached a profit-making stage the partners had a falling out in 2009. As a part of the settlement, they agreed not to use the IFE name for 2 years- 2009 and 2010.

Another London company in the similar business-Taurus, apparently knew about  the agreement and immediately booked the space booked by IFE, for a new show with a similar name-IFDE, in December 2009. The Project Director of IFDE was previously doing the same job for IFE. Interestingly, another previous Director of IFE is now managing Taste, a similar Show but being held in Mumbai in January.

With the 2-year period over, it would be interesting to see what happens next and like the a Harry Potter series, we await the sequel. In the meantime, damage has been seemingly done by killing the golden goose that was IFE-recession has been no help either. For a related earlier article, read IFDE Show Marred by Recession, Confusion and Legal Disputes. Stay tuned for further developments to delWine-where we report news as it develops. Subhash Arora

Posted @ December 08, 2010 11:06


Gaurav Anand Says:

Dear Mr. Arora, I agree about your comments with respect to wine at the show. Even being optimistic/charitable - it is hard to consider the wine part of the exhibition a success. I don't see importers (decision makers) coming in to the exhibition to look for suppliers (wineries) unless the number of exhibitors increases to more than a handful. And I don't see the exhibitors (wineries) coming in till the attractiveness of the market improves. So, frankly I'm not too optimistic that the picture for this exhibition will change next year. The foreign suppliers (wineries) are better off going to Vinexpo Hong Kong or similar shows overseas - where Indian importers are more likely to visit in search of suppliers. As for Indian wines, I visited the 'Indian Grape Processing Board' booth out of genuine curiousity to see what information I could gather about their activities. It was completely empty (no displays, brochures or information of any kind) - except for two guys sitting there and enjoying their non-veg thali! I decided not to interrupt their meal and walked on. You point out rightly that they probably got their booth for free and lacked the enthusiasm to do anything worthwhile with it. Gaurav

Posted @ December 08, 2010 10:10


Siddd Banerji Says:

IFDE venue? Was it in Delhi? Did I miss in my hurried search? Greetings, again for another newsletter with information and knowledge,reports and briefs.Yours in the wine world,sidd banerji

Posted @ December 08, 2010 10:01


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