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Incredible India Wines in Switzerland

Posted: Tuesday, 09 August 2011 16:20

Incredible India Wines in Switzerland

August 09: Most Indians do not realise that Switzerland too makes high quality wines but neither do the Swiss know about the recent wine industry developments in India. Participation of wines from nine Indian wineries in the ongoing annual Festival in Geneva from August 5-14 will give the Swiss a chance to taste and learn about the Indian wines, thanks to an opportunity that fell into the lap of the Indian Grape Processing Board.

‘Fetes de Geneve’ is the annual Geneva Festival where India has been invited as the Guest of Honour country- ‘Inde-invité d’honneur’, as the invite on their website says in French. ‘Great Mélange-the Incredible India Journey’ campaign of the Indian Tourism and Development Corporation also includes the journey through Maharashtra and Karnataka wine regions, with wines from 9 Indian wineries making the Swiss exclaim ‘Incredible!’, (does India make wine too!) while tasting wines at the Wines of India stand erected by the Indian Grape Processing Board.

The other thing that has been surprising the visitors is that India has been accepted as the 45th member of OIV- the ‘United Nations of Wine’ where only governments can become members and IGPB has been able to get a complete membership in a relatively short time and that too with a unanimous vote. Switzerland of course is not only a member but also has a Swiss, François Murisier, as the Vice President of this prestigious organization.

‘We were approached by the Ministry of Tourism to send Indian wines for the 2500 sq ft Incredible India stand. We approached our winery members and 9 of them agreed to showcase their wines. Sula, Four Seasons, York, Mercury, Vintage Wines, Fratelli Vallone, Zampa, Grover decided to give us the wines that were air-freighted by us to Geneva,’ said a senior official of the IGPB in an interview with delWine yesterday.’ Red, white, Rose and Sparkling wines are all represented through these wineries. A not-so-surprising omission is Indage which till recently was taking part in all such shows.

IGPB is very pleased that the ministry approached them for wines for their specially created village. Barely 2-years old, the Board has understood well that besides making wine laws it is also important to showcase wines to connoisseurs and critics abroad to get a proper and neutral feedback besides creating awareness of the wine production in India. It is fast becoming a focal point for Indian wine promotion and unless there are wheels within wheels trying to spoil the show, it will in all likelihood develop into a result-oriented wing under the tutelage of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

The Indian cricket team does very well at home but fails overseas. Our Ministry of Tourism on the other hand seems to perform much better when pitching on the overseas wicket. It failed miserably when it did not take any steps to promote Indian wines on its own soil during the Commonwealth Games last October and we lost a golden opportunity. One fervently hopes that in all its future foreign forays, the Indian wines will get a due share- not to forget the wine tourism opportunities and the tourist traffic the concept can generate for these wineries and other such centers bound to come up around the vineyards, consequently benefiting Indian tourism.

‘One nice thing about this campaign is that the producers do not have to be present themselves at the stand like in wine shows. We have appointed a sommelier not only to taste wines but also to take enquiries from potential buyers, which will be passed to the respective producers,’ said our source. UK trained, well-qualified sommelier Gurjit S Barry is manning the stand at the Festival which kicked off with an Indian Concert on August 4. It will continue till 14 August, almost in time to unfurl the Indian flag as the Independent India turns 64 on August 15.

After participating in Hong Kong, UK (London) and Germany (Prowein), the Board has moved into the right direction by participating in such shows. Wines of India could become a successful export platform like Wines of Chile, Wines of South Africa and similar bodies in most of the other wine producing countries. It must continue to look for such opportunities where a concentration of opinion makers and wine drinkers and buyers are present.



Juliet Johnson Says:

I never got the chance to taste Indian wines. It would be a great addition to my wine collection. By the way, I'd like to recommend a wine cellar manufacturer which creates really good wine racks. Indian wines deserve to be stored and displayed in an elegant way.

Posted @ August 27, 2011 10:01


Subhash Arora Says:

Dear Suresh, You enjoy the luxury of being anonymous. We dare to be bold and shoot straight. I am publishing your comment even though you did not send clarification I sought from you so you do not feel we take any sides. At least your gmail account is genuine. You remind me of the US space programme when it was launched by JFK. Some Americans objected saying there were so many poor people in the US , who could be fed with the money to be wasted in the space programme. See where the technology developed for the programme has taken the world! Whereas you would like masses to get Padminis and Ambassador cars, I would like to see more people have access to affordable Toyotas,Marutis, Hondas, Opels and Fords-made in India and also exported from here.Can you imagine if Padmini and Ambassador producers got their way with the government? 

We don't get into financial issues like the money they spend for their activities- if you have the info, write an article that you can stand behind and we shall consider publishing it. If I were you, I would press them to help increase the quality of Indian wines and accelerate the formation of wine laws. By the way, did you know it was at their initiative that their minister Sharad Pawar met the Delhi officials and got a couple of minor concessions for the local prodcuers? It takes a decade or more to get direct benefits of such promotional events abroad. They have a Board that includes domestic producers-you should pressurise these members to pursue the cause. I am fully behind you in the domestic promotion-do send us suggestions.

But both efforts can run concurrently. And this was a total wrong case you picked up. The wines were given free-IGPB paid the freight and the Sommelier charges (which I hope is being shared by the wineries), the stall was free from 'Tourism'. You would be amazed how much the Press has already written about it-even abroad. I compliment even the Tourism Ministry because wine and tourism go very well together. There would have been many visitors who would say, 'wow, India produces wine!! I want to go and visit these wineries'. I do thank you for your comments and the issue you have raised is valid. It is for the producers in the Board  to take the necessary measures. Subhash Arora 

Posted @ August 12, 2011 17:20



I would like to make a point to the author - Sorry to say but the IGBP doe not deserve your praise. They are taking the easy way out by spending huge amounts on international fairs, while ACTUAL SALES derived from these are minimal. Not to mention the free/ subsidised foreign trips for all. IGPB has done NOTHING so far to promote Indian Wines DOMESTICALLY. Imagine the spurt in domestic sales if that amount were spent locally. We have a huge local drinking population, a struggling wine industry - but no money spent on promotion. THE PRIORITY IS THE LOCAL MARKET, NOT MAKING SOME IMPRESSION ON FOREIGNERS, which can come later, once we become more mature. But promoting wine locally requires hard work and planning. Will the IGPB take the hard way for a change?

Posted @ August 12, 2011 16:16


Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks Mr. Randhir Patel. But please do not mind if and when I write something I feel is not being right or handled properly in terms of the job being done by IGPB for the wine industry. Subhash Arora

Posted @ August 11, 2011 11:07


Randhirpatel Says:

Thanks Subhasji, You have been very supportive and motivating in our efforts for visibility and creating a Brand India for our wines.Regards, Randhir Patel

Posted @ August 11, 2011 11:03


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