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Delhi Wine Club
Francois Richier: Ambassador of French Wines

Posted: Monday, 05 December 2011 11:14

Francois Richier: Ambassador of French Wines

Dec 05 : H.E. Francois Richier, the new French Ambassador to India is also a wine connoisseur who appears to be very keen to promote French wines in India among his many missions, writes Subhash Arora who was one of the invitees at a dinner at his residence to present 10 wines from six producers from Chateauneuf-du Pape who are in Delhi to participate at the 3-day Fine Food India 2011 starting at Pragati Maidan from today.

H.E.Mr. Francois Richier
Only 8 weeks into his current assignment-he actually got his credentials only on November 1, he is already immersed into the diplomatic work, especially as November and December are the busiest months normally at the embassy. But he enjoys his wines like the rest of us (the previous ambassador did not drink wine-just as his President Nicolas Sarkozy). The Ambassador had to receive some MPs (perhaps the Most important Persons these days ) but he took time out to receive the guests from Delhi and the producers and sat very relaxed through an excellent wine dinner dished handled superbly  by his staff before rushing off).

Ambassador Richier must be used to multi-tasking and handling back-to-back appointments. A career foreign service diplomat he was picked up by the President when he took over, and given the assignment of handling internal security-a job that kept him on his toes all the time, he says.

He admitted that he would give higher priority to selling nuclear power plants in India but would actively like to promote wines as well. He was very enthusiastic that the undergoing talks between Indian and the EU (the next round is scheduled for February, 2011) and he is quite enthusiastic about the treaty to be signed at that time making French and all other imported EU wines to become cheaper and more affordable.

One of the current projects he is handling is the officials of Louvre in Paris soon to visit India. ‘They already have some working relationship with New York, St, Petersburg and London but nothing at all with India. We would like to see some common grounds for working together,’ he says while emphasizing that there is no specific agenda for the current trip except to meet a lot of people and see if any co-operation can be achieved in the areas of exhibitions, museology, restoration etc. 

Working directly with the President has made him ready and willing for 24*7 type of activities. ‘I find the people here very warm and friendly and that makes my job enjoyable and easier,’ he says.  With 2 small glasses of white Chateauneuf-du-Pope made from Roussillon, Grenache Blanc etc and a few excellent reds using upto 13 grape varietals used,  I took the liberty of asking him if working under the President  made him important enough to be a part of the Assange wiki-leaks. He grins from ear-to ear and says that he has been actually a victim and a Google search would take you through a few such connections.

Cutting through the diplomatic protocol I asked him in a lighter vein if his President was a happy man with the new baby that his wife Carla Bruno has given him, making him busier than ever. “He is much rejuvenated after the baby was born. He is 55 years old and he has to work even harder now and he knows it,’ he says, ‘especially with the current EU crisis.

Click For Large View
There was much bonhomie as he let his guard down and one departed with a feeling that he would be a welcome friend in the world of wine and one could count on several wine events see his active support during his current assignment in Delhi.

The 6 producers in the group are Domaine du Pére Caboche, Domaine La Mereuille, Domaine de Nalys, Chateau la Nerth, Domaine de la Charbonniére and Domain Durieu. Accompanying them is Michel Blanc, Director of the Fédération des Syndicats de Producteurs- the Association of the producers from CNDP. One may taste their delicious wines-for-food at Hall 14 Booth 22 D from 5-7 December, 2011.

Subhash Arora  



Bernard de Laage Says:

Dear Subhash, I am very glad to read your article on the reception at the French Embassy and even more about the passion for wine that our new Ambassador in your country has shown!!
Just back from India where I unfortunately missed you, I found that the market for fine wines is still there, ready to develop, but blocked by many restrictions, and among them the level of the duties and taxes.  Reading your article, it came to my mind that I will suggest and offer our Ambassador to hold a Chateau Palmer dinner at his residence next time I come to India.
Congratulations again for your excellent newsletter
With my best regards

Bernard de Laage
Chateau Palmer

Posted @ December 06, 2011 10:59


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