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Wine Retail: Decanter Selection Wine Tasting at Juben Wines Mumbai

Posted: Monday, 08 October 2012 16:27

Wine Retail: Decanter Selection Wine Tasting at Juben Wines Mumbai

October 08: The showcasing of Decanter World Wine Award (DWWA) wines in different venues across the globe, kicked off in Asia with Juben Wines at Juhu in Mumbai selected for tasting in India of 16 award winning wines on October 4 for a period of 2 weeks in collaboration with Enomatic wine storage and dispensing machines, writes Suprio Base who went to the Tasting Room on behalf of delWine to check out the wines and the event.

Click For Large View With the current scenario of high duties, poor education and heavy influx of cheap quality wines, the retail wine world suffers a big challenge of proper commercial marketing. Add to it the archaic laws which do not allow advertisements on any alcoholic products, the wine world suffers from poor commercialization around the country. It therefore, comes as no surprise that many retailers these days are planning out innovative ways of marketing their products and thankfully many wine producers are also actively participating in such programmes.

It is encouraging to see new age retailers trying out new methods to educate the wine curious public. It was interesting to see the Decanter magazine’s premium selection wine tasting being organised in Mumbai, starting Thursday by Juben Wines at their Juhu outlet where I met Satyam Savla, partner of the brother- duo team.

Juben Wines

Juben Wines owns 5 stores in the Mumbai suburbia and 1 wine cellar. With an approximate volume of about 200-225 cases of wines (domestic and imported) per month, Juben wines is probably the biggest wine retailer in the western suburbs of Mumbai. Apart from carrying a wide range of wines and hard liquor, they are also the official distributors of Riedel Glasses as well as distributors of the Enomatic wine serving machines. 

When they initiated their wine operations 5 years ago, they were quite surprised at the lack of knowledge amongst the Indian wine consumers and had to go through an initial phase of loss due to improper supplies and inconsistent quality from the local suppliers. That is when the two brothers, Juben and Satyam Savla decided to initiate tasting programmes alongwith their local suppliers to make the people in their stores more wine savvy.They took personal interest in not only trying out all the wines before putting them on their shelves but also prepare client based programmes where the buyer would get a taste of their wines before purchasing them. This exercise supposedly ensured that their wine cellar only had the very best wines in terms of quality vs. price at any given time.

Their wine cellar located on the second level of the Dynamix Mall in Juhu holds regular wine tasting sessions for their patrons, where the consumer can come and taste the wines before the purchase. Most often these tastings are thematic and their focus for each tasting varies from time to time.

Starting Thursday 4th October, Juben Wine Cellars and Tasting Room at Dynamix Mall, along with Decanter Magazine and Enomatic, started a two-week tasting programme where they are showcasing 14 of the wines  awarded by the Decanter magazine during this year. The actual plan was to showcase all 16 of them and split them up over a two week period, showcasing 8 of them each week, but due to non-availability of two of them in India, they have had to showcase only 14 where two of them would be repeated during the two weeks. For the first week beginning 4th October, the wines being showcased are:

1.       Hardy’s Riesling 2011
2.       Torres Viña Sol 2011
3.       Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011
4.       Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Chardonnay 2010
5.       Torres Gran Sangre de Toro 2011
6.       Brancott Estate Pinot Noir 2011
7.       George Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2010
8.       Man Vintners Shiraz 2010

The other wines that readers can taste in the second week of the tasting are:
1.       Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc
2.       Albert Bichot Vide Bourse
3.       Gerard Bertrand Reserve Special Chardonnay
4.       Rosemount Estate District Shiraz
5.       Piccini Chianti
6.       Saint Clair Estate Selection Pinot Noir
7.       Torres Mas la Plana (subject to availability)

Click For Large ViewThese tastings are not targeted at the wine elite, who one often sees at almost all wine tastings around town, but the ordinary consumer who may or may not have any knowledge about the finer nuances of premium wines. This appears to be quite an ingenious way to showcase premium wines to the uninitiated so that they may get a finer idea of the taste and decide what suits their palate most before the purchase. The tasting room is offering 4 pours of 25 mL for Rs.500. The customer has the freedom to choose the wines he would like to taste. If someone decides to purchase a bottle after the tasting, an additional 10% discount is offered on the bottles, besides one additional pour to taste.

In the past, Juben Wines has tried their hand in organizing several similar wine tastings where each time they tried something new to engage a wider range of customers as well as showcase a wider range of products. Earlier in September, they had organized a blind tasting of local wines from the 2012 stocks where local producers participated in a tasting of more than 12 different varieties of their fresh stocks. Similarly, they have successfully conducted exercises with Riedel Glasses in their stores emphasizing the importance of the correct glass for different wines. They also plan to do similar events with corporates like L’Oreal, HSBC and HDFC Banks.

We need more people like the Savla brothers in the retail sector, who share the collective vision of educating the masses about the finer qualities of wines. This is the USP by which the two brothers intend to make their mark in the national wine retail scenario. This effort has indeed been a successful model in popularizing wine retail in and around the Mumbai suburbs.  Decanter Word Wine Award wine tasting is one such initiative. delWine would like to see similar models around the rest of the country.

Suprio Bose
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