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AWPA: Maiden Indian Visit of Asian Wine Producer Association commemorated

Posted: Friday, 27 January 2017 15:30


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AWPA: Maiden Indian Visit of Asian Wine Producer Association commemorated

Jan 27: One of the objectives of the Asian Wine Producers Association (AWPA) is the exchange of ideas and best practices among member countries. Sumedh Singh Mandla, Chairman of AWPA and CEO of Grover Zampa Vineyards hosted a wine dinner at Romano’s in JW Marriot Sahar Mumbai, to kick start the first such wine tour for AWPA members. Our Mumbai Correspondent, Rishi Vohra CSW, reports

Photos By:: Rishi Vohra

Since the inception of AWPA in 2013, its Key Management Committee members have been actively pursuing their set out objectives. As a result of their relentless efforts, the membership has grown from 7 wineries to 13, with a total of 6 countries as a part of this group. And instead of manning individual booths at international wine fairs, the wineries of these Asian countries – India, Japan,Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Myanmar – represent Asia under the umbrella of one association, making their presence felt at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, two years in a row. This year they will be at another reputed International Trade Fair – Prowein 2017 in Dusseldorf – thereby making their foray into Europe.

Asian Wine Producer Association’s message to the global market is clear and simple. World quality wine is being produced from locally grown grapes in Asian countries and merits international recognition. To communicate their message, AWPA is not only taking wines of these six countries to these wine fairs to garner attention from International audiences, but also exchanging information and ideas internally among member countries.

Sumedh Singh Mandla reveals, “There is active coordination between members through two active communication centres- one for marketing and the other for the technical people. The winemakers keep on sharing their ideas with respect to best practices.” On being asked about the criteria for membership, he says, “The whole idea was to have premium wine producers from the Asia region to be a part of this and we are sticking to that. Anyone who’s growing local grapes and making wine from them is the reference point for us to get new members.” This is the first visit of AWPA to India.

The AWPA members present at the dinner, had earlier visited the member wineries of Sula, York and Grover Zampa and will be heading to the Grover Zampa estate in Bengaluru. Says Sumedh who will be accompanying the group, “We’ve invited other members of AWPA to come and experience what we do here. With this exchange there’s a better interchange of process, they can pick up ideas from here and use over there. Likewise, we’re probably travelling to Thailand next month. We have also been discussing the possibility of visiting 2 or 3 countries together for winery tours. We did float some kind of understanding there, but we haven’t yet got to promote it on a larger scale.”

Denis Gastin, an eminent wine writer from Australia and steering committee member of AWPA, is the brainchild of this group. His interest in Asian wines sparked off in the 80’s, during his work stints in China and Japan. In both cases, he discovered domestic production and saw that people in these wine industries were making wine more out of passion and needed to be noticed for their efforts. He wanted to get this message out to the global wine audience and started writing about Asian wine in the 80’s. The feedback he received from these Articles was an indicator that people the world over were both curious about and interested in wines produced in Asian Countries. On being asked his purpose behind AWPA, he says, “I wanted the world to know that Asian countries have a domestic market with people committed to producing quality wine. And the best way to get international recognition is to get a collective spirit together that would be more impressive to global wine audiences.”

Visooth Lohitnavy, owner of the GranMonte Winery in Thailand and also a key management committee member of AWPA, is visiting India after 52 years and shares Gastin’s enthusiasm. He says, “We are here to communicate to the global industry that serious developments are happening in the Asian wine industry. Amongst members, we will be sharing experiences, technologies, experimentation, and resources if we need them. This exchange will help to improve quality in the domestic markets. This India wine tour is the first step in that direction.”

In terms of promoting wine tourism, AWPA is in the process of getting travel agents on board to put together wine tours for people traveling to Asia. In addition, Gastin is trying to get home-grown airlines to serve a wide array of their domestic wines on-board to initiate travellers into the wine of that country. So far, Gastin has struck a note with Japan in that regard but is confident that other airlines will follow suit.

Jean-Baptiste Ancelot, Founder and CEO of Wine Explorers, is also a part of the AWPA tour. His wine website is popular globally given his unique insights, especially into the closed bits of wine regions in Africa, Eastern Europe and so on. An ardent traveller, he is also a part of this AWPA tour which will open his readership further into the world of Asian wines. He says, “In four years, I plan to visit all 92 wine producing countries of the world. In the past two years, I have already visited 42 and plan to complete the list over the next 2 years. I am excited to be in India and feel that AWPA is taking all the right steps to promote Asian Wines.”

The wine dinner featured two wines each from the three Indian AWPA members- Sula, Grover Zampa and York. These wines were:-

- Zampa Chene Grande Reserve 2014

- Zampa Soiree Brut 2014

- York Rose Vintage 2016

- York Arros Vintage 2015

- Sula Rasa Shiraz 2014

- Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2016

The wines were nothing short of delicious and it was apparent that the three Indian wineries put some of their best wines forward for this event. Three wines from GranMonte Winery in Thailand were also served. These wines were:-

- The Orient Syrah 2012

- GranMonte Asoke Valley Verdelho 2015

- GranMonte Asoke Valley Durif 2014

Had I not known that these wines were from a winery outside of Bangkok, I would have pegged them to be from an internationally renowned wine region. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.

However, I couldn’t say the same about Romano’s’ three course wine dinner, the food of which was neither appetizing nor well-presented. While the pass around starters – Polpette Di Pollo, Bruschetta Primavera and Piadina – were just passable, the main course was far from that. The first course was a bland Minestrone Di Verdure soup which seemed out of place considering the fantastic wines being poured around. A salad would have been better.

For the second course, I selected the Pollo Alla Forno from the four options. This dish was disappointing both in taste and flavour, which was surprising given the rave reviews I’ve read about Romano’s. It would have helped if the menu had been selected to pair with the presented wines. None of the wines paired well with my dishes.

However, the last course was uplifting and ended the evening on a good note. I selected the Salame al Cioccolato against the Tiramasu, and the dessert was nothing short of delightful. However, I did get a taste of the Tiramisu though, when a server came around offering a scoop from a container. The last time I was served dessert in that fashion was at Naturals Ice Cream.

I’m guessing that Romano’s pays more attention to their food preparation and service with their restaurant guests. I hope they realize that private parties are no different, especially when it includes wine enthusiasts and press.

All in all, the evening was a smashing success. Sumedh Singh Mandla was a gracious host and ensured that all the guests had a wonderful evening and memorable experience with tastings of some of India’s and Thailand’s more favourite wines.

We, at delWine, commend AWPA on their efforts and have no doubt that they will achieve their goals and be a force to contend with in the international wine arena in due course of time!
For earlier related Articles, please visit:

BRWSC 2016 : Asian Producers promoting Region wines through AWPA

Asian Producers form Association at Hong Kong Fair

Rishi Vohra

Rishi Vohra is the Mumbai Correspondent of delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators - USA. He has done an MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law from WWF-India. He has authored two bestseller fiction novels, ‘HiFi in Bollywood’ and ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,’ the latter which was awarded an honorable mention in the General Fiction category at the Hollywood Book Festival, and was the only book from India to be awarded at the festival. He can be contacted at

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Tags : Asian Wine Producers Association, AWPA, Sumedh Singh Mandla, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Romano’s, JW Marriot Sahar Mumbai, Rishi Vohra, Hong Kong International, Wine & Spirits Fair, Prowein 2017, Sula, York, Grover Zampa, Denis Gastin, Asian wines, Visooth Lohitnavy, GranMonte Winery, Thailand, Asian wine industry, Jean-Baptiste Ancelot, Wine Explorers, Zampa Chene Grande Reserve 2014, Zampa Soiree Brut 2014, York Rose Vintage 2016, York Arros Vintage 2016, Sula Rasa Shiraz 2014, Sula Sauvignon Blanc 2016, The Orient Syrah 2012, GranMonte Asoke Valley Verdelho 2015, GranMonte Asoke Valley Durif 2014


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