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Delhi Wine Club
Fascinating Chile Wine n Food Evening

Posted: Monday, 15 November 2010 16:25

Fascinating Chile Wine n Food Evening

Chile has taken the lead by organizing a wine and food evening in which ten existing importers showcased about 50 wines from their current portfolio, reinforced with sea-food imported for the first time in Delhi, last Wednesday at Hotel Grand where around 250 invitees enjoyed the wines well past the announced closing time, writes Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Pisco is the popular drink of Chile, made from the distillation of grape wine and it was not surprising that the guests loved it as a starter. Mr Nestor Riveros, the ProChile Head in India took the guests quickly through the Chilean wines with a PP presentation. Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy which had partnered the event with ProChile and the Embassy of Chile explained succinctly why the Chilean wines were interesting and important, emphasizing special Terroir because of several valleys with their uniqueness. Ambassador, H.E. Christián Barros then formally inaugurated the festive evening.   

The tables had been laid out in the alphabetical order in a clockwise direction, making it easier for the visitors to decide which importer they would like to taste the wines from.
Aspri (Ventisquero), Brindco (Tarapaca, Punto Niño, Cecilia, Gato Negro, San Pedro, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Canelo Estates), Dhall Foods (Luis Felipe Edwards), Global Tax Free Traders (Casillero del Diablo from Concha y Toro), Hema Connoisseurs (Emiliana), High Spirits (Santa Rita, Anakena), Moet Hennessy (Casa Lapostolle), Prestige Wines & Spirits (Santa Digna, Cordillera, Manso de Velasco), Sonarys (Montes) presented their wines while ProChile manned the Balduzzi table.

Conspicuous by their absence were wines from Viña Errazuriz/Chadwick. Errazuriz label is imported by Ace Beveragez while FWM- Mumbai imports Caliterra and Seña. While the former indicated absence of stocks, FWM is apparently concentrating on other markets at present although Craig Wedge informs delWine that they had no stocks of Chilean wines at the moment either. Sovereign Impex had started wine business by importing Chilean wines exclusively but does not seem to be active at the present time. While discontinuing Valdivieso, they claim that the business with Santa Emma goes on though unavailability of stocks was cited as a reason for non participation.

It would appear that the demand for Chilean wines has really been picking up from the low-to-no stock position with many importers. Casa Lapostolle, for instance had only white wines. ‘We have been totally out of red wine in the market for some time now,’ said their rep manning the table.

Torres Chile did a roaring ‘business’ of attracting people and easily were the most favourite stand though Brindco seemed equally busy pouring wines and having a wider choice for the visitors. Prestige Wines, the Torres importer was present in full force and spirits with the Brand Ambassador Marc Perelló flying in from Mumbai especially for this event.  Cordillera and Manso de Velasco (highly awarded Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and an apple of the eye for Torres- not only because it has been named after the founder of Curicó, where the winery is located) were a cut or two... or three, above the rest of the wines and were the cool favourites till they lasted. Another crowd puller was the entry level Anakena Rosé which though slightly sweet, was a wonderful, perfumed wine-a notch above the others and was extremely popular, especially with the ladies.

What was not popular, however, was the trickling of food platters which had been created by using the Chilean imported salmon, abalone, limpets, razor clams and sea asparagus. The sea-food specialties which are very popular (and rather expensive) in the Far East went over the heads of most visitors as there was no detailed explanation of the same and the guests would just gulp whatever came their way. 

The vegetarian and chicken empanadas, the popular Chilean snacks which are perfect and healthier substitute for Indian samosas were rather disappointing. Having tasted several variants in Chile, one felt they were nowhere near the Real McCoy. Perhaps in an effort to downsize them for easier picking, they became too thick with flour and dry with not enough filling. The vegetarian counterparts were mercifully more palatable. Loads of luscious Chilean grapes were crowd favourites and in fact saviours.

The evening was the brain-child of Nestor Riveros who had earlier organised a similar one at the Hyatt in about  ten years ago during his previous stint in Delhi and later at Hotel Taj Mahal in conjunction with the Delhi Wine Club in 2002 before going on to the next assignment.  Before leaving Vietnam for the current assignment, his efforts had catapulted Chilean wines to number two position in the imported segment

‘We have been constrained this time because of budgets and could not do it as elaborately as we would have liked to. Besides, we also wanted to showcase several unrepresented producers, but due to the time required in getting the governmental permission for such an event, we had to restrict ourselves to existing importers,’ he said. With the active support of the Ambassador Barros, he is excited and ready to cantor for more such events.

Among several reasons why Indian Wine Academy accepted the invitation to join hands in the organization of the event was the open approach of Nestor and ProChile. ‘We want to help develop the wine culture and awareness in India and thus expand the market. People are welcome to drink any wines they like. We hope that with the expanded market and the value-for-money Chilean wines available at various price points, we shall gain in our market share,’ he adds. No wonder, diplomats from other wine producing nations were also invited. In a couple of cases, guests from other embassies had specially come to see if they could replicate the event with wines from their country.

With the aggressive marketing stance of ProChile and their Delhi office, readers of delWine in India, especially the members of Delhi Wine Club who were also invited for the event may look forward to many such events on a regular basis.

Subhash Arora

For an earlier article on the event, visit

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Suprio Bose Says:

Dear Mr. Arora .Great write up! Once again you prove that you are indeed a cavalier with words. Very good article. Indeed we need to brush up with our seafood preparations if we need to make a mark in this market.

Posted @ November 17, 2010 14:50


Subhash Arora Says:

My comments: Yes, I remember I was one of the speakers for the visiting delegation. But that event was only for wines not yet sold in India. Hopefully, next year will have the presence of unrepresented producers too. Subhash Arora

Posted @ November 16, 2010 12:53



The Chilean Embassy had organised a similar evening, two years ago, at The Oberoi, New Delhi.While reviewing it I had compared it to the proverbial Curates Egg - good in parts !! Well, if that was a semi-professional theatrical then the production at The Grand was a full-blown Hollywood extravaganza equally suited to the Trade, Expats, Diplomats and Socialites. Hence, I was rather underwhelmed by the "presence" of Hospitality Representatives at an Event that seemed tailor made for them. Be that as it may, this excellently organised evening gave me a chance to look good and hard at the Chilean Brands that I could profitably use at our Banquet Venues and Restaurants - two really different types of requirements. The only fly in the ointment, as Subhash has pointed out, was the lamentable show vis-a-vis snacks. For people like me who tasted well over 15 different pours the snacks are a very real professional requirement if one does not intend to get smashed !! Kudos to ProChile and the Indian Wine Academy for a very well produced Event and if this encourages other wine producing nations (the Aussies and the Italians have been doing an outstanding job in this regard) to do similar promotions, it can only be a major boost to Wine Appreciation in India. Cheers !!

Posted @ November 16, 2010 12:50


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