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Delhi Wine Club
Fairly Festive Mumbai Wine Fest ‘10

Posted: Friday, 19 November 2010 10:30

Fairly Festive Mumbai Wine Fest ‘10

The second Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival held on November 12-14 at the Radio Club Pier in Colaba was an event for wine lovers, where families could have great, inexpensive fun and frolic in a fairly festive atmosphere with wine as the protagonist, showcased by over 30 wineries that afforded the visitors an option of over a hundred wines from India and overseas, writes Subhash Arora who had been invited to inaugurate.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Prahlad Kakkar, Sonal Holland, Subhash Arora and Vishal Kadakia at the inauguration
Although the fest was inaugurated by Subhash Arora, Editor of delWine and President of Indian Wine Academy, the limelight was on the ad celebrity, Papa Pancho and Sadak Chhap Prahlad Kakkar (PK) who announced that next year all marriages will perhaps be officially annulled those days for people attending the show so that they could lose themselves with the drink of Bacchus and let their hair down without having to look over their shoulders.

That may or may not increase the number of visitors who numbered around 3000-3500 in three 3 days, but it would defeat the basic purpose of the festival- labeled as the Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival. Four Seasons, Indage, Grover, Nine Hills, Vinsura, Zampa, Indus, Vintage, Good Earth, Blue Star, Pause, Rio, Deccan Plateau, Ralph Craven and Chateau d’Ori were the Indian exhibitors with Kiara Wines, the Wine Park, Kingfisher Bohemia, Brihans Howling Wolves and Ixora carrying the torch for the imported counterparts. Riona Wines has yet to bring out its Indian wines and offered a range of Italian wines from Moncaro and Enzo Marcella in Marche.

A view of visiitors in the sunny afternoon
Sula’s absence as a participant seemed to be a sore point- for anyone who believes passionately about spreading of wine culture at the grass-root levels. Rajeev Samant told delWine he was not unaware of the Fest; his second in command Cecilia Oldne said they had taken part last year but had been really pre-occupied with several events including the Hong Kong Wine Show recently. It was brave of Indage Vintners to participate even though they have gone through the whirlpool (one hopes the organisers collected the money in advance; the partners of the erstwhile IFE-India in Delhi inform delWine that the company still owes them dues of Rs.300,000 for exhibiting at their Show a couple of years ago)

Wine Festivals are an integral part of spreading wine culture, knowledge and showcase new vintages. Most wine producing regions in the world have them as a regular feature. In places like Italy, France and Germany, even a small village has its own annual wine festival-where visitors look forward to come and have fun around wine and share information about the new vintage.

Grape Stomping Ritual-for your eyes only
In a place like Mumbai it has a wider significance. Being close to the wine producing areas like Nashik, Baramati or Sangli the producers can get their potential customers to taste their wines. The importers also have offices here as the market for imported wine is significant. Its here that the producers like Rio can see the consumer reaction to the carbonated Chenin Blanc at Rs.80 a bottle (375 mm)!

For consumer the Festival is an excellent way of learning about wines. Not only can one try different varietals and wines, one can learn a lot from the producer or the importer who is at his educational best. And it is free (apart from your entry charges which at Rs.750 were quite nominal)!  You may ask them any questions- the grapes and their characteristics , fermentation temperatures and time; whether the oak is from France or Slovenia, barrique, staves or chips or what yeast is being used or how much sulphur is added—the list is endless.

That Man from Rio-is he singing about his wine?
The progressive excise department of Mumbai needs to be complimented for allowing the organisation of a wine tasting event like this where visitors can also buy what they like at significant discounts of up to 30%,  providing a great opportunity to stock up on their favourites. Hopefully, the department will soon change the irrational policy of charging extra duties from out -of -state producers and save the Maharashtra producers from the agony of suffering a penalizing Karnataka market.

The general mood of the producers at the Fest appeared to be positive, though they felt they would like to see more visitors. Not only is there the cost of stalls, it involves a lot of organisation, not to talk of the presence of the top brass to make sure there are no lost opportunities; several customers from retail stores, F & B professionals and local journalists seemed to be present. An exception was last year’s participant Globus Wines who stayed away this year as the wine company felt that ‘the people seemed to be less interested in our quality than how much discount we can offer. Since we believe we are at the top end of the price spectrum, we don’t like to discount our products.’

The Organisers chatting with Arora for next year
Not everyone agreed with that viewpoint. Not only did Vinsura Vineyard pitch in with an international class stand almost 3 times the size of the other stands, Nitin Desai, MD, Gopal Jadhav, the newly appointed Chief Operative officer and Abhijit Ghosh the National marketing Manager were on their toes all three days. Desai said, ‘We know we are not at the top. So we wanted to make a statement that we are ready to compete with the giants. The stand is just one such prop.’

Pratap Arora, one of the organisers was a happy though exhausted man at the end of the Show. He was ready to build on the Fest, with one planned already for next November at the Taj Lands End Hotel in Bandra. To him and his team and supporters like Prahlad Kakkar, one can only wish success and say,


Subhash Arora



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