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Delhi Wine Club
Top Sicilian Producers to Bring Wines for Connoisseurs

Posted: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:40

Top Sicilian Producers to Bring Wines for Connoisseurs

December 11: Following a successful visit to India last year, the Sicilian Regional Institute of Wines and Olive Oils (IRVOS) has upped the ante and to communicate that Sicily produces high quality wines and olive oils, top producers including Planeta, Donnafugata, Benanti, Tasca d’Almerita and Valle d’Acate are visiting India next month along with a Master of Wine to lead the Master classes in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai, writes Subhash Arora who will be joined by the Italian wine specialist Michele Shah to assist.

Move Over Piedmont! Move Over Tuscany! Producers of Sicily are on a zealous mission to showcase some of their best wines to Indian wine and hospitality industry professionals and communicate that not only has Sicily moved away from making bulk wines but has been increasing producing high quality wines. They also intend to showcase the Sicilian olive oil which they also export to North Italy which is further re-exported to major countries like the US as the famous high quality Italian oil.

A delegation organised by the Istituto Regionale Vini e Oli di Sicilia led by Lucio Monte, Director of technical and scientific department of IRVOS includes well known Sicilian wine producers Planeta, Tasca d’Almerita, Donnafugata, Benanti and Valle d’Acate will present the wines on Jan 20-24. Michele Shah, the well-known Tuscany based journalist and consultant specialising in Italian wines who conducted the Master classes along with Subhash Arora of Indian Wine Academy earlier this year, will also accompany the visitors and conduct the classes.

The seminars will be held in 4 major cities - Delhi (Jan 21), Kolkata (Jan 22), Bangalore (Jan 23) and Mumbai (Jan 24). The major hotel chain ITC will partner with Indian Wine Academy for the Master classes in all the cities - ITC Maurya (Delhi), ITC Sonar (Kolkata), ITC Gardenia (Bangalore) and ITC Grand Central (Mumbai). The seminars will be targeted at a select group of wine importers, retailers, distributors, hospitality professionals, journalists and wine connoisseurs in these cities and will be on an invitation basis.

A highlight of the tour is the inclusion of Susan Hulme MW from London. It is perhaps for the first time that a Master of Wine will be presenting master classes in India. Susan Hulme, who is very excited about the Indian trip says, ‘some of the flavours of Sicilian wines seem ideally suited to Indian food and the climate, much more so than spirits. I think the best way is to make wine information and product knowledge accessible and offer more education to those who are interested. I will be happy to share my excitement and knowledge about the Sicilian wines many of which I helped to select especially for the India trip.’ Her presence will not only take the level of presentation to a higher level but the Indian wine professionals will have an opportunity to interact with a wine expert with an MW and years of international experience of wine education.

Susan was a part of a group of 20 Masters of Wine whose visit was organised by Michele Shah to Sicily earlier this year. She says, ‘The wines of Sicily have seen an amazing quality improvement during the past decade. Fortunately for the consumers and the hotel industry the prices have not kept up with the quality and a customer can find excellent wines a majority of which are made from the indigenous grapes which offer different characteristics in different areas and terroir.’ Ms. Shah was also instrumental in organising a similar visit last year in conjunction with the Indian Wine Academy.

‘We all know in Europe and especially in Italy that India has a huge potential and that Italian wines are getting more and more popular,’ says Lucio Monte, Director of IRVOS, who is heading the delegation. ‘But we know that Sicilian wines have an excellent opportunity because of their wide spectrum of quality and flavours and as our specialist Master of Wine Ms Hulme says, go very well with Indian cuisine. ‘

Stressing the business potential in India, the head of IRVOS says, ’the Institute of Wine and Viticulture is well aware of the importance of assisting its Sicilian wineries and in increasing the awareness of the growing potential and quality of its wines within the international arena. That’s why we have selected the top importers and wines to represent what Sicily has to offer. We were very pleased with the Indian participation and their positive reaction to our visit last year and we decided to step up our efforts to increase the awareness about Sicilian wines in India. ’

Indian Wine Academy had organised the event last year in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune in conjunction with Michele Shah SRL when Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy and Editor of delWine conducted Master classes on ‘Sicily and its Wines’ in conjunction with Michele at these venues selected by him. He says, ‘I am overwhelmed by the confidence and the honour placed by IRVOS who gave us the freedom of selecting the cities, wines and the event in totality, including the venues. I was not happy leaving out Bangalore last year due to the complicated excise registration procedures but this time we initiated the steps in time to get the documentation completed. I hope they include Chennai next time as I believe this is the next growth area for wines.’

Exhilarated by the ITC Hotels' decision to get on board as the joint partners hosting the events, he says, ‘ITC Hotels are perfectionists who look into details whether it is environment, guest comforts, cuisine or wines. Their considered decision to be a part of the events is a testimonial about their confidence in the Sicilian wines we are bringing and the commitment Indian Wine Academy has towards the promotion of wine culture in India.’ A sceptic till a few years ago, Arora has become an ardent fan of Sicily after a few visits and says ‘Sicily, its wines and the climate grow on you.’

The climate in Sicily is closer to several parts in India and the cuisine crafted over centuries of occupation by different races and nationalities has left a long lasting impression on the Sicilian cuisine. Though Mediterranean in style, it could be very tempting  for the Indian palates, especially those who have been exposed recently to the Italian cucina in general. Carmelo Floridia is an excellent Sicilian Chef who works for the premium wine Estate Gulfi near Catania. The estate has an excellent (agriturismo) wine hotel, the restaurant of which is manned by this young Chef who is in great demand internationally and was recently in Hong Kong and Brussels. He will be showcasing some of the interesting Sicilian cuisine with local olive oils being imported exclusively for the multi-city event.

Olive Oil

According to a report in Economic Times last Sunday, four times as many people in Sicily live to be over 100 than the mainland Italy’s average life expectancy. One of the reasons is substantial intake, besides low amounts of meat and refined carbohydrates, of seasonal plant food, olives and virgin olive oil. The delegation will also consist of producers who will showcase their oil. Tasting olive oil is also an art like wine tasting. There will be small guided olive oil tastings, preceding the wine tasting that will be quite educational and helpful in understanding the quality and characteristics of olive oil and their role in cooking and health.

Unfortunately, the knowledge of olive oil is also as scant in India as wine and goes barely beyond its uses as a baby massage oil and also that it is expensive. Its benefits for the heart are being understood but there is a total lack of knowledge on what constitutes a good quality olive oil. There will be an elementary tasting of these olive oils before wine tasting and a Guide to help those participants who want to live beyond 100! Of course, the readers would be pleased to know that the same report also recommends sipping wine since light drinkers had 18% lower death rate than those who didn’t drink at all.

The Master classes will be conducted in the afternoons at the following venues and will be on invitation basis.

January 21 Delhi ITC Maurya
January 22 Kolkata ITC Sonar
January 23  Bangalore ITC Gardenia
January 24  Mumbai ITC Grand Central

Besides wines from Planeta, Donnafugata, Benanti, Tasca d’Almerita and Valle d’Acate there will be wines from Gulfi, Castellucci Miano, Disisa, Ottoventi, Feudo Montoni and Curto Giombattista.

For any further information or request for registration, please contact

Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

There is an interesting article on the Sicilian producers visiting or who have sent their wines for the Masterclass. You may like to check it out at: Sicilians are coming...Sicilians are coming to India

Posted @ January 05, 2013 10:50


Raj khanna Says:

A lovely evening enjoyed by all & I have been told so by so many who were there that evening.Thank you for your choice of wines,the knowledge you shared & time given for this function.I do hope this tradition will continue in the coming years too so that the wine culture improves in our club.Based on the selection by members I will discuss with you once we have the prices ,to see which all wines can be included in our menu. I am arranging to forward this article to all those who attended. I am sure they will appreciate it. I am also marking to the right person for including in next issue of Green Scene. With regard. Raj khanna

Posted @ November 11, 2012 15:17


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