Oct 28: Indian Wine Day, the only wine event in India with a fixed date, will be celebrated again on November 16 at all the Lalit Hotels, a few restaurants, wineries and wine clubs joining in to cheer the improved quality of Indian wines adding to the growing wine culture in India, writes Subhash Arora who founded the Day on November 16, 2017 in conjunction with the Lalit Group in an attempt to catalyse producers come on a common platform for promotion
The concept is a brain-child of Cav. Subhash Arora, President of the Indian Wine Academy, who along with Lalit’s French Corporate Sommelier Charles Donnadieu initiated it on November 16, 2017. The aim was to increase awareness of the consistently improving quality of Indian wines and encouraging producers and hospitality industry to come together on a common platform to make it an annual feature, sowing the seeds for a focused one-day promotion.
The first Indian Wine Day ever was celebrated on 16 November 2017 with simultaneous dinners at six LaLit Hotels in India and London where Indian cuisine from the Baluchi was paired with select Indian wines. A dramatic showcase of desserts and sparkling wines at their stylish nightclubs gave an elegant slant to the event. The date was chosen to coincide with the Beaujolais Nouveau Day-the third Thursday of November and celebrated across the world.
Beaujolais is a small French AOC Appellation in southern part of Burgundy, now administratively in Rhone, using Gamay grape-often known as the cousin of Pinot Noir. It’s a cluster of a few villages that produce red wine. It celebrates ‘Beaujolais Nouveau Day’ globally every third Thursday of November when the new vintage is released as the clock strikes midnight, at 00.01 am. It is transported and uncorked in various parts of the world for an evening with a great enthusiasm, though the glamour has been waning in India and other countries in recent years.
Since 16th November 2018 was a Friday, we decided to fix 16 November as the specific Indian Wine Day as producers generally agreed it was a suitable enough day with no clashes with harvest or any other significant event. Subhash Arora says, ‘ if such small appellation can cause such vast interest around the world, if there can be all kinds of National days (Argentina) and grape (Grenache) or regions (Champagne), why should we not be proud of our Indian wines, the Governmental hostility at worst and apathy at best, notwithstanding. We have to instil the feeling of pride for Indian products and Indian wines, especially because the quality has improved tremendously.’
Arora believes availability of wines from all countries but has also been a great proponent of Indian Wines as they can play a significant role in our economy giving jobs to tens of thousands of farmers and because one does not need very fertile land necessarily to grow grapes. He is pained to see China take a tremendous lead over India, thanks to its government support. But he hopes that some Indian government agency will come forward to promote the cause of the industry mired in severe difficulties right now and make the Day of national significance. It is also in congruence with the ‘Make in India’ motto of the current Modi Government. ‘In fact, it is my plea again to the government to allow the starting serving Indian wines during State Banquets,’ he adds.
With the active support of the Corporate F & B Manager Mr. Ravindra Kumar and the infectious enthusiasm of Mr. Keshav Suri, Executive Director of the Lalit group, the project Indian Wine Day was extended to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur AND London. One hopes that next year will see a big celebration at the Srinagar Palace Hotel.
Baluchi Restaurants at the Lalit are known for excellent Indian cuisine. After several tastings and pairings, we decided to pair the dishes with select Indian wines from Sula, Grover, Fratelli, York, Charosa, Reveilo, KRSMA, SDU and Big Banyan wines at various venues. The wine lists are being tweaked at each venue to match the availability in each city.
Delhi Wine Club, Bangalore Wine Club and Calcutta Wine Club and Chandigarh Wine Club powered the evening last year while Mumbai will be again powered by Magic Cellars.
The Menu has been kept Indian this year too, though we have made significant changes in the style of cooking and presentation, says Ravindra Kumar, F & B Director of the Lalit group. The food and pairing has been done by Charles Donnadieu, the French Corporate Sommelier in conjunction with Arora who feels that the time has come to be bold and pair them with other cuisines as well. As an experiment Delhi Wine Club has organised a dinner on October 30 at OKO, one of the best fine dining restaurants in Delhi with Indian wines including J’Noon.
50% Discounted Wines
To make the Indian Wine Day (IWD) Celebrations more exciting and to further the cause of Indian wines, The Lalit group has again announced 50% discount on all Indian wines ordered at any of their restaurants in all their 13 properties in India and London for 2days over the 16-17 November weekend for those unable to enjoy the dinner offer of Rs. 2500++ at the hotels (except London), subject to the availability of stocks.
Hopefully, Indian Wine Day (IWD) will eventually become an important day in the life of wine drinkers in India. We invite wine lovers to come to these venues in big numbers. If you cannot for any reason, do have a glass or share a bottle of Indian wine with friends and share the experience on the Facebook page of Indian Wine Day. Let us raise our glasses to the Indian wines and Indian Wine Day and say Cheers, or better still...
Jai Ho- an initiative of the Indian Wine Academy to popularise a universally acceptable Indian (Hindi) word for Cheers, used extensively in our daily life otherwise.
For a few earlier Articles, please visit:
First-ever Indian Wine Day celebrated on November 16 at Six Lalit Hotels
2nd Indian Wine Day 2018: Curtain Raiser
3rd Indian Wine Day
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