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Delhi Wine Club
Wine Promo Gold for Aussies at CWG

Posted: Friday, 15 October 2010 10:23

Wine Promo Gold for Aussies at CWG

Besides winning the maximum of number of Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games which concluded successfully in Delhi on Thursday, Australia also gets a Gold medal from delWine for being the leading nation to promote itself through Austrade, with the big promotion of Australian wines and food products through multiple events organised at the High Commission, writes Subhash Arora.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

With Michael Carter, H.E. Peter Varghese, Brennon Dowrick and Peter Linford at the Cheese n Wine Evening
Aussies are known to be bad losers in sports as was once again demonstrated by some of their athletes at the CWG engaging in hooliganism and even throwing a washing machine reportedly from the eighth floor in the Games Village on hearing about Australia losing the cricket Test in Bangalore a couple of days ago. But they are also professionals to the core as one discovered that their hockey team spent significant time acclimatizing in specially designed chambers at 38 ° C and 80% humidity that helped them pulverize India in the hockey finals played in hot and humid conditions in Delhi yesterday.

They also constantly explore opportunities to improve business with the rest of the world. The Business Club Australia (BCA) formed at Sydney Olympics in 2000 was one such programme which has managed to generate business of A$1.7 billion in ten years. With the BCA India 2010 initiative, the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) organised mind boggling 22 events in the areas of mining, infrastructure, art and culture etc. including two wine specific evenings. At all the events Wolf Blass wines, owned and sponsored by the Aussie beer giant Foster’s, flowed freely; in fact the brand was also launched officially on October 7th at one of these two events.

Indians having business connection with Australia or the desire to do so were welcome to register. The badge entitled them to visit the Business Lounge set up at the Australian High Commission from October 3 to 14 and relax, use Wi-Fi, watch the Games, meet people and network, with refreshments and Wolf Blass wines available in the evenings. Taking a leaf from the CWG and keeping the spirit of the games, the security was extremely tight, with checks, counter-checks and then some, awaiting anyone desiring to taste even one glass of wine.

How much wine was imported for the initiative? ‘Pearls Wines were our platinum suppliers and had organised the wine and beer. I think they imported 200 cases of Wolf Blass, over 90% of which has been consumed. This does not include the six wines for the Cheese and Wine Evening for which only a few cases each were procured,’ said an exhausted but visibly pleased Peter Linford, the Senior Trade Commissioner for Austrade.’

The Cheese and Wine Evening was the special event organised on the penultimate day of the Games with the purpose of giving a taste of Australian wines to over a hundred guests. Borrowing the idea from the Indian mass weddings, guests could stand around 10 tables set up with glasses laid in beautiful arrays in the center and each of the six wines poured in 6-rows of glasses.

‘We deal with around 60 Australian wines at Austrade but since we could not have all of them we chose only six for the tasting tonight,’ said Michael Carter, the Trade Commissioner. Mr Peter Varghese, the Australian High Commissioner who has been giving active support to the events and lent his residence- or at least the lawns, was also present.

Six wines- three each of white and red were led by the Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay. Coincidentally, JC was recently awarded a contract to exclusively pour at Wimbledon for the next 5 years. (This is the equivalent of Sula, Four Seasons, Grover or some other Indian winery getting the contract for an exclusive pour at the DLTA tennis stadium in Delhi! We pride ourselves for learning our bureaucratic skills from the Brits, but the bureaucrats might not digest wine being served at places like Wimbledon in England!)

Semillon Sauvignon from Clairault Estate, and a Gnangara from Evans & Tate- a very crispy Sauvignon Blanc were the other two white wines. Besides their being fruity, zingy and fresh, a common and positive thread was the low alcohol- between 12-13% and the absence of the massive oak that has been dominating the majority of Australian whites. De Bortoli, Wynns (owned by Foster’s) and Seppelts offered the 3 reds-the cabernet Sauvignon from Clairault 2007 being a crowd favourite for its complexity and flavours.

Cheeses from Bega Cheese and Lemnos Foods were part of the food and the dishes served-duly paired with wines. A notable fact was that the wines-including the reds, were well matched with the vegetarian snacks as well. A majority of foreign wine producers overlook the fact that almost half the people in India are vegetarians many of them even  believing that wine is not meant for vegetarians. It is important when matching food with wines to keep the vegetarian dishes in mind. Of course, with cheese being the queen of the evening, it was easier to prepare the dishes to match.

The organisers were helped in the food service provided by the Hyatt Regency which served piping hot food cooked on site, with a menu that changed everyday and service that was professional and efficient. They proved that they are as good in outdoor catering as in the quality of food and service in the hotel.  

Brennon Dowrick, Brand Ambassador of the Business Club Australia India 2010 appeared quite ecstatic. Already talking about the CWG in Scotland in 1914, he was all praise for the event in Delhi and the success of BCA during the Games.

In contrast to the wine promo by the Aussies, India which proudly managed second place in terms the number of Golds (38) as compared to the third placed England’s (37), the host nation failed miserably in promoting Indian wines during the event, although wine was eventually allowed to be served in the Games village.

Incidentally, the five top medal winning nations Australia (177), India (101), England (142), Canada (75) and South Africa (33) are all wine producing countries.

How much of their wine promotion activity will help Australia increase the existing market share of around 20% in India, it is certain that they will not sit on the laurels of winning this wine promo ‘Gold medal’ earned at the CWG in addition to the 74 won at the Delhi games, and will go for achieving greater heights, whether it is the CWG in Glasgow or the penetration of Aussie wine in the international markets, including India.

Subhash Arora


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