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Cheers to the Indian Wine Industry

On drinking wine and writing about it

Sayoni Bhaduri from the Indian Wine List takes us through the world of Indian oenophiles and picks her favourite bottles !

Wine

In its original avatar, the Indian Wine List was a mobile App meant for everything related to Indian Wine. The brainchild of oenophiles Aneesh Bhasin and Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya it was the place you went to if you wanted to separate your Sula vintages from your Grovers.But as the wine industry in India grew, so did the need for a place where people could be educated about wines, share their wine drinking experiences with friends, and decide which bottle they wanted to buy next.

In about a month from new with the launch of IWL v2.0 with its new name and a new look, Indian wine (beer and fine whiskeys) drinkers can do all of this and more from their mobile phone. We spoke with Sayoni Bhaduri, one of the people behind this one-of-a-kind app to find out more.

Sayoni, thanks for agreeing to talk to us. First of all, we have to ask you, how does someone get your job? To write and talk about wine all day must be so much fun!

I have been a writer/journalist for 7 years now – most of it with The Indian Express’ B2B hospitality magazines. Thanks to that experience, I have learnt a lot about this industry, and it helps that I enjoy wine. More than just enjoying wine, I really appreciate the effort it takes -to turn a grape into the bottle on your table. Every single step in between requires so much precision and talent! And that’s why this seemed like a good fit to me. The team at IWL is passionate about the Indian Wine Industry, and it shows in everything we do – in our content, in our mobile App which you will hopefully sample soon, and in our website.

What will this new application be like?

Well first of all we are expanding our reach from just Indian wines to imported wines, premium beers and whiskeys available in India. The new app will not only have information about them, but also a huge social component. You can favorite a particular wine, share what you thoughts on a particular brand with your friends, or with the larger community, suggest the right food pairings (or pick one of our recommended options!). It is no longer just a catalogue of wines, but an integral part of your entire wine-drinking experience!

The website supplements your experience on the App with reviews, stories, features and other educational components.

Sayoni, what is your view on the Indian wine industry on the whole?

I think one has to understand that it is still a very young industry. We started producing wine barely 20 years ago. And while the number of wine-drinkers in the country are increasing, we are starting from such a small base that we remain a small part of the overall drinking community.

The good news is that over the last couple of years, there has been a dramatic increase in the quality and acceptance of Indian wines. Some of it is because the consumers are becoming more aware, and the Indian wine brands realize that they need to compete with the quality of their international counterparts.

Over time for the industry, and the community, to really grow Indian wines will need to become more accessible to drinkers. That’s when a wine culture will really take off!

Finally Sayoni, as an expert in Indian wines, we’d love your recommendations from the increasing number of wines available in the market today!

Hmm, it’s difficult to choose one, but there are a couple of recent vintages that I have been pleasantly surprised with.

  • Charosa Sauvginon Blanc – This wine reminds me of Sauvignon Blancs which are made in New Zealand. The wine has an aromatic nose which you also realize is there on the palate. But it does not get cloying because the integration of acidity has been done very well.
  • Chandon Brut – There is no way to dislike a glass of bubbly, but the team at Domaine Chandon India have hit the nail right on the head with this wine. Fresh fruits with vanilla and the creaminess of the wine leaves you craving for more. The launch of this Sparkling wine was the highlight of last year. Moet & Chandon chose India over China, to produce their regional vintages in Asia. 
  • Grover Zampa Chene –  This is a grand reserve wine, which means that it has spent more time maturing as compared to the reserve wines; in this case almost 3 years. It is a blend of Tempranillo and Syrah grapes which gives the wine complexity and robustness but it is also fruit forward which makes it more approachable.

All these three wines have been launched just last year. While the first vintages have been great it will be very important for them to get the consistency and quality right year after year to be truly successful.

And the place you like to go to for a glass of wine when you’re off duty?

Out of the Blue and Indigo Delicatessen have great wine list; I like them for their wine by the glass list. I also hope guys at Sula, open another Vinoteca soon, it was a great place for wines! Personally I would buy wine from a retail outlet and enjoy a glass at home with a good book.

Photo Credit: Matt Biddulph via Compfight cc

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