As India moves towards discovering what lies beyond ‘red’ and ‘white’ in the cellar, workshops and wine clubs are coming up in Delhi to hold the hand of young consumers, hospitality professionals and even connoisseurs who like to spit and sip among like-minded souls.
Last weekend, Tulleeho Portals organised a workshop — the first of many — where participants can opt for a certification from the reputable UK-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). The Level 1 foundation course introduces people to the main grape varieties and tells them about matching food with wines.
This certification course will also be offered in early November by Vincrest India, owned by Asia Wine Service & Education Centre Holdings Ltd (AWSEC). “Our purpose is to give a structure to wine education and an internationally recognised qualification. The courses are open to all,” says Jayant Singh of Vincrest.
A less elaborate way to ‘get’ wine is to register for Tulleeho’s three-hour session for tasting five wines with an in-house trainer, says Mohit Nischol, area manager (south) for Tulleeho. Wine seems to have found a big backer in corporate firms that have the work culture and deep pockets to introduce their staff to the rosés and rieslings. The Four Seasons Wine Trail, conducted by Tulleeho for USL Wines, an arm of the UB Group, holds 60-90 minute sessions for company employees.
And once noted sommelier Magandeep Singh’s institute in Tughlaqabad begins operation, wine education in India will take a big leap. Singh, who is waiting for some government policy clarification, hopes to open his three-acre campus by this year end. The USP of his courses, he says, will be the emphasis on needs specific to India. “It is not a UK model (of wine education) being offered in India,” says Singh.
If all this sounds too intimidating for one wishing for an informal introduction to wines, a good place to start is the wine club at Terroir, a restaurant in Galaxy Hotel, Gurgaon. It is open to all, though there may be some screening, and it has no charges. “After about half an hour of wine tasting and finger foods, we move to the table and guests see how wines are matched with different courses,” says Vivek Sharma, general manager. The primary purpose of the club is building goodwill among regular guests and the hotel’s corporate clients, but naturally the ‘educated’ participants will take India’s budding wine culture several steps forward.