Sunshine, cheer, wine, food, music and art warmed the lawns of Rohi Villa Palace, Koregaon Park, Pune, as the third Pune Wine Tasting Festival progressed over the weekend of 19th and 20th December 2009, reports Brinda Gill. As in the previous two years, the festival was hosted by the Pune Gourmet Club, an informal group of food and wine lovers, who enjoy cooking and sharing their efforts with each other and guests.
Twelve wineries – Deccan Plateau Vineyards, Four Seasons from UB, Good Earth Winery, Indage Vintners, Jacob’s Creek – Australia, Nine Hills from Seagram, Reveilo from Vintage Wines, Riona, Vallone, Vinsura, York and Zampa wines from Vallee de Vin- participated in the festival that drew almost 2000 visitors, who had a pink paper entry tag on their wrist, and complimentary wine glass and the Pune Gourmet Club’s Indian Wine Companion 2009 guide in hand to guide them through their tastings of over 50 wines on offer. Some enthusiasts also participated in the Wine Tasting Challenge that featured a blind tasting of five wines to guess the varietals.
B.Shankaranarayan, Moderator, Pune Gourmet Club, was more than pleased with buzz. ‘This year we had much more than wine,” he gushed, adding that the festival presented art by well known Pune-based artists who also painted at the venue, award wining wines from wineries who received awards at competitions including the Sommelier India Wine Competition, and a new range of wines from Deccan Plateau Vineyards. “We are pleased to have the SIWC gold medal wining reserves – the York Reserve Shiraz, the Nine Hills Shiraz reserve 2008- and also the gold medal wining Four Seasons Viognier as well as other award wining wines. We are also very happy to see that the PGC’s wine festival has been the launching pad for Deccan Plateau wines as they choose to launch their wines here. The festival truly offers wine lovers an opportunity to taste some of the best wines in the country, both produced in India and imported wines as we have wines from Jacob’s Creek and Riona is presenting Italian wines from the Marche region”.
Complimenting the variety of wines was a range of gourmet food including seafood barbeques; Lucknowi, Chettinand, Lebanese and Oriental specialities; handmade chocolates from Amoretto; food tastings to showcase the range of healthy and tasty products from RRO; a range of flavoured honeys from Under The Mango Tree; delicious gelato ice-creams from Ti-Amo; luscious patisserie from the Forennte Tuckshop and a range of Vallombrosa cheese crafted by Benedictine monks in Bangalore.
A live band, sponsored by Good Earth Winery, played on as the winery offered prizes of wine bottles; Good Earth Winery also announced their ‘Friends of Earth’ initiative, committing to make a donation of Rs. 1 lakh to counter climate change when they signed up 100 people for the inner circle. Michelin Star Chef Andre of the Marche region of Italy teamed up with Chef Kiran Patil of the popular Post 91 restaurant to demonstrate a few authentic Italian cooking techniques and specialities including cooking with wine on Saturday; while Chef Parag Kanhere demonstrated a few of his techniques and recipes including a delicious mulled wine on Sunday. A wine dinner with wines from Riona and gourmet dinner prepared by Chef Andre was held on Saturday night at Rohi Villa, with the artwork displayed at the hall. .
“We are pleased that in three years the Pune Wine Tasting festival has achieved a standing in the wine industry,” said Shankaranarayan. “We held a wine tasting festival in Mumbai last month and hope to organise similar festivals in other cities in the future as well as several wine related events in Pune in 2010”.