See, swirl, sniff, sip, savour: Wine & woman to make it heady

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Red or white, the wine industry in India is sparkling, with a rising growth rate of nearly 30 per cent says Express India. As more and more Indians raise their glasses to the finest in Indian and foreign vintage, new vistas have opened in the relatively uncharted world of wine making. From wine tourism to wine tasting and even wine journalism, the options are plenty for anyone with a passion and expertise in vintage. Find the complete article at Express India.


Yet, when it comes to a wine career in India, it’s still largely a man’s world. So when Pune-based Ashwini Awate first appeared at the International Masters Vintage in Vine and Wine Management programme at the Ecole Superieur D’Agriculture (ESA) at Angers in France, eyebrows were raised not only by her two male Indian counterparts, but by her classmates from other countries as well.
“Liquor still remains a taboo for most women in India, so when a woman enters a career in this field, it is bound to raise eyebrows. But what most people do not realise is that women constitute a significant segment of the wine market,” said Awate, who was the first Indian woman to participate in the course, where she was admitted under the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship programme awarded by the European Union (EU) to non-European students desirous of pursuing higher education in the EU.
Awate said there is a growing interest in India as a market for the international wine industry. “There are many companies who are looking for Indian wine experts to set up branches in India to market their products and facilitate imports of the same. Wine experts are also needed to prepare wine lists for imports and exports, and create awareness about the science of wine making through the media and through wine appreciation courses,” she said.
The Masters programme, coordinated by the ESA in France offers an array of training modules conducted in parts in three European countries — France, Italy and Spain. The initial six months of training are held in France, where the basics of ‘terroir’ management are taught, dealing with the traditions, culture and environmental factors related to vintage. This is followed by a three-month course in marketing, taught by faculty members from across the world.
The next part of the course is conducted in Italy, where students learn viticulture at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Piacenza. “This also includes study tours to northern Italy, Hungary and Switzerland,” said Awate. Students also undergo a six-month internship at the end of the course to give them hands-on training.
As for the future, Awate plans to start her own all-women wine enterprise. “This will be like a women’s co-operative, comprising mostly friends who will pool in their talents and expertise from various fields including marketing and exports,” she said. Awate also plans to launch a website to make available information on the wine industry.

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