I am clinging to the belief that there are good times ahead for wine enthusiasts, but from what I hear these are sad days indeed for our young wine culture and most foodies as well. Illogical, contradictory and vague government regulations have sent the industry into a tailspin writes Reva K. Singh. Continue reading her Editor’s Note below which discusses the contents of the latest issue of Sommelier India. Subscribe to Sommelier India and receive this special issue at your doorstep. Sommelier India is written by some of the best wine writers in the world and is for Indians who enjoy wine and the good life. For iPad or Android subscriptions, go here.
The hospitality industry is facing a severe shortage of wine and other premium alcohol beverages and speciality restaurants are finding it difficult to maintain a good wine list or offer their patrons authenti gourmet fare due to the paucity of quality imported ingredients.
I’m told containers of wine and luxury foods worth crores of rupees have been turned back or are languishing in our ports awaiting clearance. The root of the problem apparently is the heavy-handed strictures of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Wine importers say that the FSSAI’s insistence on minutiae such as the format of manufacturing and expiry dates printed on labels or other “nonrectifiable labelling defects” even when they are in step with Codex – the global standard for such imports – has affected the supplies of premium alcoholic brands as well as luxury foods such as artisanal cheeses, foie gras, Swiss chocolates and so on.
It’s not all doom and gloom for consumers, however. After all, wine shops haven’t downed shutters and it’s still possible to plan wine dinners and enjoy a meal with a glass of good wine at a restaurant. Members of wine clubs around the country aren’t complaining. The Sommelier India Wine Circle is doing well with a spate of high-end wine dinners recently. Many prominent international producers are staying the course and continue to export to India.
Meanwhile, read the stories in this issue and you’ll find lots to enjoy. You can indulge yourself when you travel. During a recent tour of Alsace, Steven Spurrier met many top producers whose wines are on par with Burgundy and sometimes equally expensive but price-wise there is something for everyone and it is rare to find a poor bottle (page 28). The Alsace Wine Route is the oldest wine route in France and extends for more than 170 kilometres. Autumn is the culmination of the growing season in Alsace. With the early harvest and tasting of new wine, many wineries open their doors and invite people for a tasting.
Down under, Rochford Wines in Australia’s Yarra Valley offers visitors a fun way to tour their winery (page 60). On the other side of the world, enjoy the wine bounty of the Golden State of California (page 38). There’s no better time to visit than now. Finally, there’s also plenty to read for the armchair traveller with suggestions of wines to try!