Wine for Asia, Suntec, Singapore 16-18 October 2008

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Day 1:Tulleeho is flying a lonely flag at Wine for Asia, Suntec, Singapore, as the sole Indian stall, reports Vikram Achanta. Visitors are disappointed to find no Indian Wine, for quite a few have heard of Sula and Grover’s. There are just as many people who are equally amazed to hear of wine produced in India. Bollywood, however, is known to everyone and some visitors ask us to bring Bollywood stars the next time. “Which ones?,” I ask, and they decline to reply, although our taxi driver informs us that Shahrukh Khan was in Suntec City yesterday.


We’re visited through the day by a stream of visitors, everyone from Gavin, the Global Sales Director of a Wine Investment Fund, who’s interested in getting high net worth individuals in India to invest in a wine portfolio as they do in art and other “alternate investments” as the term goes, to Chris, from the intriguingly named Pengwine.
Pengwine’s premise is simple. They have a range of wines from Chile, each named after different varieties of penguins. People can’t be bothered he said to remember names of varietals or clever wine names, but Penguins on the other hand are different, so people will remember that they preferred the King over the Chin Strap!
Chris is setting a Pan Asia hub for wine logistics in Singapore and is interested in getting Chilean producers over to India, hopefully using Tulleeho as a conduit.
Suntec has 350 exhibitors spread across three halls and there’s a wide variety of stalls. Our neighbours are the Goygol Wine plant from Azerbaijan. Baku has more than oil to offer the world. Goygol makes a range of wines, still and sparkling as well as Xan vodka, which uses wheat spirit as a base. Their sparkling wine called Kolleksion is made using the Methode Champenoise, and is a blend of the “Pkatitselli” and “Bayanshire” varieties of wine. They also have Araz, a white table wine, Chinar, a rosé and Madrasa, a red wine.
Taking the opportunity of a break, I head across to an intriguingly named stall called Corporate Grape. Run by Erica Babbage, Corporate Grape promotes boutique wines from Australia’s Barossa Valley. I tasted two of the wines on offer, the 2008 Yanyarrie Riesling and the 2006 Catharina Shiraz, both from Hahn Barossa Vineyards.
Indian wine enthusiasts can taste them both when Erica is down for IFOWS in Delhi in January. She drops in to our stall later in the day to grab a wine bag, as we’ve got some nicely designed ones as gifts and promises a bottle of wine in exchange!
Bump into Yatin Patil from Reveilo and we discuss his upcoming tasting room at his vineyards in Nashik and our plans to get wine tourists from Mumbai down there. Subhash Arora from the Delhi Wine Club is also around as is Pramod Krishna, the Secretary General of CIABC, who was carrying copies of Sommelier India-The Wine Magazine, in the absence of Reva Singh, the publisher. There’s also Sandeep Dass, a former petroleum trader who, when posted in Paris with Shell, had a boss who taught him more about wine than petroleum, and Sandeep switched to investing in wine on behalf of individuals. Seems to be a growing business.
Another break takes me to the Portugal pavilion where I try Wines from Pocas Junior, from the Douro region. I try the white, the red and the Reserve. They’re all very good and I top them up with a few sips of the Tawny Port, which is excellent.

Tulleeho is a marketing consultancy and services firm for the beverage industry in India, which also helps companies who want to enter the Indian beverage industry.

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