A first for India – Sanjay Menon on Decanter’s Power List


sanjay1a.jpgGuess what, Decanter’s bi-annual Power List 2009 is out and we’re proud to report that it includes one of our own – Sanjay Menon, occasional SI contributor, wine importer, proprietor of Sonary’s, and founder of the KBR School of Wine that runs WSET courses around the country.

When we congratulated Sanjay, he responded by saying he was acutely embarrassed to find himself on a list with such illustrious figures although modesty was not his strong suit! He attributed it to the media’s love affair with India and declared that that was not justified either as India did not deserve the honour for wine!
“We are a huge consumer of Spirit brands and proudly the no. 1 Whisky market in the world, no. 1 Brandy market in the world (although neither product is whisky or brandy as the world knows it being made from molasses) and the no. Rum consumer in the world.”
The list features such luminaries in the wine world as Richard Sands, chairman of Constellation Brands who has pipped Robert Parker to first place in the 2009 edition, Jancis Robinson and Steven Spurrier, and comprises 50 people from around the world who have the most influence in terms of shaping what’s in your glass, as Decanter editor, Guy Woodward said on You-Tube. Among the new entrants is Gary Vaynerchuk, from the US, representing the video blogging community and surprisingly politicians like Nicholas Sarkozy with his hardline on alcohol and wine in, ironically, France of all places! Besides political figures, the most conspicuous change is the representation from Asia.


  1. In my opinion Sanjay deserves to be on the list (even though he may not think so) for three reasons. He was a player in the field of wine in India long before most others. His company has the distinction of opening the first private public bonded warehouse in the country and he’s been importing wine since the early 1990s. This is not to say that there weren’t any other importers in the 80s and 90s.
    Secondly, Sanjay has done a lot to promote wine culture in India. He’s branched out beyond importing wine and is always happy to give his time and wine to support activities around the country.
    And thirdly, he’s a good ambassador for India because he has both the humility and the confidence to recognize that awards like these are not only about himself but go beyond and reflect the global interest in India. Sanjay could have easily responded to the recognition as a purely personal achievement and something to show off about, but he hasn’t done so.
    You’re a good ambassador, Sanjay!

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