With its central location that offers easy access to wineries in Nashik, Baramati, Sangli and Solapur; restaurants with a good selection of wines; a mix of young professionals, travellers, foodies, expats, wine rookies and connoisseurs alike – Pune boasts a growing wine culture. Reflecting this trend is a new wine club – The GrapeWine Oenophiles. Brinda Gill reports…
The club has recently been started by Sujata Patil, who has lived in France, experienced its wine culture and been a part of the Indian wine industry for the past few years. Considering the variety of Indian wines available, both in terms of grapes and styles, and good value-for-money imported wines, she thought of starting a wine club where members could sample different wines and get to know them.
“Although Pune has hosted several wine festivals and has stores retailing an impressive stock of wines, it was time to start a great wine club,” says Sujata. After brainstorming with acclaimed Chef Shailendra Kekade of Stone Water Grill, Pune’s stylish lounge that serves fine wines with gourmet European cuisine, she decided to host theme-based wine and food evenings at the lounge.
At the two meetings held so far members have been welcomed with a sparkling wine and then moved on to enjoy a sit-down wine dinner where five wines have been paired with dishes prepared by Chef Kekade.
“The wines were selected keeping in mind the many wine novices in the club,” Sujata said. “The idea was to first familiarise members with the various varietals available in the market and then get them to appreciate the wine for its expression of the grape variety used. Each new session will have a different theme once all the available varietals have been tasted.”
As the food and wine flowed, the space was soon abuzz with conversation and Sujata had to not-so-gently tap a wine glass to draw everyone’s attention to the next wine being served! As Sujata explained the nuances of each wine and answered queries, she encouraged members to ask more questions and interact with each other. Chef Kekade informally chatted with guests and also the staff who served the wines and food with great care. As the evening progressed into the night, the food and wine was consumed and new friends were made.
And then the parting question came up – the answer to which everyone wanted to know – when would the next meeting be?
For details on The GrapeWine Oenophiles write to [email protected] or call her at +91 99 700 02196