The Wine Society of India launches in Delhi

imperialoutside1.jpg The Wine Society of India kicked off its Delhi Launch with a grand reception at the Imperial Hotel. Avininder Singh was there to record the event.
Date: Friday 10th October 2008. Venue: The Grand Ballroom, Imperial Hotel. Time: 7.33pm. Location of self: Corner seat, 2nd row from back, in a section of the hall seating about 120.

Status of self: Shock & awe!! Nobody but nobody, in Delhi, reaches anywhere in time but what do we have here – three minutes past the designated start and the place is already overflowing.

Just goes to show you that Steven Spurrier and The Wine Society of India are a great draw. And the world of wine in Delhi does not lack for followers.
We kick off with an introduction by David Banford, Director, WSI, who emphasizes the Society’s three key objectives:
• Providing information and education about the wine world.
• Hosting events where wine and the wine experience are the focal points of an enjoyable social activity.
• The Four Seasons Wine Discoveries programme which arranges, for its Members, the supply of quality wine at value-for-money prices.
The next speaker is Steven Spurrier, the quintessential voice of wine appreciation and Chairman, Board of Wine Advisors, WSI, who has so much going for him that he needs no introduction. It’s his first visit to Delhi and he’s clearly happy to be here. A few well chosen words and he’s got the audience hooked.
8 pm and the festivities begin! WSI arranged for nine wines to be sampled. In no time at all we have over 300 people packing the Ballroom. For the most part these are genuine wine lovers, including ambassadors and high commissioners, socialites and wine professionals.
Bearing in mind Henny Youngman’s words, “When wine, women and song become too much for you, it’s time to give up singing”, I get down to tasting the wine.
What I personally liked – and would definitely buy:
• Bouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne Chardonnay 2006 – France: A sunny gold wine, floral but with a hint of green almonds.
• Pink Elephant Rosé 2006 – Portugal: Raspberry red, intensely fruity. Very popular.
• Juan Gil Pedrera Jumilla Monastrell 2005 – Spain: A deep, dark, ruby red, the nose lighter than one would expect, the attack wondrously deep and complex. Very satisfying and my favourite of the evening.
What I liked – and hope you will buy:
Since I love drinking other people’s wines here goes the second category.
• “U” by Usha Lavie, Cremant de Bordeaux, NV – France: A vibrant sparkling. A good start to the evening.
• Anakena Sauv. Blanc 2005 – Chile: A refreshingly smooth and crisp white, which lingers on the palate.
• Bouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2006 – France: Orangey red, persimmon and almonds, smooth and satisfying.
What I also liked:
• Chateau Gamage, Bordeaux 2005 – France
• Anakena Carmenère 2005 – Chile
• Waterford Estate Kevin Arnold Shiraz 2003 – South Africa: Bursting with expectation, this red wine and dark chocolate pairing was so popular, they finished their stock! Anyway, I had the chocolate for afters.
The Imperial did a very good job of the organization. The glasses were appropriate and more than adequate, spittoons a-plenty, wines at the right temperatures, graciously served. The canapés – amongst which the mushroom bouches and the mini quiche stood out – were very well received.
Read other coverage of the Society here and for membership information enter your details here.


  1. What a wonderful wine evening, and a good mix of happy people. The South African 2003 Shiraz vintage was my favourite, and enjoyed with the dark chocolate was a treat for my tastebuds.The Chilean Anakena Carmenere 2005 had a pleasurable nutty flavour, rich and full-bodied. And, without a flicker of hesitation, I have great pleasure in also declaring how much I enjoyed Pink Elephant, even though it was stationed on the balcony!

  2. Ajeet Pal Singh on

    Amazing event… Delhi wine lovers have been waiting for it all this while.
    Great Wines indeed .. my personal favourite was Chilean Anakena Carmenere 2005.
    My heartiest congratulations to WSI team and organizers for the success of this event.

  3. I think the Wine Society of India is a good idea and should catch on. When one thinks that a Grover’s La Reserve costs around 1800/- at a restaurant, the idea of getting good imported wines at approx 1200/- a throw twice a year is very appealing. You get to widen your taste experience at a reasonable price. And for people like me who are increasingly turned off by the idea of going out to restaurants anyway, it’s even better to be able to have a wider selection at home.
    I don’t care too much about the education bit; a little goes a long way 🙂

  4. Avininder Singh on

    Actually, Bunny ji, Gurgaon – where you live – is pretty much wine heaven!! There are excellent wine shops, not two kms. from where you stay where I could while away several hours selecting from over 150 brands in the Rs. 500 to Rs. 1200 price range.
    There are at least another 100 brands in the range Rs.1300 to Rs.5000.
    And this does not include our own Indian wines which are all, more or less, below Rs.500. In fact Ranjit Dhuru’s Chateau D’Ori range has just been launched in Gurgaon.
    Of course, if you want something really exclusive how about Joseph Phelps Insignia 30th Anniversary 2003 – California, at Rs.20,000 the bottle?
    This is not to devalue the Four Seasons Discoveries programme which is truly pathbreaking; just to show you that with a little time and effort you have some fantastic discoveries ready to be made in your own backyard!

  5. Usha Albuquerque on

    The Wine Society event was a fun evening and seems like an interesting concept. And, for a novice like me, a good way of getting to know more about some of the finer things of life!

  6. Thanks all for making this evening a success for us. We want to spread the good news about wines in India far and wide!

Leave A Reply