The state of Victoria in Australia, sent a full-strength team on a trade mission to India between November 21 – 27, 2010. One of its most successful stops was Bangalore, where they hosted a food and wine evening at Vivanta by Taj, MG Road reports Ruma Singh.
Pictured left: Josef Orbach of Broken Gate Wines
The food and beverage mission is the largest to visit India from Victoria with 46 delegates (food and beverage producers, importers, and food services, including education). This is the first of many planned missions that will be undertaken by Victoria as part of the India Engagement Strategy to strengthen India-Victoria trade relations.
Beside well-known food companies, wine lovers in Bangalore were eager to meet and sample the wares from several of Australia’s top winemakers and distributors, including Scotchmans Hill, Ada River Wines, Bacchus Distillery, Beechworth Cider and Amulet Vineyard, Diminique Portet, Pfeifer Wines. Sommelier India met up with a few representatives from the wine industry during the evening.
Pictured, right: Mark Morley, International Market Manager, Regional Development Victoria, D D Saxena of Bidgeebong Winery in Australia, Geoffrey Conaghan, Victorian Commissioner to India
Jenny Polack, marketing manager of Ada River Wines was upbeat about the Indian market. The family owned company makes wines in two regions – Gippsland (Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay) and Heathcote, which is well suited to long-living red varietals like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
“We believe our wines will match Indian foods because of their softer tannins,” she said, offering an invitation to Indian wine lovers to visit their Cellar Door tasting room at Neerim South, easily accessible from Melbourne.
Scotchmans Hill, reputed wine distributors of labels like Swan Bay, Hill, and Marlborough’s well-known Pebble Bay Sauvignon Blanc was making its presence felt that evening. Gavin Stuart, National Retail Accounts manager said their own wines (Cornelius, Single Vineyard) were reminiscent of those quality wines from Mornington Peninsula, which enjoyed a similar climate. Wines made by them have been rated 5-star by Australian wine critic, James Halliday.
“Our Pebble Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is the highest seller in Australia,” he said, indicating that their Shiraz wines from McLaren Vale and their Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs are likely to pair very well with Indian food.
Fresh from a positive experience in China was Broken Gate’s Josef Orbach. In China, his wines (called Side Gate, as the Chinese believe ‘broken’, denotes bad luck) have been seeing great success, whie his pithily titled, Little Sweetie wine has already won over the Chinese entry level market.
“Women wine drinkers, especially, have loved Little Sweetie,” he said, “Today, women are making all the family shopping decisions, especially about supermarket buys, and I think a wine that appeals to them, makes them feel comfortable because it’s so simple and user-friendly, and will work in India too.”
He will be starting with a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in India, he said, and hopes that his China experiences will help vis-a-vis the Indian market. “The Chinese love the big, bold red wines,” he said, explaining that there was no dip in his wine sales in China at the peak of the economic slowdown. Pictured, left: Wines from Victoria
As for his personal mantra, “I know we need to over-deliver on wine quality. I must give quality that is way above the price point here. That’s my message in a bottle.”
India can now look forward to the bounty of wines and good foods from Victoria along with more visits from their winemakers in the not-too-distant future.