|“Wine drinking is at a nascent stage in India. There is a lot of curiosity about it, and at times guests are a bit hesitant to try out wines. A lot of mystery has been created around wines by traditional wineries and wine makers”, says Avijit Chaturvedi, Vice President-Operations, The O Hotel, Pune. Brinda Gill has the story for Sommelier India.|
And to bring wines closer to diners at Kitsch, the all-day dining restaurant, at the hotel, officially launched on 9th August 2008, is the tear-drop shaped, ceiling to floor glass enclosed wine cellar adjoining the bar in the restaurant.
Rows of wine bottles-red, white and rose- within the cellar catch the eye inviting diners to try out pairing wine with their food. In addition to the wine cellar that stocks bottles is a small wine cooler for chilling white wines that are to be served; different shelves of the wine cooler have different temperatures to match the requirements of different wines.
The wine cellar is enclosed by 22 feet high toughened glass; it is temperature controlled to 16 to 18 degrees and can stock upto 1000 bottles. “It has been designed to display a range of wines, showcase the collection of the hotel’s cellar, be a focal point of the bar and a starting point of a conversation”, says Chaturvedi.
The cellar presently has a selection of about 70 labels of international wines from vineyards across the world and about 15 labels of Indian wines. The international wines include Cloudy Bay varietals from New Zealand; wines from Beringer Stone vineyards in Napa Valley; a selection of wines from Chianti, Italy; red Barolo wines, from Piedmont, Italy; red wines from Mendosa, Argentina; Chardonnay from Green Point, Victoria, Australia; Howling Wolf Cabernet Sauvignon; and wines from Bordeaux and from Meursault, Burgundy.
While the wines have been specially selected pair well with the variety of cuisines served at the hotel, the aim of the glass cellar within the restaurant is to engage diners in trying out a variety of wines. “As the first impact of food is with the eyes, similarly we hope the visual impact of the wine cellar will invite guests to try out wines”.
The restaurant has plans to introduce wine tasting menus to engage guests in enjoying wine as well as food and wine pairings. The special wine tasting menu will feature a selection of wines: either one particular variety from different vineyards in a region; one particular variety from different vineyards across the world; or different varieties from one vineyard with a choice of food to pair with the selection of wines.
In the coming months the cellar will see the addition of new wine varieties. “We are selecting wines from vineyards across the world, from well-known wineries and less known wineries. We would like to serve the finest wines to our guests and wines that pair well with the food that we serve in our different restaurants; be it Continental, Indian or Japanese cuisine. We hope to have an award-wining wine list as we build the selection”, says Chaturvedi.