Being a sommelier from India, since I started my career as a Professional Sommelier. It was always embarrassment/discomfort that I have not tasted a wine from India. In earlier stage of my hospitality career I drunk few Indian wines, but I won’t count his as a tasting rather I would say I drunk because I was not educated enough to understand its quality and beauty of Indian wines.
I am working as a Sommelier in Maldives, which is the most beautiful serious of islands in Indian Ocean, and the Tourism is the 2nd major industry in this Paradise, Almost all the Hotels/resorts have a decent collections of wines according to their cliental, But the top resorts have their own style, and have prestigious ranges of most rare and extreme collection of global wines in “Q” to make more memorable holiday for their guests. Unfortunately Indian wines are doesn’t have their own identity and demand in this Country, so the availability.
Once I was so close to taste a Indian wine, Six month ago we received a bottle of Indian wine from Local wine supplier for a tasting purpose, I was so excited to taste that wine, but due to business need I have to leave the island for a week, during my absence the wine was tasted by Resort F&B Manager and Rest of Sommelier Team and they didn’t liked it, as in my Resort we decide the quality and acceptance of the new wines by blind tasting by dedicated tasting panel which includes Sommelier, chef and F&B Manager, So the Panel was not satisfied with the Indian wine according to our food selection and Market enforcement, in result I miss the chance to taste.
I have not tasted Indian wine, As a Sommelier and wine lover I always follow the updates of Indian wines and Wine trends in India, during my conversation and interaction with my guest. I always mention about Indian wines and its changes, growth, happenings of Indian wine Industries and often I compare with few new world examples, which makes me, feel proud. Most of them enjoys the conversation and shows interests, but some of my guests even don’t know that India makes Wines. Bitter Truth!!
Apparently Eight out of Ten my guests who travelled well around the world and has good understanding about wines, always asked one question, which is
“Have you tasted Indian Wines???” or “Tell me your tasting experience of Indian Wines???”
I always kept on saying “NO”, or I have to answer based on what I read in articles or from the Wine Maker’s notes, which is not my style.
I express about wine, based on my own observation and tasting experience, which makes me more comfort and confidant. I believe in this and it’s worked so far, but I never disrespect the global wine critics, wine writers, and Sommeliers Notes about particular wine.
So far with my work experience I could manage to taste Wines from the entire Major regions of the world. So I have enough confident to and skill to describe the wine which I tasted, and have ability to remember them.
In September 2016 after my Hong Kong trip I got 4 extra days, so I planned to travel Bengaluru (India), Having in my mind that I have to taste some Indian wines. With lots of excitement and motivation, even I travelled to Nandi Hills where few wineries are located in this Part of India. But unfortunately I catch cold, so my senses are gone for holidays, In this condition of my health even if I taste the wine I will only able to taste the alcohol, nothing else. So I have to skip my tasting plan due to my bad health condition.
So when I am going to taste Indian Wine?
When I am going to quench my Thirst of Indian Wine?
Then again I got opportunity a month later in end of October 2016, I was in India to celebrate the festival of Lights known as “Diwali”, Returning to home after 8 months, makes you very busy in meeting friends and relations and in spending valuable time with family members. And my whole vacation is about to finish, but still I didn’t taste any wine.
My Family is typical South Indian and very culture oriented family, according to them having Non – Vegetarian and alcohol is against to culture and God(s), on top of this my Younger Brother is a Doctor and he is teetotaler, For health concern he recommend not to consume alcohol, so I keep hiding from them that I do consume alcohol.
If I want to drink alcohol I have to do it secretly, after all availability of wines in local alcohol shop is nightmare. As the Distributions of alcohol in my state is under state government. So they decide to sell what gives them more profit and more focused on spirits as most of Citizens drinks to just get drunken. Options of international and Indian wines in those shops are unfamiliar. Even though they call it wine shop but they sell only spirits and Beers. Star Hotels listed Indian wines in their Beverage menu, You can buy and drink for unimaginable, Those hotels rarely hear the name of sommelier so no one to give deep explanations about wine and its origins.
At home it’s not a common practice to having wine before dinner or during dinner in India. So the options are for me to taste Indian wine with proper tasting experience is to travel near by states that have wine growing regions. So I can taste the wine from Winery.
And here are my struggles which was associated with my Thirst of Tasting Indian Wines on Next Blog I will share you my First Tasting experience of Indian Wine.