Whereas the previous edition
of Vinoble, the Sweet and Sherry wine show, one
did not see any other Indian in Jerez in May 2006, this
year one producer even participated as an exhibitor
from Holland, reports Subhash Arora who was present at
the bi-annual event.
I was a bit taken aback when a few people addressed me as Sahib at
the gala reception on the eve of the opening of the 4-day
Show, on 24th May. The term is the Indian way of addressing
someone politely and respectfully, like an esquire in UK or
Don in Spain though that word is used only with the first
I was perplexed when a couple of them asked me if I was the Sahib. It
was only when I met the Sahib that the puzzle was solved. Rajiv Kaushik,
the proprietor of Sahib Wines and Spirits hails from Delhi but lives
in Netherland for the last 15 years and was the sole Indian exhibitor,
albeit listed from his country of abode.
Rajiv, as I concluded during the next two days was in paradise. Not
only does he produce wine he claims are suitable for Indian spicy foods,
he has also developed red sweet wines as well as liqueurs from alphonso
mangoes, cardamom and rose which have an alcohol content of 20-28%.
He was being hounded by many restaurateurs and importers who wanted
to become his agent for Spain. He is in no hurry to oblige. 'I am telling
them to take it slowly and order a pallet or two and try it out before
we can discuss the distribution arrangements.'
He claims to be selling well in several Indian restaurants throughout
Europe. Son of an Ayurvedic doctor, he uses Vedas as the back ground
for the history and formulation of wine. 'I had been studying various
processes to make a wine that would go well with spicy Indian food and
did research for 4 years.' His efforts seem to have paid off.
I tasted his wine with Haldiram namkeen, fairly spicy Indian
snacks, and I must admit the compatibility was very much there, even
though I won't say the same for synergy which many Italian wines provide
with Italian food. Coupled with low prices, he should be able to create
a niche in the Indian market too, though I won't give his sweet red
wine much of a chance of roaring success despite his claim that the
sweetness makes it best choice with spices.
If and when he decides to come to India, the labels which are rather
exotic for Europe would need to go overhauling as they remind one more
of Pan Parag, Prince Pan and Mughale- Azham's Anarkali rather
than wine-talking of which it is fine to call it table wine in Europe
but in India, it wont cut it as a quality wine in India. With no known
origins- he gets them produced in Italy and Spain with grapes he would
not rather tell (the typical Ayurvedic style) his secrets, it is on
the lines of Ayurvedic medicines, which will find many believers as
takers, but nearly not enough.
Rajiv may be contacted at email@example.com