of getting quality imported wines in Chennai due to
draconian state laws, wine enthusiasts have been motivated
by the existing clubs like Delhi Wine Club and those
in Bangalore and Chandigarh etc. and are ready to
form one in Chennai.
Arjun Raja is President of Alliance Francaise
of Madras. A wine enthusiast, he makes it a point
to visit some vineyard and attend wine tasting sessions
during his visits to France. He hopes to attend a
few training programs this year in Loire valley.
He also hopes to see his dream of
forming Chennai Wine Club soon. Towards this goal,
he organised the first ever wine appreciation workshop
with a guided tasting session for the general public
of Chennai last week in which the participants were
given a basic wine introduction.
It was highly successful, partly
he admits, because it was a novelty and was free of
cost. 'We had a tremendous response and finally we
could manage to accommodate only 65 due to shortage
of space, glasses and wine bottles.'
'We had people who tasted wine for
the first time and we also had people who drink wine
at least 3-4 times a week. It was an interesting session
and everyone enjoyed!' says Arjun.
'We tasted Sula Sauvignon Blanc,
Grover Reserve 2004 and 2005 (to make people understand
the difference in taste). We plan to include French
wines in the next session which I will organise on
the 8th March.'
The workshop was conducted by Dr.
Bruno Monange, a connoisseur who also owns a small
vineyard in Burgundy. He is very knowledgeable about
Burgundy wines and has conducted many wines tasting
sessions. He visits India frequently to help an NGO
which treats poor patients in Haveri, Karnataka.
Bruno spoke of the entire wine making
process including the general nature of wine culture
in France, technical aspects about processing wine,
different types of wine, how to choose wine, how to
drink, how to appreciate and also the social aspects
of wine drinking.
One hopes that the audience is as
enthusiastic when they have to pay for their wines
like the members of Delhi Wine Club do. Ask Balaji
Rao, the President of Hyderabad Wine club and the
frustration shows on his face. 'People just don't
want to pay money for good wines,' he laments. It
is to his credit that he continues the crusade.
With a little bit of help from friends
like the Delhi Wine Club, Arjun who had met its President,
Subhash Arora at IFE-India in December, 2007 to discuss
the working of the club and was completely motivated
to start one in his city, one hopes to see Chennai
soon on the India wine clubs map.