India Wine Challenge 2008 Being Launched

The second edition of India Wine Challenge will be launched in the evening, on February 27 at the Agni Bar, Hotel Park by Robert Joseph, Chairman of the IWC and founder of the International Wine Challenge. The forum where all wine importers and Indian producers are invited, will be an occasion to interact with Robert who is an international wine expert and has written 26 books on the subject. He has also conducted over 50 such challenges internationally and it is always a wonderful experience meeting him and learning about the wonderful world of wine. He also judges dozens of competitions every year.

The first ever international wine competition- the IWC was conducted in London and Delhi in 2007 in conjunction with IFE- India (the annual international food and drinks exhibition at Pragati Maidan, Delhi). In all likelihood the similar pattern would be followed for the India Wine Challenge-2008 unless the customs and excise procedures are simplified at the time of holding the competition in November.

There were 350 wine samples presented at the first IWC, including 35 from 10 wineries in India. Indian samples were sent to Delhi whereas the foreign wine samples were submitted in London, at the headquarters of Montgomery International. By every account, the event was very successful in his maiden attempt.

The occasion will also present an opportunity to clarify any doubts that might have arisen during the first event last year. The biggest confusion in people's mind had been their assumption that the competition was only for Indian wines. Many thought that only the wines being imported to India could be entered. Clarifying this confusion logically, Robert says,' the competition is open to any wine, produced anywhere in the world. It is not necessary that it must be already existent in India. Logically only those producers will take part, who have an interest in India. It is a great opportunity for the India wineries to find out the taste of the experts and if there are any flaws in their wines.'

A special concession had been made in that a separate category was created for only Indian wines, which is not an international practice.

The cost of entering the labels is an issue that dogged many importers and smaller producers. Although the competition lost money last year-the customs duties, transportation, venue costs, travel etc take away a major portion of expenses, 'I agree that we should encourage larger numbers of entries from Indian companies so we can look at discounts/rebates for these,' agrees Robert

Many suggestions have come from producers and importers. Ranjit Gupta, Director of the importing firm Amfora wines, suggests that 'if three prizes have to be given in a category then there must at least be 7-8 entries in that category. At 8 wines entered three prize would make total prizes 37%. If there are only 3-4 wines then only the best should have an award. He would also like to se reducing costs of submitting more number of samples.'

Robert Joseph understands the Indian psyche and is willing to consider the suggestions very democratically 'so long as they do not dilute the quality of the competition and do not in any way compromise the blindness and neutrality'. There will be no compromise in the professionalism, however.

If you are an importer or a producer, the launch offers a great opportunity to help improve and indigenize the competition which is here to stay and is slated to become stronger and more relevant over the years.

For further details regarding the launch click here

Subhash Arora




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