5 QUESTIONS FOR SHAAMBHAVI HINGORANI
Shaambhavi Hingorani, director, SDU Winery, says that wine is steadily gaining distiction as the tipple of choice among urban Indians.
1. How did you get interested in the wine business?
I started as an agriculturist with a dream of setting up my own boutique winery. When the right circumstances came about, I took the plunge without a second thought. I know it’s a very challenging business but I have strong passion for wines and am deeply committed to my work.
2. What are the biggest roadblocks for wine producers in India?
The storage of wine is a huge problem in our industry. Then excise duties from state to state are another big hurdle. Since India joined the World Trade Organisation, import tariffs in the country have been remarkably reduced, thus enabling foreign exporters to tap into India’s vast consumer market. But I have no doubts that Indian winemakers can create excellent wine brands, with a focus on quality and consistency.
3. Indians are not essentially wine drinkers. Do you feel this has changed in recent years?
The Indian wine industry has been growing steadily over the past ten years and wine is gradually becoming a part of the urban Indian lifestyle. The Indian consumer today is well travelled and this has provided them with exposure to new cultures, experiences and dining habits. Wine drinking is fast catching on with the newer as well as older generation. The desire to experience something new, coupled with the changing food and beverage scene in the country over the past few years has undeniably given consumers the opportunity to experiment and try out new things. The shift from hard liquor to wines has already begun.
4. There’s a belief that Indian cuisine does not go well with wine. Do you agree?
It is actually quite the opposite. Indian food pairs very well with certain wines, especially Indian wines. Because they are very fresh and easy to drink they go well with mildly spiced Indian food. Be it a tandoori dish or a korma, our wines complement Indian food very well. Many restaurants are now pairing Indian dishes with wine and several wine and food festivals are also being held to promote this culture.
5. What are your favourite wines?
There are too many to choose. The Penfolds range from Australia. Cloudy Bay from New Zealand. Warwick from South Africa. Robert Mondavi from Napa Valley. And, of course, my own wines –- Deva Cabernet Sauvignon, Deva Syrah and Deva Chardonnay.
The Indian wine industry has been steadily growing over the past ten years and wine is gradually becoming a part of the urban Indian’s lifestyle... The shift from hard liquor to wines has