It was Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the United States who said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.
Her gamble of leaving behind a lucrative career in the corporate world to pursue the title of MW, the most coveted accolade in the world of wine and the toughest to achieve, paid off. Only because she invested in herself.
By instituting a world-class competition like the India Wine Awards which recognizes and celebrates the best of wines and wine programmes in the country, Sonal is now paying back her dues and in the process, doing a yeoman service for the Indian wine industry.
At the heart of IWA, India’s most authoritative wine competition led by a jury of industry experts is consumer empowerment. Because at the end of the day, it is the wine consumer who matters the most.
Since the wine culture in India is still at a nascent stage, the consumer needs a guiding hand when it comes to purchasing wine. This is where the relevance of Sonal Holland’s India Wine Awards, comes in.
Built on the four cornerstones of authenticity, credibility, relevance and integrity, they play a very important role, by recognizing noteworthy wines being produced in India as well as imported wines coming into the country.
The 3rd edition of India Wine Awards held on 5th Oct 2019, at the Grand Ballroom at The Leela Mumbai, saw 116 wines being awarded out of a total of 376 wine nominations. Out of these 17 wines had top scores in the competition results and were judged “Best in Show”.
The wines entered in the competition were judged over two days, on 12th & 13th September 2019, at The Leela Mumbai, by a 17 member panel chaired by Sonal Holland MW, comprising of wine professionals, hospitality leaders and tastemakers. I was honoured to be a part of this prestigious jury.
Similar to most international wine competitions, the tastings were done blind without any knowledge of producer, region or quality level, thus fulfilling the important competition criteria of integrity and credibility.
This was also the first time that Indian wines were tasted together with International wines in the same flight, at comparable price points. Here the wine flights were defined by the grape variety or blend.
Every wine was allowed an equal opportunity to shine, making India Wine Awards, India’s first awards to recognise that at comparable price-points, well-made premium Indian wines are on par with international ones for their world-class attributes.
These were the 17 Diamond Best in Show Wines, with 5 Indian wines finding a place of pride in this list.
- Grover Zampa Chêne Grand Réserve 2015, India.
- J’NOON Red 2017, India.
- The Source Grenache Rosé 2019, India.
- KRSMA Syrah 2017, India.
- SDU Reserva Syrah 2015, India.
The Best in Show Imported Wines in this list were:
- Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2015, Italy.
- Bodegas Ego Fuerza, Spain.
- Paul Jabuolet Aine, Les Traverses AOC, 2016, France.
- Framingham Pinot Noir Marlborough, New Zealand.
- Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Vines Zinfandel, USA.
- Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2018, Argentina.
- G.H.Mumm NV, France.
Best in Show-Italian Selection.
- Zenato Soave Classico, Veneto.
- Carpene Malvolti Prosecco Spacial Cuvee Brut DOC.
- Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore.
- Itinera Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.
- Sensi Boscoselvo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
For the wine consumer in India, it is extremely important to know which are the restaurants with the best wine lists and also the best wine destinations.
Consumer-centric India Wine Awards, through its “Excellence in Restaurant Wine Program” component, awards the best in the business.
The winners at IWA 2019 were:
Outstanding World-Class Wine List.
- The Table, Mumbai.
- Le Cirque, The Leela Palace New Delhi.
- Polo Club, The Oberoi Bengaluru.
- Wasabi by Morimoto, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai.
- Elan, The Lodhi New Delhi.
- Indian Accent, New Delhi.
Best Wine Destination Award
- Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Mumbai.
- Romano’s, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.
- The Wine Company, Gurugram.
- Pluck, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity.
- Toscano, Bengaluru,
- Caprese, Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru.
- Cecconi’s, Mumbai.
India Wine Awards is also the only wine competition in the country that features a unique food and wine pairing section, where nominated wines are paired with food dishes popular in India, to judge their compatibility.
In the 3rd edition of IWA, Sushi, Kung Pao Chicken, Pizza, Haleem, Thai Green Curry and Fabelle Chocolates were paired with 56 wines from which 8 trophy winners emerged.
Click here for the complete list of all the 116 award-winning wines.
IWA medal stickers have been introduced for all silver, gold and diamond best in show trophy winners, which can be affixed on award-winning wines. These will help consumers distinguish excellent wines from ordinary ones.
The awards night conducted with flair and panache on the 5th Oct at The Leela Mumbai was a spectacular finale to the India Wine Awards 2019. The event which was strictly, “by invitation only”, was attended by notable personalities from the wine and hospitality and also Stefania Costanza, Consul General of Italy in Mumbai and Uday Verma, Executive Director at Lucaris Crystal, the official glassware partner for IWA 2019.
The night saw the presence of two eminent guests Ian Harris, CEO of WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) and Ravi Viswanathan, Chairman of Grover Zampa Vineyards, who flew down from London and Singapore respectively, to attend the event. Rajeev Samant, Founder & CEO of Sula Vineyards and Kapil Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines sent their congratulatory messages showing the widespread support that India Wine Awards enjoys among the wine fraternity.
Here’s wishing Sonal Holland MW and her team success for future editions of India Wine Awards. Hope they remain as credible and relevant as they are now.
By: Lavina Kharkwal