Tag Archives: Sula Selections

SulaFest 2017: 10th edition of this Gourmet Music & Wine Festival to get bigger & better.

If there is one company that has put India firmly on the world wine tourism map, it is Rajeev Samant’s Sula Vineyards, situated in Nashik, Maharashtra. And if there is one event which has taken snobbery out of wine drinking and succeeded in attracting hordes of youngsters to this magical beverage, it is SulaFest, held every year on the first weekend of February, since 2008 in the idyllic environs of Sula Vineyards.

The 10th edition of this trendy wine, music and food extravaganza is just two days away. It promises to be its best ever, looking at the exciting line-up of 120 international and national music artists slated to play at the festival. The setup in 2017 is bigger too, as the festival is spread over three days 3rd 4th and 5th February, compared to the previous two day format.

To accommodate the large number of artists, befitting a “World Music Festival”, three stages have been constructed, a Greek style Amphitheatre, Atmasphere and a new addition, Tropical Stage. Some of the renowned artists performing at SulaFest 2017 will be Bloc Party, an indie rock band from London, Dana Ruh and the Israeli duo with a catchy name “Infected Mushroom”.

Indian artists will be out in full force on Day 1 (3rd Feb) of the fest, when homegrown talent like Indian Ocean, Nucleya, The Raghu Dixit Project will be setting the stage on fire (not literally I hope)

Music across all genres will be featured, from techno, house, electronica, indie, reggae, afro, world fusion to psychedelic trance. Along with wine, this promises to be quite a heady combination.

Complete day wise artist line-up of SulaFest 2017 on 3rd 4th & 5th Feb 2017
Complete day wise artist line-up of SulaFest 2017 on 3rd 4th & 5th Feb 2017

Talking of wine, which of course will be there in plenty, there will be grape stomping sessions since it is harvest season at the winery, winery tours and organised wine tastings. Sula sold nearly a million cases of wine in 2016 and SulaFest is a great occasion to showcase its various labels and make people understand how that bottle gets from the vineyard to the table. It is also an exposure to Nashik, Maharashtra (about four hours drive from Mumbai), India’s most important wine growing region which many term as India’s own Napa Valley.

However, wine will not be the only beverage served. There will be other spirits too like Mount Gay Rum, Asahi Beer, Cognac all imported through Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards. For teetotallers and health freaks, cold press juices from Raw Pressery will satiate your thirst.

And there will be food. Plenty of it from popular Mumbai restaurants like Bombay Food Truck, Mainland China, Busago, Maroosh, Woodside Inn and lots more.

There is a “Tent City” that has been set up amidst the vineyards, complete with a little weekend flea market “SulaFest Bazaar”. What you can expect to enjoy here are Sunrise Yoga Sessions, SulaFest Run and Foot Massages. There will be a Tarot Card reader to give you a little peek into your future.

The three day affair promises to be a lot of fun. The romance of a vineyard setting is unparalleled as it is. Couple that with great music and food and it becomes intoxicating. You will not know till you experience it.

To book tickets (hopefully there will be some left still as last few years have been completely sold out) here is the link.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Globe in a Glass : Wine & Spirits Roadshow 2016 by Sula Selections

The festive season has well and truly kicked off with Sula’s “Globe in a Glass”. Trust them to pull off their first ever Wine & Spirits Roadshow with such aplomb.

Even the sultry Delhi weather could not put a dampener on the enjoyment and one could hear the guests rave about how well organised and how much fun the event was. I am talking about the Delhi leg of Sula’s day-long wine and spirits event which took place on 3rd October 2016 at Lodi, The Garden Restaurant.

From Delhi the three city roadshow travelled to Bangalore on October 5. It will conclude  today in Mumbai.

While Sula Vineyards is India’s largest wine producer with a projected sales figure of 12 million bottles in the year 2016 and commands a lion’s share of nearly 60% of the domestic market, it is also one of the leading importers of wine and spirits in the country, through its import arm Sula Selections.

It is the most visible wine brand in India and to gauge how well recognized it is let’s just say that Sula is to wine what Colgate is to toothpaste in terms of brand recall.

Team Sula at Globe in a Glass Roadshow 2016
Team Sula at Globe in a Glass Roadshow 2016

This event was a showcase of Sula’s domestic and international portfolio where the invitees got to taste 40 wines and 20 spirits from all across the globe. It was a great way to reach out to consumers and help them connect with the suppliers, brand managers and wine makers.

Prestigious international wine brands like Cono Sur from Chile, Trapiche from Argentina, Accolade Wine company’s popular brands Hardys of Australia, Mud House from New Zealand , Kumala from South Africa and Ruffino from Italy, Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Bouchard Aine & Fils, and Le Grand Noir from France were represented by their spokespersons. The event offered a splendid opportunity to engage with them and learn more about these products.

Wines from across the world. In the picture Emma Hammonds and Ann-Marie Battista Sharp from Accolade Wines.
Wines from across the world imported by Sula Selections. In the picture Emma Hammonds and Ann-Marie Battista Sharp from Accolade Wines.

There was an entire spectrum of spirits from rum, tequila, cognac, whiskey to liqueurs. Prominent brands represented were Remy Martin Cognac, Antica Sambuca, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum from Barbados, Don Alejandro Tequila, William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich, Grant’s, Hendrick’s Gin, Monkey Shoulder-only Mumbai). Janus and J Brandy were only for Bangalore.

An interesting addition to Sula Selection’s spirits portfolio is Brazil’s famous Cachaça brand Pitú represented by third generation family owner Maria das Vitórias Cavalcanti. Cachaça (kah-sha-sa) is a popular Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane juice which can be had on its own or used to make a variety of cocktails like Caipirinha (ky-per-een-yah).

Maria very sweetly took on the role of bartender and was seen making some refreshing Pitú based cocktails. In fact there were some interesting rum, vodka and tequila based cocktails on offer at the Sula Roadshow 2016.

Spirits portfolio of Sula Selections. In the picture Maria das Vitorias Cavalcanti from Pitu Brazil and Nick Rees Marketing Manager Remy Cointreau with Pankaj Tripathi of Sula Selections.
Spirits portfolio of Sula Selections. In the picture Maria das Vitorias Cavalcanti from Pitu Brazil and Nick Rees Marketing Manager Remy Cointreau with Pankaj Tripathi of Sula Selections.

Cecilia Oldne, Vice President Marketing & Global Brand Ambassador at Sula Vineyards called “Globe in a Glass” a “global experience put together by Sula for our valued customers”. She said that they plan to make the event into  an annual affair as it was “a fun way to bring together sommeliers, ambassadors, oenophiles and people who want to learn more about these products”.

Cecilia Oldane, VP Marketing & Brand Ambassador Sula with Ajoy Show, Chief winemaker Sula Vineyards. Representatives from Accolade Wines, Bouchard Aine & Fils, Le Grand Noir and Trapiche ; Team Sula Selection
Cecilia Oldne, VP Marketing & Brand Ambassador Sula with Ajoy Show, Chief winemaker Sula Vineyards. Representatives from Accolade Wines, Bouchard Aine & Fils, Le Grand Noir and Trapiche ; Team Sula Selection

And there is no denying that Sula does value its customers. What a great way to bring people together over wine.

I just hope that the next edition of the Wine & Spirits Roadshow is a ticketed event open to public where wine lovers get a chance to taste the different wines on offer. More and more events like this will go a long way towards developing a wine  culture in India.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Credit for some photos goes to Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury, Head of Marketing International Brands and Head of Trade Marketing Domestic Wines at Sula Vineyards

Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon launched in India by Sula Selections

What does a wine consumer want most? Doesn’t take much guessing. It’s the availability of quality wine at reasonable prices. Wine need not be expensive to be good value. In fact a vast majority of Indians prefer “new world” exporters like Chile to expensive French labels, as Chilean wines offer excellent value for price.

The most recent launch of Chilean red wine Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections will gladden the hearts of a lot of Indian wine lovers as it is exceptionally well-priced (Rs 1430). The wine is medium-bodied, fruity & supple with good length, depth, soft tannins and moderate acidity levels. A touch of toasted oak, vanilla, sweet spices and a hint of chocolate & coffee make it delicious and a good match for mildly spiced Indian food.

One good thing about Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is that it can be enjoyed even when it a year or two old unlike those from the Old World which tend to be more tannic and less approachable when young. Cabernet Sauvignon, or Cab Sav as it is popularly referred to, is the most famous red wine grape in the world. It was on this French grape varietal that the Chilean wine industry was built. In fact Chile produces more Cab Sav than the US and is second only to France in vineyard area dedicated to this varietal.

For the launch of this latest label, Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon, the Export Manager Asia of Vina Cono Sur SA, José Tomás Gillet, had flown in from Shanghai, where he is based. At an exclusive function held at the office of ProChile India, an institution in charge of promoting the export of Chilean products & services, select few wine professionals were treated to a range of Cono Sur wines available in India. These are imported by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards. The function was graced by Chilean ambassador to India H.E Andres Barbe and Director ProChile Carolina Vasquez.

Launch of Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections at Embassy of Chile New Delhi. With Carolina Vasquez Director ProChile India, H.E Andres Barbe Gonzalez Ambassador of Chile & Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur
Launch of Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections at Embassy of Chile New Delhi. With Carolina Vasquez Director ProChile India, H.E Andres Barbe Gonzalez Ambassador of Chile & Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur

Burgundian style Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir has already been in the market and impressed people with its finesse and quality. Cono Sur is the biggest producer of Pinot Noir in the world with as many as 8 different labels. One of Chile’s top wine makers Adolfo Hurtado is their chief maker and also the General Manager of the company. The “Bicicleta” range honours the vineyard employees who come into work each day on their bicycles, from the neighbouring town of Chimbarongo, located 160 kms south of Santiago in the Colchagua province of Chile.

Cono Sur which means Southern Cone (a geographic region referring to the southern most areas of South America) was established in 1993 as a subsidiary of the South American wine giant Concha y Toro. Talking about the winery, José Tomás Gillet, or JT as he is called said that it was winning accolades and awards for its commitment to sustainability as organic & sustainable management of vineyards is fundamental to Cono Sur’s philosophy. Their innovative wines express the spirit and vision of New World wines. They have a project in place to reduce carbon footprint and were the first winery in South America to receive two ISO certifications, one for quality and the other for environmental policies.

Enjoying Cono Sur Wines at Embassy of Chile New Delhi with Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur
Enjoying Cono Sur Wines at Embassy of Chile New Delhi with Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur

For all these efforts Cono Sur was chosen “Green Company of the Year 2011” by the prestigious British Drinks magazine who also included them in the list of World’s Most Admired Wine Brands for the year 2015.

Cono Sur knows that sustainability is the way forward. They also know that as long as they keep giving quality wine at affordable prices they will go from strength to strength winning both admirers and garnering big sales.

By : Lavina Kharkwal

Cono Sur Range of Wines available in India

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay : Rs 1210 in Delhi ; Rs 1500 in Gurgaon ; Rs 1490 in Mumbai & Rs 1260 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir : Rs 1300 in Delhi ; Rs 1500 in Gurgaon ; Rs 1600 in Mumbai & Rs 1290 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon : Rs 1430 in Delhi ; Rs 1490 in Mumbai & Rs 1200 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Tocornal Merlot : Rs 1150 in Delhi & Rs 1500 in Gurgaon

You may also like the following articles on Chilean Wines in India

https://highonwines.com/2015/07/15/cono-sur-bicicleta-sula-selections-brings-the-official-wine-of-tour-de-france-to-india/

https://highonwines.com/2015/12/07/chilean-wine-masterclass-by-prochile-india-at-jw-marriott-new-delhi-aerocity/

https://highonwines.com/2014/11/06/chilean-wine-food-festival-2014-wine-tasting-at-the-lalit-new-delhi/

 

Trapiche Wines from Sula Selections : Malbecs and more

Argentina for me is the three M’s Maradona, Messi and Malbec. Of course there is much more to this beautiful country but then I am a wine lover and a football addict. So my interest stops right there.

While the birth place of both the legendary footballers is Argentina, not so of the grape varietal Malbec which comes from Bordeaux France. In fact, in the pre-phylloxera Bordeaux wines, Malbec was used more than Merlot, imparting spice and color to the blend. Now Malbec does not figure much in Red Bordeaux even though it is one of the six varietals legally permitted in the blend along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.

Malbec is now the superstar of the South American wine industry and the “national varietal” of Argentina. This is where the cépage has found glory and reached its full potential. And when you talk of Malbec and Argentina it is but natural that Trapiche comes to mind. Trapiche is Argentina’s leading wine brand and its oldest and biggest winery. They are also the largest Malbec producers in Argentina making “value wines” suited to every palate and every wallet.

Located in Mendoza at the foothills of Andes Mountains Trapiche Winery (pronounced with the “e” at the end) was established in 1883 and has been running continuously since then. It owns 1,000 ha of its own vineyards, exports 27 million cases to more than 80 countries around the world and has the largest varietal portfolio in South America. Their Single-Vineyard Malbec created by winemaker Daniel Pi is, according to Wine Spectator, “the best wines that Trapiche has ever produced” and the most awarded Malbec from Argentina.

Even though Single Vineyard Malbec is not yet available in India, what we have here are four wines from Trapiche imported by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards; Malbec, Oak Cask Malbec, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

Trapiche Malbec (Rs 1270) is a bright ruby color wine with violet hints.  A decent wine that you order on a casual night out with friends, it has crème de cassis, plum, pepper and mocha on the palate. It is a great introduction for those who are not familiar with Malbec, a rich fruity jammy style with soft tannins . Though this one is a little one dimensional in terms of structure, it goes well with medium spicy dishes and even pizzas and pastas.

Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec (Rs 1580) aged for 9 months in French & American oak barrels has that intense purple color which makes Malbec so easy to identify in blind tastings. I would call it a great value for money wine. Smooth with velvety tannins you get ripe juicy dark plum, black cherries, blackberry and some lovely vanilla. Oak is present but does not overpower the fruit. It has a spicy finish with a touch of nutmeg, chocolate, leather, mocha and smoke and pairs well with steaks, sizzlers and South Indian Curries especially Chettinad lamb.

It was the Trapiche Pinot Grigio (Rs 1080) which took me by surprise as this is not a varietal that you look for from a country like Argentina. A highly quaffable wine with refreshing acidity and crispness it made a great pairing with the brilliant faux Ferrero Rocher that the three J’s Chef Jatin Mallick, Chef Julia & Chef Jamsheed Bhote had created for the Trapiche wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market hosted by yours truly and Sula Selections.

Trapiche Wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market
Trapiche Wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market

The only slightly disappointing wine for me out of the four Trapiche wines available in India was the Trapiche Sauvignon Blanc (Rs 1270). It felt a little flat in terms of acidity and the nose seemed muted not really conveying what a Sauvignon Blanc stands for. I guess we have all been spoilt by the wonderful aromatic Sauvignon Blancs coming out of New Zealand and Chile if you talk of comparisons within the New World.

It’s good to see Sula Selections expanding its portfolio to include wines from Argentina (Trapiche), Chile (Cono Sur), Australia (Hardys), New Zealand (Mud House), Italy (Ruffino), France (Champagne Piper-Heidsieck) and South Africa (Kumala). It gives customers a great choice, a wine suited for every palate and budget. It doesn’t matter if you are a connoisseur or a novice. “Acche Din” for wine lovers I guess if not for others.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Trapiche wines are easily available at most liquor and wine retail shops in Delhi in Connaught Place, Defence Colony, Vasant Vihar, Dwarka and in NCR.

Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections with team Tres at the Trapiche Wine Dinner
Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections with team Tres at the Trapiche Wine Dinner

To read more about Sula Selections you may click on the following links

https://highonwines.com/2015/07/15/cono-sur-bicicleta-sula-selections-brings-the-official-wine-of-tour-de-france-to-india/

https://highonwines.com/2015/06/10/hardys-wines-in-india-a-new-innings-with-glenn-mcgrath/comment-page-1/

Masterclass & Wine Dinner with William Hardy of Hardys Wines of Australia

When 2 million glasses of your wine are consumed everyday around the world in more than 80 countries, your brand is the most powerful wine brand in Australia and the biggest selling Australian wine brand in the UK, does that make you even a wee bit conceited. No, not if you are William or Bill hardy as he is known in the wine world. One of the most respected winemakers of Australia, this 5th generation scion of the Hardy family, creators of Australia’s iconic wine brand Hardys Wines, Bill Hardy is extremely proud of his family’s wine-making heritage going back 160 years and their pivotal role in developing the premium wine regions of the state.  After all how many wine brands can boast of such a long history. But other than a hint of pride there is nothing in the demeanour of this indefatigable and utterly charming great-great grandson of the brand’s founder Thomas Hardy, to suggest the important place he commands in the wine hierarchy. Such is his humility.

I got a chance to meet Bill Hardy when Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury, Head of Marketing International Brands for Sula Selections, the company which imports and distributes Hardys Wines in India, invited me to attend a Wine Masterclass conducted by him for F&B professionals and a few media personnel at ITC Maurya, New Delhi. Armed with a lot of statistics but in an easy conversational style Bill Hardy told us how from a country which had no native grape varieties, in just 200 years Australia has become the world’s 5th largest exporter of wine.

Talking about the history and growth of Hardys wines he said that it was in the year 1857 that his great great grandfather Thomas Hardy, known as the father of South Australian wine industry, exported his first vintage to Devon, UK, a country whose shores he had left as a 20 year old in 1850. In 1882 Thomas Hardy made history by producing the first ever Australian wine to be awarded the prestigious gold medal at the International Wine show in Bordeaux. Since then they have won a total of 6953 awards which include gold, silver, bronze and commendations across all ranges. It is the official wine partner to both Cricket Australia and England Cricket. The two foes on the cricket field are united by Hardys Wines. It is no more a family concern now as the family relinquished control in 1992 and merged with Berri Romano to become a public business. In 2003 it merged with Constellation Brands to become the biggest wine company in the world. In 2011 the company was sold to the Autralian private equity firm Champ which was later renamed Accolade wines. Hardys Wines now forms a part of Accolade Wines, a global wine company and William Hardy is their employee as well as their brand ambassador.

In the Masterclass Bill Hardy discussed the characteristics and tasting notes of Hardys Stamp of  Australia range of wines available in India:  Hardys Sparkling (70% Chardonnay 30% Pinot Noir), Semillion-Chardonay (a non-traditional blend), Riesling-Gewurztraminer (an aromatic off dry wine which goes well with Indian food) Cabernet-Merlot (a classic Bordeaux blend), and Shiraz-Cabernet (popular Australian blend).  These wines are above their entry level Varietal Range and are very approachable. This was an invaluable lesson for the F&B professional and sommeliers where they were told at what temperature to serve the wines and the suggested food pairings.

Wine Masterclass by Bill Hardy at ITC Maurya : Pic courtesy Sula Selections
Wine Masterclass by Bill Hardy at ITC Maurya : Pic courtesy Sula Selections

At the Wine dinner which followed at Le Meridien Gurgaon, Bill Hardy unveiled the latest William Hardy range which was launched in 2013 to mark the brand’s 160 years of winemaking and to honor and recognize 40 hard years of hard work which Bill has put in the winery. Made of two varietals Chardonnay and Shiraz it sits above Hardys core group mainstream sub-brands Nottage Hill, Crest, Stamp of Australia and VR.  In the words of Chief Winemaker Paul Lapsley they are “wines with a varietal personality and regional identity” They will be launched in India very soon.

Bill Hardy in a relaxed and happy mood at the Wine Dinner at Le Meridien Gurgaon. With Bill Hardy and Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections
Bill Hardy in a relaxed and happy mood at the Wine Dinner at Le Meridien Gurgaon. With Bill Hardy and Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections

The other members of the Hardys family who have had wines named after them are the founder Thomas Hardy, Eileen Hardy, first woman in South Australia to fly a plane, Sir James and Thomas Hardy Nottage (2nd generation member of the Hardys clan).

Bill Hardy’s visit to India was in keeping with the efforts to revitalize the brand in India and improve its position by creating more awareness about Hardys wines. It was indeed an honour and a privilege to learn from such a fine winemaker and a highly successful entrepreneur yet someone who wears his success so lightly.

By : Lavina Kharkwal

Click on this link to read more on Hardys Wines in India

https://highonwines.com/2015/06/10/hardys-wines-in-india-a-new-innings-with-glenn-mcgrath/