Sula Wine Tasting at Regenta Orkos Kolkata
Lookie who’s a wine expert now! ME!!! All right, all right, ‘expert’ might be a tiny bit of a stretch. But I did have an excellent start to understanding the drink of the gods, thanks to Sula Wine Tasting at Regenta Orkos Kolkata. And, I did come home with a certificate of participation!
Sula Wine Tasting at Regenta Orkos Kolkata
Ever since I have learnt that Red Wine is probably the only alcoholic drink that people on a low-carb diet can enjoy, I have been planning to learn more about it, and eventually, try it. Naturally, I excitedly joined the wine tasting and discussion organised by Sula at Regenta Orkos. What followed was a fun and informative session on the basics of wine, and on the brand Sula and its different products and services – yes, services – for wine newbs and experts, with wine tasting and food pairing continuing simultaneously.
Wine in India
The relationship between India and wine is not as new as one would think. Historians believe that the Persian traders from the 4th millennium BC introduced the concept of planting grapes and turning them into alcoholic drinks, in India. there are mentions of wine in the Vedas. Gradually, India learnt more refined techniques of wine-making, as the pages of its history kept turning over.
Today, when we speak of Indian wine, Sula is the first name that comes up. It is the first winery in India’s Wine Capital Nashik. Rajeev Samant, after toying with the idea of growing wine grapes in the Nashik since 1994, and then spending three months learning about wine at the winery owned by his friend, Kerry Damskey, who is now the Master Winemaker of Sula.
Today, Sula holds a market share of about 70% in the wine industry of India. They export to 26 countries in the world. They have introduced varietals like Riesling, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The company is on track to make a sale of a MILION cases in 2016! And, this is after recovering from the heavy impact that hit them during the recession during 2008-09!
Sula has a wide range of Red, White, Rosé and Sparkling wines, as well as the delicious Late Harvest Chenin Blanc which is their Dessert Wine. They ventured into the world of Spirits with the 100% grape brandy, Janus in 2015. Their import arm, the Sula Selections, includes leading global wine and spirit names like Hardy’s, Asahi, Remy Martin and Glen Fiddich.
Sula has taken viticulture to a whole new level in India. It has a strong team of experts, and trains and educates farmers, and all that is possible to support the farmers through ups and downs. It has also developed wine tourism, which not only includes the opportunity to visit their farm and drink wine but also to enjoy a luxe vineyard-stay option. You can enjoy the SulaFest, one of the biggest live music festivals in India. They also provide the opportunity to learn more about this carefully curated drink.
What I Learnt at the Sula Wine Tasting
Everyone knows that wine has many varieties. These differ in colour, taste, texture, flavours, etc. The Sula Wine Tasting at Regenta Orkos Kolkata was designed to address novices like me. We learnt about the basics, and simultaneously, tasted some of their products.
The wine tasting and appreciation session taught us the basic differences of wine, the grapes that go into them, the techniques used for their production, how to say the difficult names like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, how to recognise a wine type just from the name, etc. For example, I learnt that from grape to glass, the wine journey basically passes the milestones of 1. Sampling, 2. Harvest, 3. Crushing/Pressing, 4. Fermentation, 5. Blending, 6. Stabilising, 7. Ageing, 8. Filtration, and 9. Bottling/ Labelling/ Dispatch. There was a lot more discussed, but it was just a drop from the ocean!
How to Learn More about Wine
Attending the Sula Wine Tasting session confirmed one thing that I knew already – taht kowing your wine is no easy job. It takes training and practice to grow into a wine connoisseur. During this session, I was excited beyond words when I was able to recognise the subtle flavours in my wines. To be able to identify the aromas of mango, green apple, chilli, spices, etc. and the various levels of smokiness and woodiness, was like an achievement! I can only imagine how it must feel like to gain expertise in truly knowing wine. The appreciation must be of another level!
Sula gives Indians the chance to appreciate wine with in-depth knowledge. It is an approved programme provider for Wine and Spirits Educational Trust courses. These courses are highly sought after. Whether a person seeks to progress at a personal level or professionally, these courses help to enhance theoretical and practical knowledge of wine. And till you actually invest time and money into one of these courses, you can always refer to Sula’s website and downloadable wine dictionary!
I was as proud and excited to get the cert to commemorate my participation at the Sula Wine Tasting, as my blogger friends from Panch Phoron were, even though many – read, most – of them are not wine newbs like me. Yet, they all happily posed with the certificates with me and had lots of fun. And I while my knowledge of wine is less than basic, I look forward to learning more, and develop and nose and taste for the elixir.
Group Picture Courtesy: Rajdeep Bhttacharya & Pallab Mondal