Wine Culture: High on Hype, Low in Drinking

There is a lot of wine buzz these days. We have come a long way. The mere fact that  the Delhi Wine Club held its 100th event last month is a testimony to the increased acceptance of wine drinking in the country, writes Subhash Arora in the Financial Express.

So what was the scene five years ago when we set up the club and how has the culture evolved? Well, for one, people then still lusted for hard liquor after the wine was tasted, sipped and gulped.

Room temperature service then meant just that. 'Serve red wine at the room temperature' was the credo. That has changed now. But light reds that ought to be served cold or cool continue to be served warm.

Do people know the difference between varietals -- say a Cabernet Sauvignon from a Sauvignon Blanc? Hell, I hope so, but won't so testify.

We have leapfrogged in computers, Internet and mobile technology but change in attitudes or wine knowledge is still slow. 'One doesn't need to learn about wine. Taste in the glass is what is important,' is the refrain. Most people still do not appreciate the finer nuances of wine.

Availability of wine has improved fairly, but there is still a long way to go. Though better wines are available in the country, storage control or even air-conditioning is considered an unnecessary overhead by most retail shops.

People have now become articulate about their love for wine and its health benefits. They expound on it at length, but at the same time, they may be holding a glass of whisky or vodka in their hands! Women have benefited more from the health drink and vice versa, with more and more women imbibing the drink.

Five years ago your wine knowledge depended upon your wealth and social order. It was an elitist drink about which basically nobody knew anything and one had to consume much bandwidth and many books, wine shows and tastings to notch up wine knowledge. Now, it is gradually emerging as a lifestyle product.

So, have we arrived on the wine scene? Not really. The interest has increased. The hype is there. But it has not translated into actual drinking of that much wine as yet. When that happens, we won't be talking about wine – we will be drinking it.





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