The non-availability of imported wines in Delhi will soon be a thing of the past, predicts Subhash Arora after visiting the DSIDC wine shop at Greater Kailash-II
Please record the date, 10 th November, 2007. This is the day Delhi took the first major step in making potable (read drinkable) imported (and domestic too) wines available to the Delhiites. Surprisingly, the lead has been taken by DSIDC, the government wine selling agency rather than a private vend. Not only is the 1000 sq ft shop situated behind Savitri Cinema complex fully air-conditioned, it has a separate 300 sq feet, wine cellar, having a capacity of 900 wine bottles.
Opened barely 2 weeks ago, it has over 250 wine labels from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, USA etc. The prices vary from Rs. 600 for Michel Laroche Chardonnay (importer- Sonarys) as well as Merlot to Rs. 3395 for a Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon (Importer- Moet Chandon).
Although the split level AC was not working when I visited the shop, the store manager, Mr. Rawat assured me that it is normally left on. He did not confirm if the air-conditioning is left on at night to keep the bottles at fixed temperature but we shall soon check it out.
The prices are generally more reasonable than Mumbai partly because the taxes are lower in Delhi and partly because the wines are kept on a consignment basis and it is in the interest of the distributor if the wines actually sell.
This is the first ever air-conditioned store in Delhi . ‘The next one at N block Connaught place will be even bigger with 2500 sq ft and swankier, says Mr. S Mukherjee, OSD and Chief Manager (Liquor) whom I met at his Connaught Place office.' The idea of this store came to me during my visit to Singapore in September with my daughter Deepika M Sarkar who is an interior designer. She offered to design a modern air-conditioned store suitable for wine storage on a complimentary service basis. Obviously she has done a very good job. And obviously things are changing fast in the government corridors if such progressive decisions can be implemented at such speed.
Other wine vends will have to soon follow suit if they want to progress, in wine business, at least. Till then, head for this highly recommended store for your wine requirement, at the low to decent end. Mr. Mukherjee has even implemented the policy of provided a free carry bag for your bottles; as per the antiquated excise norms, not even a bag, what to talk of openers, or other free accessories are allowed to be given free of charge. Another service that is available from this outlet is home delivery, for a nominal fee of Rs. 30 a bottle within 1 km and at Rs. 60 within 4-5 kms, by outsourcing this service so it does not attract the excise censure.
Some of the decent wines that are available include Yellow Tail (950), Montes Chardonnay/ Cabernet Sauvignon (1000), Casillero del Diablo Cabernet (1050), Col Di Sasso Banfi (1100), Le Rime Chardonnay, Banfi (1100), Kendall Jackson Collage Sauv-Semillon (1000). All these prices include all duties and taxes. Check out the store and visit www.dsidc.org for more details on prices.