CHENNAI: Wine culture in Chennai is at a nascent stage but we can’t just remain there. Thanks to over zealous F&B managers at star hotels, new wines are being imported and bootlegged in, on a weekly basis. But there are things that should change. For a start - regulate the influence of marketing on buying patterns, increase consumption amongst greater society, add more varieties apart from the over hyped Australian brands. I‘ve got a long list, the next time any invincible socialite comes along and asks my opinion on the situation.
But for now if there is one thing that really needs changing when it comes to Chennai and wine—we should relax the association between wine and the upper class. The fact that wine continues to be thought of as the elixir of the elite does more damage to the future of the industry in this country than any other phenomenon. Although wine connoisseurs are a burgeoning bunch, it is surprising how a city with British influences and proximity to a French-accented union territory (Pondicherry), hasn’t been too forward in evolving the wine culture. In many ways the culture of wine appreciation here encourages the idea that wine is a luxury for the conversant few. The splendour, ceremony, and mystery surround wine in conjunction with fine dining in the city. But the irony is that the TASMAC shops where wine is available at Rs 150 a bottle are called ‘Wine Shops’, thereby publicly decrying the elitist concept.