7th Indian Sommelier Championship Concludes
November 11 witnessed the closing ceremony of the seventh edition of the Indian Sommelier Championship, organised and executed by Delhi-based Wi-Not Beverage Solutions, with the winners having added more feathers to their hats. Before the finals, 100 contestants from a dozen states and over 50 F&B establishments had attended a three-day masterclass with industry experts like winemaker Karishma Grover of Grover Zampa vineyards, Kailash Gurnani of York Winery, Sneha Rao of KRSMA Estates, Pesi Engineer from Zwiesel-Kristallglas, etc.
There were beer classes and tastings too and another half day was dedicated to wine service with attention on decanting. It was after this that everyone took a preliminary exam which brought down the number to 13 this included 3 women finalists as well.
This set made its way to The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel and Residences to compete in the finals. The live jury comprised Aishwarya Nair, The Leela Group of Hotels; Alessio Secci, co-owner, Fratelli Vineyards; Andrew O’Brien, GM, Treasury Wine Estates, South Asia, Korea, Japan. Having experienced an intense masterclass that involved an exam to test their theoretical grasp and a blind tasting of two wines to check their tasting prowess, the contestants had an even industrious task ahead of them.
The finalists had to open and serve 6 equal glasses of a sparkling wine (without any wastage and going back to a glass already poured), taste and identify it. Open, decant and serve a still wine as well as taste and identify it. This was followed by a test of pouring a perfect pint of beer, identifying two spirits in a blind tasting. Then the 13 had to pair wines to go with a menu presented to them and answer questions posed by the judges. The catch was that these tasks had to be completed within 13 minutes. This, while maintaining good humour, keeping the judges and crowd engaged. Their diligence and the judges’ support and astuteness brought out the top three.
Atul Tiwari from the Leela Palace, New Delhi, was announced the Penfolds winner. He will be visiting Australia for an Immersion Trip — a visit during harvest time to the Magill estate, home of Penfolds. Tiwari will be spending time harvesting and learning about the art of winemaking with lead winemaker Peter Gago. Harish Acharekar from Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai was the Torres 1st runner-up and Grover Zampa 2nd runner-up was Karanbir Singh Gulati, ITC Welcomhotel, Dwarka. Apart from these, several other awards were also given out.