Portuguese Wines Look for Growth in India
(Indian Wine Academy, 4 April 2011)
The fourth largest wine producer of Europe, Portugal has had a commendable performance in 2010 and was the only European country with increased production, according to the latest OIV Report. Despite its export push and global success it does not have much presence in India so far but that may change soon with the arrival of their new Ambassador in India, HE Jorge Roza de Oliveira, writes Subhash Arora whom he met privately even before presenting has credentials to the President of India last Friday.
Portugal is the fourth largest vine-planted country in Europe with 243 mhA of vineyard surface in 2010, which is around 30% of Italy. To get a clearer picture, the total vines planted in the EU last year were 3213 mhA while the US had planted 398 mhA . Portugal followed Spain (1082 mhA), France (825 mhA) and Italy (798 mhA) in the size of plantation. The smallest planted country in the Western Europe is Austria with 46mhA of vineyards (1mhA is 1000 hA, about 2500 Acres).
If one goes by the activities undertaken by the new Portuguese Ambassador in India even before presenting his credentials to the President of India on April 1, Portugal is determined to make inroads into India with its wines many of which are unique due to the indegenous grape varietals, very good quality and yet affordable for the tax-hit Indian market .
HE Jorge Roza de Oliveira has already met most of the importers, journalists and opinion makers and some hospitality personnel in Delhi on an individual basis, in their offices in an effort to convince them of the full support from the Portuguese wine producers for the Indian market. He knows about the couple of wine presentations during the last few years by Vini Portugal and the Embassy of Portugal, but he is also aware that continued presence and organising such events regularly would be the key to success in the Indian market and is already charting out plans to make Portuguese wines more visible. He has already convinced the Portuguese wine producers to be aggressive and persistent in India and has set ambitious plans.
Extremely humble and charming, he is also an Indophile with the linguistic background that motivated him to learn Hindi (the Indian national language besides English) on his own, while in Portugal. A Political Advisor since 2005 to the Prime Minister Jose Socrates who lost the vote of confidence and resigned a day before he visited our office, on 23rd March (Socrates remains the caretaker PM till the elections on June 5), he was certain that this political crisis would not affect his determination to promote Portugal through the wines. When suggested that Goa might be the easier destination to start his campaign with, due to its long cultural Portuguese heritage, he was quick to point out that he was thinking of of India as the canvas and not Goa alone-of course Goa would be a part of his plan.
No one has witnessed before an Ambassador as enthusiastic and determined as him, visiting the offices of wine stakeholders on a one-to-one basis. This 52-year young career diplomat is truly an ambassador of wines for Portugal and one should not be surprised if Portuguese wines doing well globally, would leave their footprints even after he goes back after completing his current assignment.
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