Indian vino to match the curry - what a hot idea

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2014

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The perfect wine match for curry is a step closer now that a Hamilton man is importing Indian vino.

Sandeep Mathur is starting with Indian restaurants in Auckland but hopes to get Waikato restaurants and national supermarkets on board.

"Nobody knows about Indian wines . . . I'm sure it's going to be a big hit," he said. The part-time marketing consultant started his import-export business, New Zealand Wine and Beer Trade, in February.

He exports several Kiwi wines and beers to the Indian market, and has recently started working in the opposite direction to get Indian wines to Kiwis.

He's secured rights to distribute wines from producers Sula and Grover, including sauvignon blanc, brut, shiraz and viognier.

"In New Zealand, people are open to taste. And if you go to a French restaurant you're looking for a French wine . . . so I thought, ‘Why not with Indian restaurants?' " he said. Auckland alone had 112 Indian restaurants, Mathur said, and many he'd approached were happy to carry the wines. The first shipment arrives next month.

Kiwi connoisseurs say the wines' best chance of getting into the Kiwi market is through Indian restaurants.

"If I went to an Indian restaurant I'd like to buy Indian wine, if it was available and it was good. And I know that the bubbles are extremely good," said Auckland-based wine writer Sue Courtney, adding that Indian sparkling wines in particular were successful in Britain.

Sula was India's biggest and most prominent sparkling wine producer, she said. But wines like a sauvignon blanc, or those on a supermarket shelf, could face tough competition. Primo Vino owner Henry Jacobs agreed.

But he did say Indian wines would be a good match for spicy food "and, to be honest, that's a pretty hard ask".

libby.wilson@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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