Wine gala kicks off in the land of feni

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PANAJI - ‘Grape Escapade’, a Goa government-endorsed wine festival that began here Thursday, is drawing in wine manufacturers and exporters from India participating to the four-day event. A leading womens’ rights group has petitioned President Pratibha Patil to impress upon the state government to dissociate itself from the exotic gala.

The seventh edition of the ‘Grape Escapade’, organised by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) in association with the Department of Tourism promises fusion cuisine, exotic desserts, live acts, fashion shows, cheese and wine tasting sessions. It is held at the courtyard of a multiplex, which is built on land leased from the state government.

In a petition to President Patil. who was on a four-day vacation to Goa in January, Bailancho Saad, a leading women’s organisation, urged her to intervene and stop the government from promoting the wine festival.

“As the constitutional head, you are required to uphold the directive principles of the constitution prohibiting state governments from promoting alcohol,” Sabina Martins, convenor of the Bailancho Manch, said in her memorandum.

“Goa Tourism Development Corporation had issued an advertisement inviting applications for stalls for the festival held annually at INOX, which is a government premise. Saad demands that alcohol sale and promotion on government premises be stopped forthwith,” Martins had said.

According to tourism director Swapnil Naik, the Grape Escapade provides for a terrific hub for networking and business opportunities.

“The Grape Escapade is the perfect platform to showcase haute cuisine and hi-end luxury brands and lifestyle products. The event is seen as an opportunity for the industry to network and further business opportunities,” Naik said.

Leading wine manufacturers and exporters from across India are participating in the event some of which include Sula Wines, Vallonne Vineyards, Big Banyan, etc.

Karl Coelho, promoter of Vallone Vineyards, one of the participating brands in the festival, said Goa was associated with wines thanks to its colonial roots and that such events helped to promote wine culture in the state and country.

“Goa’s history with wine is undeniable, although until recently it was limited to the sweet port wine. However, as India gradually joins the world in moving towards healthier drinking options, ‘wine culture’ is also slowly but surely becoming a big part of the social scene,” he said.

According to Ralph de Souza, spokesperson of the Tourism and Trade Association of Goa (TTAG), the Grape Escapade has potential to become a draw for tourists visiting the state.

“A festival such as this has the potential to attract a large number of tourists to Goa, both domestic and international,” he said.

— Indo Asian News Service

Filed under: Politics

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