Subhash Arora is the founder President of Indian Wine Academy dedicated to promotion of wines as a culture through education and awareness. He is also the editor of a weekly newsletter delWine which goes to28,000 people in 43 countries. He is a journalist, author, an international wine judge. He is known as ambassador of wines in India and an opinion leader in the segment due to his vast international experience and knowledge of wines. He was knighted by the Italian President in 2009 for helping Italian wine producers in India in various ways. He has been nominated in the Best Foreign Wine Journalist Category for the last 4 years by the Grandi Cru d�Italia. He was also given the Order of Merit Award by OIV in 2011 for service to the wine industry globally.

How do you view the potential of Italian wine in India in terms of market potential?
This is the fastest growing segment in India. Every importer likes to have Italian wines in his portfolio. Prosecco is making big strides. Overall there is a buzz about Italian wines thanks to the growing consumption of Italian or quasi Italian cuisines like internationalized pastas and pizzas and it will continue to help the Italian wine consumption.

How do you think Italian producers can improve their performance in the Indian market? What do you suggest?
By being participative with the importer and offering him �hand-holding� especially in the initial period and then by following up with personal visits. A loose partnership is strongly recommended.

What do you think of the quality: price ratio of Italian wines in the India market?
It is generally perceived to be better for low to mid-range wines. High-end brands have only a niche market and are considered expensive.

What qualities do you personally appreciate most in Italian wines?
For me it is not only the liquid but also Italian culture. I like the typicity of most wines. I also like the uniqueness due to indigenous grape varieties used as varietals or in the blends with international grapes and the different terroirs.

How do you view Sicily’s region and its wines in terms of market potential – if you like you can also mention in addition to wine, food and tourism?
I feel Sicily has a huge potential in the medium to long term. Sicily has not been known in India for fine wines. It is considered more for fruits and bulk and cheap wine. But that concept is changing now, especially after the visits of Sicilian producers through IRVOS. In fact, Nero d�Avola has become very well known and the Indian palates love it.
Sicilian cuisine has a lot of similarities with the Indian food but has not been popularized as such. Although of late, a much bigger number of people have started to travel to Sicily, those who have travelled are very much impressed by it. Perhaps due to the similar history of being invaded by foreigners, there could be a lot of empathy for the island and tourism could get a big boost, if the connectivity were slightly better.

Please mention the potential of white varieties and the red varieties:
Grillo finds favour with most drinkers whereas Etna White has been accepted as more elegant but yet a bit too expensive. Nero d�Avola can be a leading Italian grape in the medium term. Frappato goes very well when tasted without the people being aware what grape it is. The Lipari and Pantelleria sweet wines will do very well once this market develops. Unfortunately, Marsala wines would not do well.

What is your advice to Sicilian producers looking to enter your market?
They need to maintain a one-one contact with the distributors, Initially, they may need to go with them to meet the F & B people. They will need to follow up with periodic visits and meeting the clients and potential clients.

Any other comments you think would make sense please add and answer
If they are too small or they view India only as a golden sparrow without any empathy or emotional connect, they will find the going very tough. They need to think long term-a period of 3-5years before any reasonable results. During this period they should focus on getting the brand acceptability and awareness so that when the right moment arrives they are established and present to take the advantage.