Monday, May 25, 2009

Indian Wine and Women

As Indian women increasingly become independent, financially
and otherwise, and begin asserting their spending power, wine
drinking is becoming the rage.

-The Global Post, May 2009

Well, Indian women have been drinking as long as the world's oldest
profession has been in existence.
That's nothing new. But The ancient
Indian Religious Scriptures have always forced Indian women to higher
standards of public conduct than their Western counterparts. The only
'Ladies' Night' that could be envisioned would be the Palace dancers
and courtesans who were 'on call' at the whim of the Royals.
Dancing girls in the courts of the Mughal rulers being more desirable
or successful meant their acceptances of drinks, 'tips' and amorous
advances as the precursors to giving themselves up to their 'patrons'.
Those early versions of 'Bar Girls' were the bad side of the picture for
serious drinking aficianados of the time - the gourmands.

For centuries the acquisition of wine fines remained dependent on
visits by the
Greek conquerors, followed by the Portuguese, Dutch
and British
traders and missionaries, who used their mastery of
producing fine wines to further their imperialist ideals. Displaying
their vast array of continental wine flavors.they offered a taste of
what constituted greater wealth and power in the outside world.

Following the occupation and rule by the British, the men in the new
armed forces had the great good fortune to discover gourmet Indian
cuisine alnd so began the evolution of fine wining and dining for those
not in the elite. Those soldiers also paved the way for greater
enhancement of the local palates by trading their Rations of alcohol,
chocolates and other Western goodies for Gemstones, Jewelry,
Cash and anything else they could lay their hands on. Many female
servants, known as 'Ayahs' or Nannies rose above their domestic
positions to become Liasons, Escorts and even wives to their masters.
And so new business and social circles were born, where the most
powerful were wined and dined by the locals with the most to gain
from such new alliances. Which leads to the party days of the Indian
Military bases.....

I grew up enjoying the sights and sounds of Indian Army Galas and
Fetes, at a time when being the friend of Military personnel meant
not just sharing in their festivities but also gaining a 'Passport' to their
imported Scotch and 'Army strength' Rum
quotas. As a Musician
performing at these festivities I witnessed many a 'respectable' Army
wife loosening up on the
dance floor and enjoying herself after a few
'Army pegs'
The same highly-respected ladies who were pillars of the
community, who had to be discreet and order 'Sherry', the standard
'Ladies' Drink' when it came to drinking
in public. Fresh out of
and into College, I highly approved of this camaraderie and
enjoyed this form of hospitality
for years.......but those were the old days.

Now, all that unnecessary shame
and stigma of women drinking in public
has disappeared as India's business attitude has rapidly evolved
one of the world's most open. The lifting of Tariff restrictions on
goods like Liquor has resulted not only in a wider variety
of imports but
also created a mass market
in India for Wines from abroad. Much of all
this sophistication has been spearheaded
by the new elite who get their
ideas either first-hand via
shopping trips to Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong
and Malaysia, or from good old Bollywood which brings the latest trends
to them at a breakneck pace. They are thus on the fast track to keeping up

with, and overtaking the Joneses...and the Joshis. Even local entrepreneurs
who are
less-traveled and far from 'hip' are now quickly boning up on Wine

All this bodes good for the status of Indian women as consumers and
more: they now
have a whole new world of social and business inter-
action to tap into,
research and explore.And to spend more, which is
of course the bottom line.
The new society lady is a Renaissance lady,
a Merchandiser's dream, who bravely trades
jibes with local Community
Restauranteurs, and Media Gurus all in the space of one day,

grabbing their attention and swaying their devotion.

Club Indage Pune opened 2005 but now they are
Riding the Recession and the Indian wine consumer

All this is neatly documented by the folks in the video above, the folks
of The Pune Gourmet Club who are determined to party in style, and
Visit their blog and tell them an old Punekar sent you.
Then read almost all about
the world of Indian women according to Wiki


  1. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Well, Indian women have been drinking as long as the world's oldest
    profession has been in existence


    a glass of wine == 3 glasses of beer. Either you are a pawn of the alcohol industry or dot no realize the ill-effects of alcohol.

  2. I know enough about alcohol and I am not a pawn of anyone. Unlike yourself, I do have the guts to identify myself whenever I post something, because I do not live in fear.....thanks for reading and responding, I appreciate any interest that this Blog creates.

  3. Came here to your blog from Flicker's "nprwomen"-tag and your's was from India... and read this as article...

    "all that unnecessary shame and stigma of women drinking in public
    has disappeared" <-> "as India's business attitude has rapidly evolved into
    one of the world's most open" - craziest of relations...

    just out of curiosity - can "shame and stigma" of streaking disappear as an(y) country's business attitude eveolve into world's most open?

    "All this bodes good for the status of Indian women" - How is that!!! 8-)

    You think consumtion of some edible(!) material by a human/ beast does GOOD for the STATUS it???


  4. btw... I am not that anonymous. I seriously have no idea what a glass of wine equals to... and I am not even concerned about the ILL effects of the consumption part. But terribly concerned about those who create non-existant ATTITUDE part whether they consume or not!

  5. Thanks Raghav, your words will be read with great interest by people worldwide. I hope they will gain something from it, because I didn't. All I perceived was a great deal of animosity and intolerance for the people who are living their own lifestyles without your guidance. That is unlike the simple attitude I adopt, since I am not a preacher, a politician or a pundit......unto each his own. You may be more qualified on what you choose to comment on here, so send me a link so that readers can follow your words more closely and be enlightened even more. I am not getting any more than three Comments in a year so it's not important if I get any more responses or one seems to have read your words or cared to comment. It's up to you to spread your message and I can help you by publishing you links/contact info.

    All the best to you on your path.



  7. Perfect, Raghav, perfect !