It’s 3 am and, at the Barcelona-El Prat airport, Rojita Tiwari is hurriedly emptying part of her suitcase. Stuck with extra luggage at the drop-off counter, the 30-something has a tough choice to make: two bottles of Priorat’s full-bodied red wine, or two bespoke dresses that she had got done after much effort. It wasn’t that difficult a choice really; how could she leave behind the sinful mix of Garnacha and Cariena grapes? “My first love will always be wine,” says Tiwari, smiling. And she knows by years of understanding and experiencing the fruity punch.
Passion for wine is rare in India, but there has been a significant rise of interest in the beverage. Sales shot up 17 per cent in 2014-15, along with a sharp decline in that of imported distilled drinks such as rum, vodka and whiskey, says a recent report. And women too are travelling down the heady road. Tiwari has been writing about wine for years and has gained enough knowledge to be called for judging international wine competitions. Many others have made the drink their own—making, learning (all have diplomas and degrees in wine), writing, selling, consulting, but, most importantly, travelling to France, Italy, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, America, Canada, South Africa, Israel and other places for it. “In wine,” says Tiwari, “experience is the best teacher.”