The “glass ceiling” has been shattered yet again. Devati Mallick from The Oberoi Bengaluru has become the first ever woman to win the prestigious Indian Sommelier Championship (ISC). The coveted championship, that is held every year in India since its inception in 2008, saw a grueling contest this year with 120 candidates competing for the top honours.
While Devati won the championship, Gaurav Dixit from The Leela Mumbai and Sudhakar Singh from Bo-Tai Gurugram finished as first and second runners-up respectively. For the complete list of winners, scroll down to the end of this post.
Indian Sommelier Championship 2018
ISC was founded in 2008 by Wi-Not Beverage Solutions, a beverages consultancy based in New Delhi which is headed by Magandeep Singh, a highly respected sommelier from India. Over the years the fixture has come to be recognized as the most credible platform promoting sommellerie talent in India.
The preliminary rounds of ISC 2018 were conducted in three major Indian cities, viz. Delhi Mumbai and Bengaluru (debut city for ISC this year). The regional rounds that started with three days of orientation classes in each of these cities, culminated with the selection of the top six contestants- 2 from Delhi, 1 from Mumbai and 3 from Bengaluru . The six finalists then competed in the championship finals at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, that was presided over by a distinguished jury panel drawn from a diversity of the wine trade.
The flow of the Finals
• Decanting and serving still wine.
• Opening and serving sparkling wine.
• Blind tasting and commenting on a still wine.
• Blind tasting and commenting on a sparkling wine.
• Pouring the perfect pint.
• Blind tasting and commenting on a beer.
• Blind tasting and commenting on a cocktail.
• Food & wine pairing.
• Judges’ viva including a question on the Indian Wine industry.
A total of 35 minutes were allowed to the finalists to complete all tasks. The final results were audited by an independent accountancy firm to reaffirm the fairness of the contest.
Treasure at the end of the Rainbow
The winners were announced at a gala dinner in New Delhi which interestingly detailed the dress code as “black and white with a splash of rainbow”. The dress code was not merely a quirk, as Magandeep- who also acted as the master of the ceremony- shared with the audience about the idea being to show a little effort as respect towards the toiling participants. An added benefit of the dress code was that the pictures of the event came out nicely too!
The “splash of rainbow” also had a “treasure” at its end for the participants, as each one of them took away exciting prizes guaranteed to fuel their passion of wine further.
While Devati won a fully funded trip to various wineries of South Africa to learn about the different aspects of winemaking, Gaurav will be heading the vintage with the chief winemaker of Fratelli Vineyards of India. Sudhakar likewise, will do his stint with the famed Grover Vineyards, assisting with the blending of wines for the next vintage.
Know the Winners
(Click on the respective thumbnails to view)
Complete List of Winners