Those manning stalls at the Bangalore International Wine Festival appear intent on fomenting a revolution. They want the masses to taste what was reserved for supernatural beings and the super rich on earth.

“Wine being the drink of the gods is such an outdated cliché,” insists Malavika Bhat, a visitor at the three-day festival that opened on Friday at White Petals, Palace Grounds.

A final-year BBM student at one of the city's more exclusive colleges, Ms. Bhat says her pocket money allows her the joys of a couple of bottles of red each month. “You see, it is also a health drink,” she adds for emphasis.

Informing beginners

At the Big Banyan Premium Wines counter, Aeisha Sahni is trying to get people to see things the way Ms. Bhat does. She hopes the festival will help people see through the fallacy that wine is a preserve of the elite. Her job at the counter is to handhold beginners into the world of reds, whites and rosés. “Most beginners tend to like lighter wines that have a sweet tinge,” she says and recommends the Chenin Blanc (white wine) and the Rosa Rossa (a rosé wine). Each of the wines on display comes with an exquisitely lyrical introduction from Ms. Sahni. “Delicate, lightly aromatic and fruity, with hints of yellow apple, white melon, peach, mixed with light spicy notes of coriander and thyme,” is how Chenin Blanc is described. But just when one feels confident enough to try a “beginners' special”, she drops a disclaimer: “Well, you know there is no rule in these matters. A heavier, more full-bodied wine, which is a connoisseur's drink, might even appeal to the sensibilities of a novice.”

Bijapur's virtues

At the Kinvah stall, where five reds and two whites were on display, Sudhir Dwivedi, Regional Manager, cuts straight to the chase. “Wine's health properties are a proven fact. It has a miraculous effect on diabetes, hypertension and even obesity,” he says.

The Kinvah vineyards are spread across Bijapur district, which according to Mr. Dwivedi, enjoys weather similar to the south of France from where the roots of the Kinvah grape vines are sourced.

Self-described ‘Wine Champion' Raj Hosali's wines at the Pernod Ricard India stall are up against the price-conscious Indian. “All the wines here are priced below Rs. 1,000. We have some fantastic brands in the Rs. 500-bracket too.”

For those intent on internalising the culture of wine and not just the drink, Avijit Barman's stall, Cork and Cocktail, should make for a good stopover between the wine tasting.

His company is into wine tourism, runs a portal www.thewineclub.in and helps people appreciate the drink better.

The fest concludes on Sunday.

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