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Grape Expectations

>> We are looking forward to the fourth edition of the Wine Tasting festival next week in Mumbai.

To be held on January 5-6 at the Radio Club Pier between 12 noon and 10 pm, the festival includes all the wonderful aspects of the wine universe: grape stomping, sommelier meeting, wining pairing and of course tasting.

Talking to our friend Sonal Holland, founder & CEO at the Sonal Holland Wine Academy — India’s leading wine-centric institution in India for the appreciation and education of wines — we learnt that we have a long way to go to become a wine-drinking nation.

Sonal Holland
Sonal Holland

“For most of us it appears like there’s a lot of wine being served and consumed,” said Holland who holds the Level 4 WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits from London, and is also the first Indian woman to be enrolled into the Masters of Wine (MW) education programme in the UK. “But the per capita consumption of wine in India is about 10 millilitres, which is about a tablespoon – way below China, with nearly the same population as ours, which within the last five to six years, has already crossed the one litre mark for per capita consumption,” she said.

“New consumers and the youth need to be introduced to wine and any effort that supports this is a welcome initiative,” she said.

We couldn’t agree more. Which is why we are looking forward to some delicious moments of viniculture and vino imbibing in January.

Lifestyle legend
>> At one time it was Mumbai’s only lifestyle store and arguably the country’s first foray into ethnic chic.

Long before the Good Earths and Bungalow Eights had entered the market, there was Contemporary Arts and Crafts – the standalone South Mumbai store where anyone with a modicum of good taste would go when furnishing their home.

Crammed to the brim with rugs, chairs, trays, teapots, candles and cane, its shutting shop a few years ago left many like us bereft.

Where in earth would we buy our beanbags or Auroville agarbattis? Which is why when we ran in to the redoubtable Feroza Mody at Zinnia Lawyer’s birthday last week we were delighted to learn that she has relocated the legendary store in its new headquarters in Fort and is working towards capturing its old glory.

Sleeping partner?
>> Diners at two of Mumbai’s newest restaurants will be happy to know that even though their high-profile launches showcased their owner to be a dyed-in-the-wool second generation Mumbai based F&B company, their real promoter is a suave and well established politician who knows a thing or two about life’s better things.

But then why the cover-up? Well, because said politico is in alliance with a party that bleeds for the aam admi, we were informed.

Laid Back New Year’s Eve
>> Amongst the more frenetic and frantic party invitations we received, by far the most charming was the simple SMS from perennial bachelor, man about town and heir to the Khushwant Singh legacy, Rahul Singh, whose bohemian New Year Eve parties, (potluck, open house and good spirited) have been a city institution for many decades.

Vidya Balan-Sidharth Roy Kapur

From what we remember, the biriyani (from Mohammad Ali Road) is always great, the drinks have a genuine homemade and festive feel to them, and the vibes at his high ceilinged and windswept Colaba apartment are friendly and fun.

Just the way New Years should be brought in! (use pic of Rahul Singh)) Just Desserts from Vidya and Siddharth

And this from a dear friend and former colleague in Delhi. A post on a social networking site about the small and exclusive Vidya Balan–Sidharth Roy Kapur nuptials: “Crushed Mithi choor from the recently concluded Vidya-Sidharth wedding all the way from Mumbai,” he posted, “But more delicious than any other!”

The family sparkle
>> His sparkling smile and earthy warmth belie the sharp brain and business acumen that have made him one of the country’s most astute business leaders, but what’s brought the extra sunshine into the life of Anand Jain, chairman of Jai Corp Limited and Mukesh Ambani’s close friend and college mate, is the birth of his second grandson in Bangalore last month.

Anand Jain
Anand Jain

Running into him and his charming wife Sushma at Deepak Parekh’s Christmas brunch, we were delighted to see one of Mumbai’s leading couples revel in their role as grandparents.

And from the pictures we saw, the youngest Jain progeny has inherited his grandfather’s famous sparkling eyes and bright smile!

Onwards and upwards!
>> It must be a portent of things to come, but in the wake of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat victory and the ensuing triumphalism that has swept the BJP and its supporters, the wife of one of its high profile leaders is said to have engaged a well-known lifestyle coach for grooming lessons.

“Must be because ministerial cabinets, berths, Lutyen’s and foreign postings are on the cards post 2014,” said one observer.

Our beauty arsenal
îA few months ago, sworn to secrecy, we were invited to the secret and very exclusive curtain raiser of one of the world’s great beauty and make-up stores Sephora, which was looking to enter India.

Last week the store opened in Delhi with a soft launch, with plans for a more high voltage premiere early next year. The Mumbai store is imminent.

Founded in Paris in 1970, and bought by French luxury conglomerate LVMH seven years later, the chain comprises over 1,300 stores in 17 countries and offers more than 250 brands of beauty, hair, skincare, fragrance and bath products coveted by women the world over. At our private viewing we were introduced to such old time favorites as Make up forever, Nars, Bert’s Bees products, and new ones like Benefit and other juicy to-die-for beauty tools. And if we are smiling a bit wider and looking a bit fresher you know where that came from!  

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