Grape Expectations: A Q&A with Sufi Wines Founder Sam Bhatia

Ever ask yourself what wines go best with Indian food?

Well, corporate exec Sam Bhatia did, and went a step farther after not finding the right bottle. He founded the Sufi Wines company; began producing a red, white and rose under with the the Mirza Ghalib label; and set out to heighten the world’s Indian dining experiences.

NewsWhistle sampled Bhatia’s wines at a recent tasting at Manhattan’s Tulsi restaurant and was impressed with Bhatia’s offerings and Bhatia himself.

Not only do we like a clean tasting wine, we’re suckers for folks who see an opening in the market and then go out and compete for a slice.


Without further ado . . .

The NewsWhistle Q&A with Sufi Wines founder Sam Bhatia 

Name: Sam Bhatia
Date of Interview: Summer 2013
Age (if you want to give it up): 46
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Current town: NY, NY
Occupation: Wine Importer/Distributor

1. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?

Watching my 2-year-old nephew trying to hop a ride on my daughter’s dog. It was hilarious.

2. What’s your favorite movie? And why?

Lawrence of Arabia. It’s a beautiful landmark epic story that unfolds and comes alive with every frame.

3. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?

Departing the corporate world and starting my own wine company.

4. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be? 

Finish my training to become a pilot.

5. Tell us your favorite joke:

Why did the kid throw the butter out the window?

He wanted to see the butterfly.

6. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

I am a veteran. I served in the U.S. Air Force.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

With matters of the heart, let it show you the way.

8. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?

Warren Buffet. His philanthropic efforts to address the inequities globally with Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation is outstanding. He is a great human being.

9. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?

I don’t like superfast elevators. Always feel like it will not stop.

10. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?

Try our wines with your next Indian meal. [Our] Mirza Ghalib Red . . . signature blend brings out the spicy and rich flavors in North/ South Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine, such as lentils (Daal Makhani), curries (Chicken Tikka Masala), assorted Kebabs and biryanis. The Mirza Ghalib white is a viognier grape that complements primarily fish dishes and lighter veg fare such as Tikkas,  Pakoras  and Samosas.  The Mirza Ghalib Rose is great with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. To accompany Tandoori dishes (Indian Clay Oven), Tikkas and Kebabs. These wines are specially designed to find the perfect balance of tastes with these Indian dishes.

11. Oh, and some bonus curve questions . . .

What are some great Indian beverages people should try? 

Mango Lassi and Masala Tea (Chai).

And other than your wine, what labels have impressed you lately?

I have been surprised by wines from Mexico’s Baja Region.  Domino Tinto 2008 was a great wine.

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