India carved its niche as one of the world’s biggest coffee producers. Following coffee, it is doing the same with the production of world-class wines by the biggest wine-producers in the country. India has never been a popular wine consuming country nor was it known to be one of the major wine producers. India’s wine making has existed for a long time in its history but due to poor storage, transport facilities, low marketing strategies for promotion of their wines and problems with tax, government rules and some political issues it remained a low profile industry. The production and supply was relegated to domestic consumption, enough to for its drinking populace.
India is just starting to rekindle its relationship with wine production and consumption. The years between 1980s and 1990s, marked a historical debut with the resurgence of India’s wine industry. Over the years, more and more wineries have joined Champagne Indage in wine production. Modernization has introduced economic and social transformations in the lifestyle of the Indians. This has revved up wine drinking in India which is now considered a status symbol. With the production of quality and world-class wines, it has since then been in the list of Asia’s top wine producers, and consequently made it to the world’s most popular wine makers. Listed below are India’s top 5 wineries:
Indage Vintners Ltd, Pune. A twist of fate changed the economic and social landscapes of India when Champagne Indage fearlessly ventured into wine making. Formerly known as Champagne Indage Limited, Indage Vintners was once considered as the leading wine producing company in India with over 50 percent market share and is also Asia’s largest wine producer. They produce rich varieties of exquisite red, white, and sparkling wines. Their wines are produced from two state-of-the-art and automated wineries and made name for it, being the world’s and only bottle fermented sparkling wine producer in Asia. Their top-selling wines are Chantilli, Riviera & Ivy and best-selling export wines are Omar Khayyam, & Mist of Sahyadri.
Grover Vineyards, Bangalor. This company resembles a family tradition where love for wines was passed on from generation to generation. At 60, Kanwal Grover decided to turn his love and passion for wines into a business with his son Kapil, thus, the creation of Grover Vineyards. The years 1995 and 1996 were significant to Grover Vineyards as they got world-renowned oenologist, Michel Rolland to propose his services and they made France’s Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, world’s leading champagne house, take minority shares in this Indian venture. In 2001, Grover Vineyards started selling their wines in France, made some critical decisions and made business in the U.S. and United Kingdom, something that was once next to impossible. It started with 40 acres of land at the foot of Nandi hills in Bangalore and exclusively uses only French wine grapes. Now it has more than 200 acres of vineyards and roughly over 8.2 percent of India’s wine market share. Cabernet-Shiraz, known for its distinct taste and quality and is said to reflect their traditional way of wine making, is currently their best selling wine, locally and internationally, with more than 44,000 cases per year. La Reserve is the most award- winning item from Grover Vineyards. Now, another generation is getting ready to enter the family business with Kanwal’s granddaughter, Karishma, making her the first Indian woman wine maker. There are also plans of expansion from Grover Vineyards.
Sula Vineyards, Mumbai. Located in the region of Nashik, Mumbai, Sula Vineyards does not only play host to the very relaxing and most accessible winery getaway but also produces a few of India’s best selling, world-class wines. In 1997, a Stanford-trained engineer but Mumbai native, Rajeev Samant with the help of Kerry Damskey, an eminent Californian winemaker took the biggest shot in planting Sauvignon Blanc and Californian Chenin Blanc, a variety of French grapes that have never used in any other wineries in India. These were planted in a 30 acre land owned by Rajeev’s family to start his winery venture. The year 2000 marked the release of the first batch of Sula wines and has since then been acclaimed as the best white wines in India. They also tried to focus on marketing their wines locally and internationally developing both their wine production and winery tourism, thus, making them the most marketing-savvy winery in India. Their award winning wines include Rasa and Dindori Reserve Shiraz red wines, Sula Chenin Blanc and Sula Sauvignon Blanc for the white wine collection, Sula Blush Zinfandel from Sula Rose, Sula Brut sparkling wine, and Late Harvest Chenin Blanc from Sula Dessert. Now, having more than 70 percent of India’s wine market share, Sula Vineyards is consistently making a name world-wide as India’s current leading quality wine producer, adding to Nashik’s popularity in India’s wine industry along with a few other wineries located in the region.
Sankalp Wines/Vinsura Wines, Mumbai. Sankalp Wines was the first winery to be created under the Grape Processing Industrial Policy 2001. Vinchur town in Nashik is home to over roughly 250 acres vineyard land of Sankalp wines. They have established themselves as one of India’s premier producers of wine with an estimated production of 600,000 liters of wine annually. This region’s terroir is perfect for developing and cultivating high quality wine grapes, which distinguishes their products from other competing wine producers in the country. Their brand, Vinsura Wines, which was launched in 2003 is also making a name in the country. They continue to push their limits in producing more premier wine collection by innovating and using new methods and techniques along with remarkable viticulture and man power resources that will surely bring the name “Sankalp/Vinsura Wines”across the world.
Renaissance Wines. This brand of wine boasts of an array of premier tasting wines along with excellent product packaging. A red-tiled, Hacienda style building located in the midst of the rolling vineyards outside Nashik, is home to Renaissance Wines‘ winery. This winery adds to an array of vineyards that actually produce better-tasting wines in the region. Despite of having a lot of competitors in the area, Renaissance Wines continues to find new ways to create wines that would mark their name in the international scene. Evidently, they have tied up with South-African winery Lourensford Wines to set up another winery in Nashik. Expertise for expertise, they hope to continue this legacy of keeping up with India’s top wine producers and exporters. Renaissance Wines Nasik Cabernet Sauvignon, Renaissance Wines Nasik Cabernet Shiraz, Renaissance Wines Nasik Chenin Blanc, Renaissance Wines Nasik Sauvignon Blanc are among the wines produced by this company.
With its growing number of wineries throughout the years, India’s wine industry has definitely broadened. With their ambitious goal to conquer the international winery scene, they sure are very serious in producing more quality tasting wines, made from the best quality grapes with continuous perseverance and hard work, from the owners to their workers.