The Story of Indian Wine

An Historical Perspective

Persian traders are believed to have introduced grape cultivation in the Indus Valley in the 4th millennium BCE.

The earliest historical accounts of wine production in India date back to the Vedic period, with 13th - century-BCE scripts revealing that the Aryan tribes found great pleasure in indulging in wine.

During the Muslim Empire wine suffered a backlash as a result of Islamic dietary laws forbidding the consumption of alcohol, even if Jahangir, the 4th Mughal Emperor, was known to be partial to brandy.

Both the Portuguese and the British encouraged grape growing for the purpose of wine production in Goa and Baramati, Kashmir and Surat regions respectively. As Victorian era drew to a close, wine found itself taking a backstage in the early 20th century.

THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN WINE INDUSTRY

The contemporary indian wine industry was born in the late 1970s and early 1980s when two pioneering industrialists decided to produce their own wines on indian soil.

Shyamrao Chowgule and Kanwal Grover were both in international business, which took them to France, from where they took inspiration. Years of experimentation ensued with the help of French consultants.
Chateau Indage and Grover Vineyards were the first Indian wineries launched in 1986 and 1996 respectively.

Omar Khayyam, the sparkling wine Chateau Indage, achieved international brand recognition, but increasing competition and financial crisis of 2008 did, however, not spare Indage.

Grover Vineyards has since merged to become Grover Zampa Vineyards, producing wines in both Nashik, Maharashtra, and Nandi Hills Karnataka.

INDIAN WINE TODAY

Financial subsidies and liberal policies facilitated the settings -up -of wineries in the early 2000s. Nearly on hundred producers entered the market, widening consumer choice significantly. Sula Vineyards has grown into India's Largest producer since, making it the wine 'evangelist' of the country. Maharashtra (2001) and Karnataka(2007) introduced state wine policies in aid of the young industry, which still awaits a unified regulatory environment across the whole of India. The potential of the market is reflected by multinational drinks giants taking interest. Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Moet Hennessy all produce their own Indian wine brands with great success.

Sula Vineyards, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Fratelli Wins and Four Seasons Wines have evolved into the largest wineries of India. A league of family estates, such as York Winery or Reveilo Wines, and boutique producers, such as Vallone Vineyards, KRSMA Estates and SDU Winery, have established themselves on the wine scene.

India joined the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in 2011, which signalled the country's commitment to the Industry.