Just about 60 years back there was nothing worthy about Indian grapes, what to talk about Indian wines. A lot of raisins and grapes were imported from Afghanistan in India. There was a notion that grapes can only grow in extreme cold climates has now been proved wrong. There is a riot of variety and succulent sweet grapes available in abundance in India. The wine making is still in its infancy. Indian wines have a great future because most of the grapes are of seedless variety. Surprisingly they have high sugar content.
Indian white wines of medium dry variety are quite interesting and can be compared with International standards of standard quality wines, but red wines are yet to prove their worthiness.
Most of wine producing areas are near foothills of Vindhyachal or Deccan plateau like Andhra radesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.
Indian Wine Regions
The Champhai wine region is located in Mizoram, the most southerly of the Seven Sister States of eastern India. The state occupies a mountainous region with a semi-tropical to temperate climate – cooler regions being those with the highest elevation. A variety of crops are grown, including bamboo and oil palm as well as fruits and vegetables.
Grape growing is most prevalent in the eastern part of the state, centered on the towns of Champhai and Hnahlan located less than 10 km from the border with Myanmar. Grapes were sold as table grapes or as juice until the repeal in 2010 of the Liquor Total Prohibition Act.
The Champhai and Hnahlan Grape Winery Ltd was established in 2007 and is the only winery in the region. They have a production unit in Champhai and another in Hnahlan.
These production units only became operational in 2010 after the Mizoram Government had revised the Liquor Total Prohibition Act 1997. Prior to the revision of the 1997 Act, grapes were being sold as table fruit or pressed for juice. The winery is operated under Government of Mizoram supervision and under current regulations production must be consumed in Mizoram.
The first wine was released in September 2010 with the name Zawlaidi, which translates as “love potion”. It’s described on the label as “Red Port Wine”. One suspects that this might be due to the grapes having only low sugar content when harvested and hence only being capable of producing a low-alcohol wine when fermented. Distilled neutral alcohol has been added to boost the overall abv to 14%.
Located west of the Deccan Plateau, Goa is a predominantly low-altitude coastal state, though towards the east it climbs in the Western Ghats to a maximum of 1,167m. Ruled by Portuguese settlers from 1510 – 1961, the colonists brought with them a love of wine and they set about growing grapes despite the unpromising climate. They specialized in port-like fortified wines using Vitis labrusca varieties such as Bangalore Blue. Such production still continues.
Big Banyan Wines
Tonia Liquor Industries
c. Kashmir Valley
The Kashmir valley is an intermontane basin situated in the western Himalayas. It trends northwest to southeast with a length of 150km and a width of 40km. Surrounded on all sides by snow-clad mountains, it has a flat alluvial floor with an average height of 1850m above sea level.
Rice, trees and fruit are abundant and although table grapes are grown, no wine is currently produced.
d. Nandi Hills
The Nandi Hills Wine Region Just 45 km north of Bangalore, lies the Nandi Hills, which in the 18th century hosted the summer palace of Tipu Sultan and during the 19th century became a summer retreat for officials of the British Raj. The latest wave of visitors seeking to benefit from a cooler climate in southern India are viticulturalists. They are keen to find sites where wine grape varieties can ripen slowly and fully develop their constituent fruit flavours without becoming baked.
Leading the search has been Kanwal Grover who founded Grover Vineyards in 1988. They have some 160ha of French varietals and have produced some of India’s best wines to date. Other growers have started to exploit the region’s natural attributes and we can expect to see expect to see more growers and winemakers moving into this region in the future.
Grover Vineyards Doddaballapur
Naka Wines Bangalore
Nandi Valley Winery Bangalore
e. Deccan Plateu
This is the powerhouse for the current production of Indian wines, and can be conveniently divided into three sub-regions.
The northern part is centred on the town of Nashik (or Nasik), and is where most of the new wineries have established themselves. This trend has been fostered by the creation of the Nashik Wine Park which offers small producers the ability to share facilities as well as receive a number of tax and duty reliefs. The major producer in the north is Sula Wines.
The central sub-region extends from Narayangaon through Pune to Baramati and is home to two important wine producers – Chateau Indage and Four Seasons Wines.
The southern sub-region spans parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka with wine production being centred around Sangli and Bijapur. The Krishna Valley Wine Park has been established near Sangli, along similar lines to the Nashik Wine Park, in an effort to assist and encourage smaller producers.
Wineries in the Northern Deccan Plateau
Chateau d'Ori Dindori
Indus Wines Igatpuri
Mercury Winery Ozar
Mountain View Wines Nashik
York Winery Gangavarhe
ND Vineyards Dindori
Rajdheer Wines Nashik Valley Wine Park
Sula Vineyards Govardhan
Wineries in the Central Deccan Plateau
Chateau Indage Narayangaon
Deccan Plateau Winery Haveli, near Pune
Four Seasons Baramati
Varieties Of Indian Wine
1) Bosca Sherry : Only Indian sherry but nothing to do with Spanish Jerez. It is somewhat sweet tasting medicinal wine from United Breweries Group.
2) Bosca Vermouth Torino It is wormwood flavour served with a dash of soda and twist of lemon.
3) Bosca Reisling low priced Indian wine very popular of Thompson seedless variety.
4) Grover's White fermented at Grover's vineyard at Banglore with clairette grapes which is transplanted from France. It is exceptional good variety wine
5) Riviera White chardonnay and ugni blanc grapes are used. It is a dry wine from Indage Group. It has light colour and body. The quality is not very consistent, however at times it is very good.
6) Golconda White produced by Shaw Wallace. It goes well with salad and chicken.
7) Chantilli Chardonnay Blend It is dry white wine by Indage group from Riviera, vineyard made by Chardonnay Grape; it is a clean, crisp wine. It is best served very chilled.
8) Grover's Red Best known Indian red wine made from cabernet sauvignon. It resembles great claret. It has fine bouquet and fruity taste.
9) Boaca Red It is a light coloured with moderate bouquet It can be served with hot spicy food.
10) Riviera Red Noble and popular wine is compared to other red wine. It has more tanin. It is made from Pinot Noir. It tastes better when chilled.
11) Chantilli Cabernet Sauvignon made from Cabernet sauvignon grape, produced by Indage group. It is matured in French oak casks. It has fruity taste.
12) Golconda Ruby It is produced in Andhra Pradesh by Shaw Wallace. It is a very sweet
13) Grover's Delicate Blush Wine It has a fine taste. The Chinese and spicy Indian food goes well with it
14) Bosca rose It is not very bright in colour but with a fine bouquet It is served chilled.
15) Marquis de Pompndour it is made from Pinot noir and chardonnay grape. "Methode champenoise' method is used for making. it is served at 5 degree celcius.
16) Joie Inferior variety of sparkling wine made from Thompson seedless, Pinot Noir and chardonnay grape variety.
17) Vinicola Goa Port Wine: It is a fortified wine but not as good as real port, but tastes some what like port
18) Figueira White Port: Traditionally it is made like white port by Indage group. It is a dry wine.
19) Figueira Red Port: It is more popular port from Indage group. It is strong and rich not very sweet.
20) Sula Wines is importing Chilean red wine and bottling it as Sartori merlot. The label is made by Jaideep Malhotra Sula wines owners have hired California's eminent wine maker Samant and Damaskey. They are making wine with Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Sula Brut is very famous Indian sparkling wine. Indage Group is importing in bulk and bottling the following wines.
(a) Group Tallian - from France Bordeaux
(b) Peter Mertes. - from Germany (Riesling)
(c) Cranswk wine - from Australia (Shiraz)
(d) Zulu - from South Africa