From a commercial point of view the wines of India do not spring to mind very often. We don’t generally think of India having a wine industry at all. The reason for this really is that up to the 1980’s and 90’s, there was no real demand for wine in India. Beer is the favoured beverage along with spirits, but in the last 30 or so years, demand for wine has increased and the industry is slowly growing.
India’s history has always included viticulture and is thought to have been introduced by Persian traders in 4 BC. During the Portuguese and British colonization’s, it was quickly encouraged, however in the late 19th century Phylloxera, a louse that eats the roots of vines spread and this along with religious and public opinion saw a move towards prohibition. When India gained its independence in 1947 the government encouraged the planting of vines for table grapes as opposed to wine making. As India’s economy grew and international interest became apparent, the demand for wine grew and this is the case now in the 21st century.
The main wine producing region is state of Maharashtra in the district of Nashik just east of Mumbai. Since 2001 this area has been offering financial incentives to encourage wine making and has many new wineries coming into operation.
Due to certain climatic conditions in India, monsoons, excessive heat, many vineyards are planted at high altitudes to combat these extremities. They often grow the grapes in a pergola style to keep the grapes high off the ground to protect from fungal infections. A dense canopy is encouraged to protect the grapes from sunburn and picking is usually done by hand.
The quality of the wines is certainly there to see and its worth seeking them out. I have introduced a few to whet your appetite, and I think we will start to see more and more on our shelves.
York H Block Chardonnay - £18.99
Fantastic creamy soft palate with a hint of oak. Rich and balanced with a lingering finish.
Fratelli Merlot - £19.99
Soft red berry fruit characters light tannins and a velvety finish.
Reveilo Sangiovese -
Earthy character with hints of smoky fruit flavours. Medium to full bodies with a great finish.
Fancy an evening of wine and cheese tasting? Book yours now with your friends and family. It makes a great start to an unforgettable night out! £15pp