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Top 10 Indian Wineries in 2006

Wine in India seems to be coming of age (whatever that means), so it would be useful to know who the top Indian wine companies are.

 

  1. The largest, both by volume as well as valuation, would easily be Indage (or ‘Chateau Indage’, as they grandly like to term themselves). The pioneers of the wine industry in India with their wineries at Narayangaon (on the Pune – Nashik road), Indage launched the sparkling wine Marquise de Pompadour in 1986, Riviera soon after, and Chantilli in 1989. They were also the first to make ‘Bottled in India’ wines – since discontinued. Indage is likely to do 250,000 cases this year, having gone for volume with the launch (and aggressive pushing) of a range of low-cost wines (Vino, Vin Ballet, Figuera) that will be bottled on contract.

     

  2. Grover Vineyards was set-up near Bangalore in 1989 after the promoters tested soil and climatic conditions in various locations – including their native Maharashtra – and settled on the area north of Bangalore as being ideal. Their first wines were launched in 1992, and the company has remained remarkably focused on delivering good value – their La Reserve (a Cabernet Shiraz) was adjudged the best new world red wine by Steven Spurrier in the August 1995 issue of Decanter, so all those years of consulting Michel Rolland have surely paid-off. GV should do close to 100,000 cases this year, spurred by increased volumes from the launch of a low-cost wine ‘Sante’.

     

  3. Their wines caused a sensation when launched in 2000: Sula was the first marketing- savvy wine company, and Rajiv Samant has worked very hard to ensure it stays that way. His strategy was simple: give a better product at a higher price – thereby positioning his wares at an aspirational level for consumers. Sula is also the only Indian wine company to be present in all price and product segments, and should sell over 150,000 cases in 2006-07.

    And so it would have stayed, had the Maharashtra government not set out a forward-looking ‘Grape Processing Industrial Policy 2001’ (it was still anathema to officially mention ‘wine’) – which liberalized the industry in that state, making it easier and cheaper to obtain a license to produce wine, and easier to sell the product. Today there are nearly 50 new wineries in Maharashtra – though most are small and sell either locally or within the state, a few are worth mentioning:

     

  4. Sankalp Wines was the first winery off the block under the new policy, and their Vinsura wines (launched in 2003) are now available throughout India. Despite being based in the Vinchur Wine Park outside Nashik (how the government mindset loves  these schemes) they make a decent range of wines, and should sell some 15,000 cases this year.

     

  5. Renaissance Wines has a picture-book winery – a red-tiled hacienda-style building set amidst rolling vineyards outside Nashik. With excellent packaging and very drinkable wines, this new winery is already making converts wherever their eponymous wines have been launched; they have also reportedly entered into a bottling agreement with the UB Group.

     

  6. The fourth-largest winery in India is ND Wines – also located outside Nashik – which would have produced over 400,000 litres of wine in 2006 but sell the major portion of that to Sula, with only a very small quantity being bottled under their own label.

     

  7. Vintage Wines (again near Nashik) probably produce the best wine in India today – while their production is tiny (some 100,000 litres in 2006) their regular range
    (Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Chardonnay & a Cabernet Sauvignon) sold under the Reveilo label has won critical acclaim, and is a ‘must try’.

     

  8. Mandala Valley is a Bangalore-based company that has produced its first wines in 2006 under contract in Maharashtra, at the Solapur-based Mohini Wineries. While still young, the wines are attractively packaged and imaginatively marketed, and should carve a niche. The company has reportedly set up vineyards in Karnataka, and will add to their present range soon.

     

  9. Flamingo Wines is the second winery in the Vinchur Wine park outside Nashik, and produces a reasonable range of wines – but has been struggling to establish sales & distribution and has sold little of their wines so far.

     

  10. The list cannot be complete without including Vinicola, in Goa, which makes a wide range of wines using traditional techniques, and sells the resulting product largely in Goa
    - with a volume exceeding 75,000 cases annually, they would normally qualify as one of the largest wine companies in India.

 

There are many other new wine companies in the pipeline: the UB Group’s wine foray will take off and gather steam in 2007, as will ventures by people like Deepak Roy or Ranjit Dhuru. But more of that anon.

 

 

Alok Chandra

Bangalore

27th December 2006

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Published Dec 26 2006, 10:20 PM by admin
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Comments

 

Shankar said:

Would you recommend Chardonnays from Indage & Vintage? What should we eat with them?

January 3, 2007 7:57 PM
 

sagar_vw said:

hI

shankar

i recommended u the chardonnay from the vintage wines. Its a very fruty & consistant with incredible structuer this wine  goes very well with poltry dishes.

sagar

January 5, 2007 4:42 AM
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