Viticulture in India has a long history, dating back to the time of the Indus Valley civilisation when grapevines were believed to have been introduced from Persia. Winemaking has existed throughout most of India’s history, but was particularly encouraged during the time of the Portuguese and British colonisation of the subcontinent.
In the 16th century, Portuguese colonists in Goa introduced port-style wine and the production of fortified wines soon spread to other regions. Under the British rule during the Victorian era, viticulture and winemaking were strongly encouraged as a domestic source for the British colonists.
Vineyards were planted extensively through the Baramati, Kashmir and Surat regions. In 1883, at the Calcutta International Exhibition, Indian wines were showcased to a favourable reception. The Indian wine industry was reaching its peak by the time the Phylloxera epidemic made its way to country and devastated its vineyards. It was a long road for the Indian wine industry to recover from the devastation at the end of the 19th century.
In the early 1980s with the founding of Chateau Indage in Maharashtra and the assistance of French winemakers, Chateau Indage began to import Vitis vinifera grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Pinot noir and Ugni blanc and started making still and sparkling wines.
Within the Maharashtra region, vineyards are found on the Deccan Plateau and around Baramati, Nashik, Pune, Sangli and Sholapur. In Karnataka, vineyards are found in the outskirts of Bangalore, Chikkaballapur, Bagalkot and Bijapur.
More: Deccan Herald