Tag Archive for: Sula Vineyards

It’s true to say that Indian viticulture has historically had its ups and downs and with it the quality of the wine.  But these days, the winemaking expertise is worthy of mention and we’re as proud to bang the Indian drum as any other wine producing nation.

Grape picking in India

Indeed India has a pretty long history of grape growing.  Historical evidence suggests vines were introduced from Persia (more recently known as Iran).  During the British and Portuguese colonial years, winemaking flourished, only to be scuppered by the pesky phylloxera louse which, as we know, took its toll across much of the winemaking world.

Indian vineyards took time to recover from phylloxera but did begin to thrive once more in the early 1900s.  Frustratingly for the grape farmers, religious and public opinion then started a campaign towards alcohol prohibition.  This was fueled by independence from the British Empire and many states eventually banned alcohol altogether.   The farmers had no choice but to convert to table grape production at this time and winemaking disastrously went out the window.

During the late 20th century, winemaking pretty much exploded in India – a boom in the economy and the rising yuppy-ism suggested that huge domestic demand was just around the corner.  In fact, the boom lasted well over a decade, giving aspiring young winemakers plenty of time to prove that it really is possible to produce impressive, world-class wines.

Tragically, many wineries were hit by world recession, leaving them strapped for cash.  They struggled to successfully promote their wines, finding the world market somewhat saturated, ignorant and with little or no appetite to provide space for an Indian wine category.  Many simply didn’t have deep enough pockets (or maybe the desire) to spend on extravagant advertising.   As such, the turn of the 21st century witnessed many estates close their doors, grub up their vines and replace with alternative, more profitable vegetable crops.

The good news is that the few wineries that survived are thriving, producing the quality and quantity suitable for export, all the while encouraging a massive uptake in local wine tourism.  Sula Vineyards alone see literally thousands of tourists flooding through their cellars every weekend as Indians up and down the country relish the intrigue and excitement of experiencing wine for the first time.

We’re shining a spotlight on Dindori Shiraz this spring – find out more here.


After a (semi-) successful January of wine abstinence (yes, even we embrace a bit of the ‘Dry J’ thing), February brought with it an interesting shot at vegetarianism and I am pleased to report that, with the exception of the odd fishy inclusion, it was far easier to conquer!  “It’s all about textures”, says Jude.  And she’s not wrong (check out her recipes on our website and you’ll see she knows what she’s talking about).  “Food is just like wine – the more layers of texture, as well as flavour, the more exciting it becomes.”

One unexpected, yet very welcome outcome from taking the veggie challenge was the positive impact on the purse strings – I’d never really appreciated how reasonably priced veg is compared to hunks of meat.  Food for thought, as they say.

Wasn’t it fun to welcome March 2022 with the flip of a few pancakes!  Any aficionado of any substance will surely agree that the best pancake is the classic lemon and sugar option – totally delicious and surprisingly improved by a glass of barrel-fermented Spanish Chardonnay from Sabina.

The Hungry Gap

So who is bracing themselves for March winds?  Let’s be honest, it surely can’t be any worse than those we experienced throughout February.  But the third month of the year always sees another challenge.  The ‘hungry gap’, as it’s known to farmers, is the moment when there’s a lull in fresh vegetable availability.  In wine terms, we have our own ‘thirsty gap’ as we impatiently await the new 2021 bottlings from the northern hemisphere wine estates to arrive on our shelves – the fresh acidity and zip of the latest harvest literally kick-starts the tastebuds each spring.

Spotlight on…

The news of the moment is we have just launched our ‘Spotlight on…‘ series.  Pam & Jude turned on the search lamps last month to highlight some real treasures that have been hiding in the shadows for far too long.  Each week the spotlight will fall on an individual wine of their choice.   From recipes for the perfect food pairing to juicy nuggets of expanded info on the wine and winery, let us set your curiosity alight and – who knows – maybe even entice you to buy a bottle!   We’ve kicked off with our limited edition Carmenere from the Perez Cruz family estate in Chile, followed by a new white Viognier from the Limari valley, within spitting distance of the Atacama desert.  This week, we are delighted to welcome the 2019 vintage of the oh-so-special ‘Dindori’ Shiraz from our good friends at Sula in central India.  Do check these out on our website.

Please remember, don’t forget…

International Women’s Day – Tuesday 8th March

No Smoking Day! – Wednesday 9th March

World Water Day  –  Tuesday 22nd March

Mother’s Day – Sunday 27th March

A final word – no time for procrastination…

We continue our efforts to keep costs to an all time low and with it our carbon footprint.  (You’ll notice that even this letter is printed on recycled paper!)  Sadly, however, our pricing is being literally battered by one disaster after another.  And as fuel costs continue to spiral out of cost of of wine production, shipping  and packaging.  It is likely that we will be forced to push some prices a degree or two north in the coming weeks, so don’t delay if you want to take advantage of current pricing.

Cheers for now!


It’s Lockdown Live Curry Night – and a chance to win a bottle this evening!!!!
So crack open the Indian wine (or whatever you have to hand) and join us at 7pm for Thursday night’s vinous banter.  Discover how amazingly wines can pair with Indian food.  You can even get stuck into our delicious canape recipes here>  
It’s lots of fun, interactive and relaxed.  What’s not to enjoy?

Viticulture in India has a long history and there is historical evidence of grapevines being introduced from Persia.

Sula Vineyards Grape Harvesting

Harvest time at Sula Vinyards

During the time of the Portuguese and British colonisation winemaking flourished in India. The end of the 19th century saw the phylloxera louse take its toll on the Indian wine industry as with much of the world.  Then religious and public opinion started to move towards the prohibition of alcohol.

After independence from the British Empire a number of states became ‘dry states’ and the government encouraged vineyards to convert to table grape production.

In the 1980s and 1990s the Indian wine industry was revived as international influences and the growing middle classes started increasing demand.  Now there are very few wineries who produce the quality and quantity suitable for export.  Sula Vineyards in Maharashtra state are one of the few who do and their Syrah and Viognier are fabulous.

View the wines here >

You may have noticed that in keeping with Hannibal’s theme of ‘unusual wines from unusual origins‘, we’ve just introduced some Indian wines.  Now, we may all harbour a reservation or two about the quality of Indian wine.  But take it from me, this ain’t no gimmick – the wines really do stack up.  A worker harvests grapes in a vineyard in Nashik, India

And why shouldn’t they?  After all, India does in fact have quite a history of grape growing – it’s been around since 400 BC.  Back then, it was mostly table grapes produced, but more recently (specifically during the British colonization), the Indians turned their hand to winemaking.

In the ’90s, winemaking pretty much exploded in India – a boom in the economy and the rising yuppy-ism suggested that huge domestic demand was just around the corner.  In fact, the boom lasted well over a decade, giving aspiring young winemakers plenty of time to prove that it really is possible to produce impressive, world-class wines.

On a more realistic note, as India has been hit by world recession, so too have a huge number of Indian wineries, leaving them strapped for cash and unable to progress.  

It’s true to say that some will survive – Sula Vineyards have developed a hotel and restaurant activity to shore up their winery earnings and we can be certain that they won’t compromise on their position as country leaders in winemaking.  Sadly, it seems likely that many wineries will revert back to the more lucrative earnings of table grapes, which will be a shame and a loss to us all.

Bottom line… don’t miss the opportunity – Indian wine may not be around for long.  Click on India>