The CP club Woods lawns were again decked up today for an event Nagpur elite and connoisseurs have begun looking forward to – the Nagpur Wine festival. This year there was a serious attempt to pair it with food, but with the mad rush that engulfed the venue by 9 p.m. this idea could not quite be pulled off. But the crowds that came for the opening day, showed that discerning Nagpur citizens have begun understanding and appreciating the concept of Wine as a better and healthier option to spirits.
“The wine industry in India is maturing. Right now there is a flux with a glut of new vineyards and Wine companies and demand not really meeting with high expectations set, but sale of wine is definitely growing and will continue to do so. The strong players are consolidating, expanding and hopeful of a turn around. It is a Sunshine industry” says Rajvit Bali, V.P. Sales of Fratelli wines, one of the leading Wine companies. Mr. Bali was one of the chief guests of yesterday’s event.
Agrees Sumedh Singh Mandla CEO of Grover Zampa, the fastest growing Vineyards Company of India the other VIP guest.
“The spirit market ( spirits are drinks like whisky, vodka and rum) outstrips the wine market by almost 150% – so there is tremendous scope for Vineyards to flourish and sales to grow” comments Sumedh in a exclusive chat with NT.
“It was our British heritage that got us used to our glass of scotch, gin and rum… and then Vodka, white rums etc, too made an entry. We are now a country of spirit drinkers – one of the most proliferate in the world. But younger generations are understanding the virtue of turning from spirits to wines” said Rajvit optimistically.
He cites the example of his own two sons who are professionals in Delhi and Banglore respectively.
“They began with beer; went on to whisky and vodka but have settled on wines now mostly. They like the subtle taste and understand it is a much more healthy option”.
The History of Wine industry in India
Like mentioned before, the spirits industry got a head start in India because of the British and their drinking habits. There is mention of grapes in India even in the B.C. era and probably there must have been Indian wines too ( what is mentioned as ‘Madira’) but during the British rule grapes were only for consumption as fruits – not for wine. For 300 – 400 years there was no wine being made in India.
In the 1980s Grovers became the pioneers of Vineyards and wine making in India. They went about it very methodically. They had soil, terrain and weather conditions of 10 Indian states studied and they actually grew grapes in all these places to study the results and their capacity to yield good wine. Then they zeroed in on three states – Karnataka, Maharashtra and AP, but with some areas of Karnataka adjudged the most suitable.
So the Grover family moved from Mumbai to Bangalore to set up vineyards. They grew their own grapes, by importing seeds from France. They set up making wine under the guidance of famous Wine maker or Vintner, Mitchell Roland, who is a French and is consultant to many wine companies all over the world.
They finally launched Grover wines in India in 1983.
Last year to beat the inter state tax problem, they bought a Vineyard in Maharashtra called Zampa and are now being called ‘Grover Zampa’.
Fratelli is based near Akluj in Maharashtra and are one of the most modern Vineyards with temperature controlled processes throughout – from production to storage.
Fratelli literally mean Brothers and the company was begun by two pairs of brothers – Italian and Indian.
Their passion, love and labour saw the birth of Fratelli Wines, a modern winemaking facility in Akluj, a town in the Solapur district, about 170 kms south of Pune. Long, neatly planted rows of vitis vinifera adorn the Fratelli owned estate covering an expanse of about 240 acres across three different sites at Motewadi, Garwad and Nimgaon.
The viticultural and wine-making expertise has been provided by Piero Masi, a leading name in the world of winemaking. Piero is justifiably renowned in Tuscany and is credited with production of some fabulous wines that are acclaimed by connoisseurs and critics alike.
The 3rd Wine Festival of Nagpur
This time 8 Wine makers are participating in the fair. Sula, Four Seasons, Nine Hills, Turning Point, Fratelli, Grover Zampa, Pause and Deshmukh Vineyards.
There was a good choice of food to go with the wine too, and we were promised that expert chefs would advise patron about which wine to pair with which food, but the rush and the almost bee line for food, did not allow this to happen in the relaxed atmosphere it takes to savour wine and food.
There were innovative offerings like cheese and Fruit platter by Chef Sushant in ‘Royal Majesty’, Parsee food on offer by Bawas run personally by the Dongaji family yesterday and others like BB offering delectable burgers and fish.
The ambience was good but the loud music was a bit of a dampener. To go with wine, you need soft instrumental, preferably western music! This was the comment from many visitors, which organizers will hopefully note!
But over all a tremendous effort and a laudable project by the Nagpur Wine Lovers Club began my Sharad Fadnis and friends some years ago.
Why is Wine healthier than Spirits?
What is the difference between wine and spirits? The main differences are in the production process, the ingredients that go into making both, and the content of alcohol.
Wine is made only through fermentation. The juice of fruits is fermented with yeast to create alcohol. Spirits, on the other hand, are made by distilling a fermented product. Distilled wine is also made, and it is known as brandy.
Wine is made with fruits, whereas spirits are made with a mash, which is a combination of grains and other ingredients.
Wine typically has an alcoholic content of 9-12% ABV, but spirits almost always have a 40% ABV.
|Made by fermenting fruits.||Made by distilling a fermented product.|
|Made from fruits.||Made from a mash.|
|Lower alcoholic content.||Higher alcoholic content|
PICS BY: Vinay Nimgade