It’s going to be a good year for Nashik, India’s wine capital

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on January 17, 2020 Published on January 17, 2020

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With temperatures dropping gradually, conditions are perfect for the making of good wines

Crushing of wine grapes is about to begin in Maharashtra and winemakers believe that the night temperature dipping to 6 degrees is perfect for making good wines, especially in areas around Nashik, the wine capital of India. The 2020 Vintage may well turn out to be one of India’s best wines in recent years.

Flamingo Wines Chairman Jagadish Holkar told BusinessLine that winter usually lasts from December 15 to January 15 but this year the onset was delayed by 15 days, which has produced favourable climate for grape berries to set properly. There is no sudden drop in temperature — it has been gradual — so the grape vines have acclimatised to the winter very well, he said.

Holkar, who is also former chairman of the Indian Grape Processing Board, said the winter has not been severe with the temperature dropping to 1-2 degrees around Nashik. Temperatures up to 6 degrees will help the grape berries and wines, and upon maturation by 2021, they will be of very good quality, he said.

Last year, wineries across the country had processed about 25,000 tonnes of grapes and had produced about 16 million litres of wine. Maharashtra is the leading wine producer in the country, producing more than 60 per cent of the country’s wines.

Nashik, other than being the country’s onion capital, is the largest growing region for table and wine-variety grapes with a fully integrated processing industry. The region’s variation between high and low temperatures during winter is such that it is most conducive for Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape variety cultivated globally. It takes up to 185 days for the grapes to ripen, similar to other Cabernet Sauvignon regions of the world.

Abhay Kewadkar, wine expert and Managing Director of Tetrad Global Beverages, said that in spite of the drop damage of about 20 per cent last year due to the heavy rains in Maharashtra, the crop is still in good condition, with scope to make more premium wines. The production volume may be lower but the quality of the wine will be good, he said.

The wine business continues to grow in the State and the country. In the last five years it has notched a compound annual growth rate of 7 per cent, he said. Kewadkar was earlier the chief winemaker for the Four Seasons Winery, owned by Diageo.

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Published on January 17, 2020
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