Sonal Holland

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Sonal Holland
Sonal Holland02.jpg
Sonal Holland at her wine retail store in Mumbai in 2019
Sonal Chandole
  • Educator
  • Consultant
  • Entrepreneur for Wine, Saké and Spirits
Known forSonal Holland Wine Academy, India Wine Awards, SoHo Wine Club, SoHo Wine Consultants
  • Founder Educator at Sonal Holland Wine Academy
  • Chairperson of India Wine Awards
  • Founder Director of SoHo Wine Club

Sonal Holland is an Indian Master of Wine,[1][2] which is regarded in the wine industry as one of the highest standards of professional knowledge in the world and is the first recipient of the Master of Wine title in the country.[3][4][5] She is a certified wine educator, a certified professional in Saké and Shochu, a consultant, retailer, broadcaster, and the founder of India Wine Awards, considered India’s most authoritative wine competition.[6]


In 2016, Holland was named Master of Wine (MW) from the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine.[7][8] To become a MW, Holland had to pass a rigorous exam comprising five 3-hour papers on viticulture, vinification and bottling that form the theory component, followed by the practical component, the wine tasting, which requires a candidate to blind taste 36 wines over three days, assessing them for origin, quality, winemaking and style.[9] Her dissertation was on, "Awareness, attitude and usage of wine among SEC A urban Indian wine consumers.”[10]

Prior to the MW, Holland received Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits from Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).[11] Holland also holds a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Mumbai, and a Diploma in Hotel Management from the IHM Mumbai.[12]

In February 2020, she became a certified professional in Saké and Shochu.[13] She was conferred an advanced certification in Saké and Shochu by the Japan Saké and Shochu Makers Association.


Holland was a director of national sales at a Fortune 500 company, and gave it up to pursue her passion in wine, enrolling in the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in London and completed the two-year diploma.[6] Initially in her career, she worked as the Divisional Head of Wine & Beverage at ITC Hotels.[14]

In 2009, Holland founded the Sonal Holland Wine Academy, which in association with the London-based WSET, provides world-class wine education.[9]

In 2017, Holland conceived the India Wine Awards, considered India’s most authoritative wine competition which recognizes excellence in wine and wine programs in the country.[15]

In early 2019, she entered wine retail with an entrepreneurial venture, Vine2Wine.[16] These contemporary wine retail stores are located in Foodhall gourmet stores in Mumbai and Bangalore, and features a global selection of wine and beer.

Brand ambassador[edit]

In 2018, she was conferred the Official Ambassador title by the German VDP wine association and the Bourgogne Wine Board with the charge of promoting their wines in India.

Wine judging[edit]

She has judged several prestigious international competitions including the 2018 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Concours Mondial du Bruxelles and the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.[17]

Wine journalism and broadcast[edit]

An award-winning wine broadcaster, Holland’s content on the Sonal Holland Wine TV has garnered over half a million views. Her wine columns have been published in publications including Vogue,[18] Mid Day,[19] and LuxeBook.[20] In 2018, she gave her first TEDx talk, chronicling her journey from a Fortune 500 corporate house to becoming India’s leading wine voice.


  • Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Indian Luxury for five consecutive years—2015, 2016 and 2017, 2018 and 2019 by luxury business magazine Luxebook[21]
  • Top 100 Most Influential People in Indian Luxury for four consecutive years in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, 2020, 2021 by Luxebook
  • Top Women in Wine by the Indian Wine Academy
  • ‘Wine Personality of the Year’ award by India’s leading food writers’ association, the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI)
  • Felicitation by Rotary International District Conference for her exceptional contribution to the Indian wine industry


  1. ^ "Sonal Holland MW". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  2. ^ Singh, Ruma (2018-10-19). "The country's only Master of Wine on putting India on the wine map". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  3. ^ Steinberger, Mike (2011-06-09). "The Master of Wine Exam". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  4. ^ Joshi, Shriya (2016-09-08). "Meet Sonal Holland, World's First Indian To Be Certified As Master Of Wine. #Proud!". Storypick. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  5. ^ "Mumbai woman becomes world's first Indian to get coveted Master of Wine title". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  6. ^ a b "Mumbai woman Sonal Holland becomes world's first Indian Master of Wine". The Indian Express. 2016-09-08. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  7. ^ "Sonal Holland". Institute of Masters of Wine. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  8. ^ Halim, Moeena (8 September 2016). "Meet Indias first and only master of wine, Sonal Holland". India Today. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Kapur, Mallika. "Can this woman make India love wine?". CNN. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  10. ^ "See the 13 new Masters of Wine and titles to their research papers".
  11. ^ "Dips, topli paneer and chocolates..." The Times of India. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  12. ^ Chaturvedi, Anumeha. "Sonal Holland A Heady Mix". Business Today. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Sonal Holland becomes India's first Advanced Sake and Shochu Professional Expert". HospiBuz. 2020-02-25. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  14. ^ Karwa, Marisha (2016-09-11). "Wine master in the house". DNA India. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  15. ^ "Bigger, Better, and Shinier – The India Wine Awards 2018 Winners & Gala Night Celebration". 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  16. ^ "Wine Retail: Sonal Holland MW teams up with Foodhall for Wine Retail". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  17. ^ Earl, Natalie (2018-08-30). "DAWA judge profile: Sonal Holland MW". Decanter. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  18. ^ "Wine connoisseurs, you'll want to be in on this big new trend". Vogue India. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  19. ^ "Cheers to spotless wine glasses". mid-day. 2020-03-28. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  20. ^ Patel, Pooja (2020-01-10). "Sonal Holland Picks Top Premium Indian Red Wines | LuxeBook". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  21. ^ "Top 50 most powerful women in Indian luxury honoured at Imperial Towers, Mumbai". Retrieved 2020-04-21.