Sula Vineyards

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Coordinates: 20°00′24.8″N 73°41′18.5″E / 20.006889°N 73.688472°E / 20.006889; 73.688472

Sula Vineyards
Sulawines logo.png
LocationNashik, Maharashtra, India
Founded1999
First vintage1999
Key peopleRajeev Samant (Founder & CEO)
Kerry Damskey (Master Winemaker)
VarietalsChenin blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel
Other productsGrape seed oil, Grape brandy
Other attractionsWines, Wine Tourism, Sulafest
Websitewww.sulawines.com

Sula Vineyards (or "Sula") is a winery and vineyard located in the Nashik region of western India,180 km northeast of Mumbai. It was founded by Rajeev Samant in 1999.[1][2] After the launch of its first wines in 2000, Sula expanded from its original 30 acre family estate in Nashik to approximately 2000 acres across Nashik and the state of Maharashtra. Sula introduced grape varietals such as Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel to India.[3]

History[edit]

Sula Vineyards was founded by Mr. Rajeev Samant in the late 1990s. Samant studied at Stanford University and worked at Oracle in California thereafter. After quitting his corporate job, Samant established Sula upon his return to India.[4]

Sula was named after Samant's mother – 'Sulabha'. Samant steadily grew the company over the next few years by introducing newer grape varieties and expanding the company's offerings.[4] The Nashik region has been called "India’s Napa Valley."[5]

View of Sula Vineyards, Nashik

Sula's grapes come from their vineyards as well as from contract farmers across the region, who are trained by Sula’s viticulture team.[6]

Estate Vineyards[edit]

Sula Vineyard in Nashik
Sula Vineyard in Nashik

Nashik

Sula’s estate vineyards in Nashik
Sula’s estate vineyards in Nashik

Sula expanded from its original 30-acre family estate in Nashik, to over 2000 acres across Nashik and the state of Maharashtra. Sula’s Nashik vineyard, situated near the Gangapur hills is the first-of-its-kind in the region. It includes restaurants, tasting rooms, amphitheatre and spa in their resort.[7][8]

Beyond by Sula
Beyond by Sula

Business[edit]

Hospitality[edit]

The Source at Sula
The Source at Sula

The Source at Sula[edit]

Established in 2015, The Source at Sula is India’s first heritage vineyard resort, situated in the heart of Sula Vineyards in Nashik. The 30 room property has recently added 20 more uber-luxurious rooms. This 51 room boutique hotel offers a variety of accommodation options including ‘treehouses’ and luxurious suites for all types of holiday goers.[9][10]

Over 80% of the energy required by The Source is generated by solar panels installed on the property itself. Other sustainable practices followed on-site include the use of water-efficient shower-heads and low flush toilets, as well as a dedicated biogas plant that converts food waste to biogas. Effluent water treatment plants reuse all the wastewater generated. There is a temperature-controlled swimming pool, spa and massage centre; as well as wine tasting sessions available for guests.[11]

Beyond by Sula[edit]

Situated near the Gangapur hills, Beyond by Sula is a part of the Nashik estate vineyard that is spread over 2acres. This luxury vineyard property includes a 3-bedroom sky-villa and 7 lakeside-facing rooms that overlook the Gangapur lake, as well as an infinity pool.[12]

Wine Tourism[edit]

Tasting Room[edit]

Sula’s tasting cellar offers tasting sessions at the vineyards in Nashik and Bengaluru. Visitors can pick from different packages and enjoy the wines available on-site under the expert guidance of the tasting team.Conducted seven days a week, these sessions cost between 200-1000 INR per person.[13]

Vineyard Tours[edit]

Sula offers tours at their Nashik and Karnataka vineyards that includes winery visits where you can learn about the company’s wine production methods. The tour lasts around 20 minutes and is hosted by a wine expert on-site.[14]

SulaFest Nigh Music Party
SulaFest'20

Sustainability[edit]

Over 50% of all of Sula’s energy needs are met by the solar panels installed at the winery in Nashik. By using solar energy for water heating and in the water pumps used in the manufacturing process, the company has reportedly saved on diesel fuel costs. The packaging used for Sula’s products are 99% recyclable, and the company has planted over 30,000 trees around Nashik in the last few years.[15]

Over 80% of the energy required by their hospitality operations is generated by solar panels installed on the vineyard in Nashik. Other sustainable practices followed on-site include the use of water-efficient shower-heads and low flush toilets, as well as a dedicated biogas plant that converts over 200 kgs of food waste to biogas each day. The use of biogas saves the consumption of over 300 LPG cylinders annually. Additionally, effluent water treatment plants reuse all the wastewater generated, an approximate 40 million litres every year.[15][16]

~25% of Sula’s fertilizer needs are met by homemade organic compost through vermiculture. They have also worked on reducing chemical input, adopting drip irrigation to reduce water consumption by ~40%, and biological control of predators on the vines in their efforts to be a sustainable wine producer.[17]

Sula has contributed directly to providing an improved standard of living for over 700 families that reside in and around the Nashik vineyards. The company also constructed 16 toilets at Savargoan village in Maharashtra as a part of the Prime Minister’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan initiative.

SulaFest[edit]

India’s biggest vineyard music festival, SulaFest takes place at the Sula vineyards in Nashik every year. Started in 2008, the festival has performances by global artists, gourmet food, and a variety of wine-centric activities. Festival-goers can engage in grape stomping, wine tasting, and camping, apart from live concerts, delectable food choices and other offers.[18]

Some of the biggest names in the music industry like Shankar Mahadevan, Divine, Salim-Sulaiman, Jungle, Hot Chip, Amit Trivedi, Lucky Ali, Kailash Kher, Nitin Sawhney, Ire FM, Dub Pistols, Young the Giant and many more.[19]

Solar Panels for Sustainability
Solar Panels for Sustainability

Production[edit]

In the year 2019, Sula crushed over 9000 tonnes of grapes during the harvest season.[20][21][22]

Red - 55%

White - 45%

Tasting Room at Sula, Nashik
Tasting Room at Sula, Nashik

Wine Brands[edit]

Sula's Tasting Cellar at Nashik
Sula's tasting cellar and bottle display at Nashik

Rasa[edit]

The Rasa range is named after Rajeev Samant, the founder and CEO of Sula Vineyards and has three variants[23] -

  • Rasa Cabernet Sauvignon - This elegant red wine is aged in premium French oak barrels for over a year and then matured in the bottle before release.It contains an ABV of 14%.
  • Rasa Syrah -The red wine is aged for around 12-16 months in French oak barrels and contains an ABV of 14%.
  • Rasa Zinfandel - This smooth red wine matures for around 3-4 months in French Oak barrels and contains an ABV of 14%.

Dindori[edit]

Sulaʼs Dindori Reserve highlights the winemakers and their endeavours, using their winemaking skills and tools.

The Dindori collection by Sula includes three variants -

  • Dindori Reserve Viognier - This off-dry white wine has a rich fruity profile and an ABV of 12.5%.
  • Dindori Reserve Chardonnay - This medium-bodied off-dry white wine is partly aged in French Oak barrels and contains an ABV of 13%.
  • Dindori Reserve Shiraz - This full-bodied, dry red wine is barrel-aged in American oak for 10-12 months and contains an ABV of 14%. It is the first ever Indian wine to feature in the ‘Top 100 Wines’ list by Wine Enthusiast.

The Source[edit]

Sula has focused on select vineyard sites and craftsmanship to make memorable and tasty wines.The collection includes two variants -

  • The Source Grenache Rosé - This luxurious rosé wine contains an ABV of 12.5%.
  • The Source Sauvignon Blanc Reserve - This medium-bodied dry white wine is partly aged in French Oak barrels and contains an ABV of 12.5%.

Sula Classics[edit]

Sula’s wine offering includes over 30 variants[24] -

  • Sula Brut - A well-rounded, fruit-forward wine.matured for 2-4 months. It contains an ABV of 12%.
  • Sula Brut Tropicale - Sula’s first Blanc de Noirs is a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc and 40% includes Shiraz and Riesling. It is bottle-aged for 18 months and contains an ABV of 12%.
  • Sula Sparkling Shiraz - Sula Sparkling Shiraz is India’s first and only sparkling shiraz wine. Matured for 4-5 months in oak barrels, this wine contains an ABV of 13.5%.
  • Sula Zinfandel Rosé - India’s first ever Zinfandel, this wine contains an ABV of 11.5%.
  • Sula Riesling - This fruity white wine is India’s first Riesling and contains an ABV of 11%.
  • Sula Sauvignon Blanc - India’s first ever Sauvignon Blanc, this unbaked white wine contains an ABV of 12.5%.
  • Sula Chenin Blanc - This semi-dry white wine is India’s first ever Chenin Blanc as well as the country’s best-selling white wine. It contains an ABV of 12%.
  • Sula Chenin Blanc Reserve - The limited edition Chenin Blanc Reserve is hand-picked from Sula’s Dindori estate vineyards. Partially aged in French oak barrels, it contains an ABV of 12.5%.
  • Sula Cabernet Shiraz - This medium-bodied red wine is India’s best-selling red wine. It contains an ABV of 13.5%.[25]
  • Sula Zinfandel - This medium-bodied red wine contains an ABV of 13.5%.
  • Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc - This dessert wine by Sula is India’s first ever late harvest Chenin Blanc and contains an ABV of 13.5%. This variant has won at the Indian Wine Consumers Choice Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • Sula Seco Rosé - This medium-dry rosé sparkling wine contains an ABV of 10.5%.
  • Sula Seco - Sula Seco Rose is a medium dry rosé sparkling wine with an ABV of 10.5%.
  • Sula Satori Tempranillo - "Satori" is a Zen term meaning "sudden enlightenment". This red wine variant is a medium-bodied blend of Tempranillo, Malbec and Merlot. It contains an ABV of 13%.

Kadu[edit]

Kadu (“wild” in Kannada) is the first premium wine offering from Sula’s winery in Karnataka. It is India's first 'Wildlife Wine' devoted to the cause of tiger conservation. The label for Kadu wines have been designed by renowned label designer Simon Frouws.[26][27][28]

The Kadu collection by Sula includes four variants -

  • Kadu Chenin Blanc - This refreshing white wine contains an ABV of 12%.
  • Kadu Cabernet Shiraz - This medium-bodied red wine contains an ABV of 13%.
  • Kadu Shiraz Rosé - This fruity wine contains an ABV of 12%
  • Kadu Sauvignon Blanc - This aromatic white wine contains an ABV of 12%

Dia Wine Sparkler[edit]

Dia wine sparkler launched in 2019, is India’s first-ever wine-in-a-can. The wine sparkler is available in red and white. Prior to this, Dia consisted of two bottled variants, Dia Sparkling Red and Dia Sparkling White. The wine is currently available in Goa and Maharashtra.[29]

Sula Selections - Import and export[edit]

Sula's import arm, 'Sula Selections', partners with leading global wine and spirit brands and distributes them to the Indian market. Some of the import selections are Remy Martin, Asahi, and Hardy's.[30]

Sula exports to 26 countries and is listed with Marks & Spencers, an international UK-based retail brand.[31]

Wines[edit]

Sula Selections includes wines bottled in the country of their origin, which are then imported by Sula for sale in the Indian market. Hardys, Familia Torres, Trapiche, Cono Sur, Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Cap Royal, Group Italiano Vini, and Le Grand Noir are currently imported to be sold in India.

Spirits[edit]

Sula Selections includes spirits bottled in the country of their origin, which are then imported by Sula for sale in the Indian market. Rémy Martin, St. Remy Authentic, Mount Gay, Beluga Cointreau and are currently imported to be sold in India.

Beer[edit]

Sula Selections includes beers bottled in the country of their origin, which are then imported by Sula for sale in the Indian market. Asahi is the only international beer brand currently imported to be sold in India.

The annual music festival, SulaFest, takes place at this Greek-style amphitheater at Sula Vineyards

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Wine Enthusiast Best Buying Guide 2020
    • Sula Shiraz - 90 points
    • Sula Brut Tropicale - 89 points
    • Sula Sauvignon Blanc - 87 points
  • Rasa Shiraz – Silver Medal, Syrah Du Monde (2010) [32]
  • Dindori Reserve Shiraz – Ranked #25 on Wine Enthusiast magazine's Top 100 Wines of the Year list (2011) [33]
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Zinfandel
    • Bronze Medal, Decanter Wine Asia Awards (2012) [36]
    • Silver Medal, Indian Consumers Choice Award (2013) [37]
  • Riesling – Gold Medal, Indian Consumers Choice Award (2013) [37]
  • Late Harvest Chenin Blanc – Gold Medal, Indian Consumers Choice Award (2013) [37]
  • Rasa Shiraz – Silver Medal, Syrah Du Monde (2014) [38][39]

Milestones[edit]

Sula is considered a pioneer in India winemaking and has achieved many milestones in the last few decades. These are the milestones achieved -

  • Sula Vineyards was the first company to set up a winery in Nashik in 1999. The company has been instrumental in Nashik earning a reputation of becoming the ‘Wine Capital of India.’[1]
  • Sula pioneered many classic grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc in 2000, Zinfandel in 2003, and Riesling in 2008.[40]
  • Launched India’s first Grenache Rosé.[41]
  • Launched India’s first and only sparkling Shiraz.[42]
  • Producer of India’s best-selling red wine.
  • Sula is a leader in wine education in India – Sula Sommeliers conducted nearly 1300 tastings for consumers and institutions in 2020
  • Sula is also one of the few authorized WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) course providers in India. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust often referred to as WSET, is a global organization that arranges courses and exams in the field of wine and spirits. WSET was founded in 1969, is headquartered in London and is generally regarded as one of the world's leading providers of wine education.
  • Launched India’s first ‘Wildlife Wine’, Kadu in four varieties available in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa.[43]
  • Launched India’s first wine in a can – Dia, in two variants of red and white wine.[44]
  • Sula is the first national wine brand to be listed with TASMAC - The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation.[45]
  • Sula’s wines are served on India’s national carrier - Air India. [46]
  • Sula is the first Indian wine to be listed by Marks & Spencer UK in the year 2013.[47]
  • [48]

Collaboration with WSET[edit]

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), is a global organization that facilitates courses in the field of wine and spirits. Founded in 1969, WSET is headquartered in London and is regarded as one of the world's leading wine and spirits education providers.[49]

As the number one Approved Programme Provider (APP) for WSET, Sula Vineyards offers globally recognized certificate courses in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Goa, Bengaluru, Delhi, Nagpur, and Hyderabad for beginners and aficionados alike.[50]

References[edit]

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  50. ^ "Sula enters Structured Wine Education with WSET".

External links[edit]