Tag Archives: Sula Vineyards

SulaFest 2017: 10th edition of this Gourmet Music & Wine Festival to get bigger & better.

If there is one company that has put India firmly on the world wine tourism map, it is Rajeev Samant’s Sula Vineyards, situated in Nashik, Maharashtra. And if there is one event which has taken snobbery out of wine drinking and succeeded in attracting hordes of youngsters to this magical beverage, it is SulaFest, held every year on the first weekend of February, since 2008 in the idyllic environs of Sula Vineyards.

The 10th edition of this trendy wine, music and food extravaganza is just two days away. It promises to be its best ever, looking at the exciting line-up of 120 international and national music artists slated to play at the festival. The setup in 2017 is bigger too, as the festival is spread over three days 3rd 4th and 5th February, compared to the previous two day format.

To accommodate the large number of artists, befitting a “World Music Festival”, three stages have been constructed, a Greek style Amphitheatre, Atmasphere and a new addition, Tropical Stage. Some of the renowned artists performing at SulaFest 2017 will be Bloc Party, an indie rock band from London, Dana Ruh and the Israeli duo with a catchy name “Infected Mushroom”.

Indian artists will be out in full force on Day 1 (3rd Feb) of the fest, when homegrown talent like Indian Ocean, Nucleya, The Raghu Dixit Project will be setting the stage on fire (not literally I hope)

Music across all genres will be featured, from techno, house, electronica, indie, reggae, afro, world fusion to psychedelic trance. Along with wine, this promises to be quite a heady combination.

Complete day wise artist line-up of SulaFest 2017 on 3rd 4th & 5th Feb 2017
Complete day wise artist line-up of SulaFest 2017 on 3rd 4th & 5th Feb 2017

Talking of wine, which of course will be there in plenty, there will be grape stomping sessions since it is harvest season at the winery, winery tours and organised wine tastings. Sula sold nearly a million cases of wine in 2016 and SulaFest is a great occasion to showcase its various labels and make people understand how that bottle gets from the vineyard to the table. It is also an exposure to Nashik, Maharashtra (about four hours drive from Mumbai), India’s most important wine growing region which many term as India’s own Napa Valley.

However, wine will not be the only beverage served. There will be other spirits too like Mount Gay Rum, Asahi Beer, Cognac all imported through Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards. For teetotallers and health freaks, cold press juices from Raw Pressery will satiate your thirst.

And there will be food. Plenty of it from popular Mumbai restaurants like Bombay Food Truck, Mainland China, Busago, Maroosh, Woodside Inn and lots more.

There is a “Tent City” that has been set up amidst the vineyards, complete with a little weekend flea market “SulaFest Bazaar”. What you can expect to enjoy here are Sunrise Yoga Sessions, SulaFest Run and Foot Massages. There will be a Tarot Card reader to give you a little peek into your future.

The three day affair promises to be a lot of fun. The romance of a vineyard setting is unparalleled as it is. Couple that with great music and food and it becomes intoxicating. You will not know till you experience it.

To book tickets (hopefully there will be some left still as last few years have been completely sold out) here is the link.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Indian Wines Showcased at Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Tristan Beau de Lomenie, the handsome and suave General Manager of Pullman New Delhi Aerocity made a telling statement while addressing the guests at “Taste of India”, a Winemakers Dinner at Pluck & Pling, the all-day fine dining restaurant at his hotel. He said, “This is not a competition but a collaboration among India’s top wine producers”.

He was referring to the winemakers from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa, who had flown down to Delhi, to present their wines at a well curated dinner at Pullman, the purpose of which was to highlight the tremendous progress made by the Indian wine industry, both in terms of quality and styles.

Tristan also made a little confession and admitted that four years ago, when he and his wife Isabel came to India, they were not very fond of Indian wine. However, over the years, he has been amazed by the improvement in the quality of Indian wines and now, not only has he become a fan, but is actively promoting them in his hotel.

This dinner was notable for several reasons. Four of India’s well known winemakers, Ajoy Shaw of Sula Vineyards, Karishma Grover of Grover Zampa, Ravi Gurnani from York and Ashok Patil from Charosa Vineyards had gathered together, taking time out from their busy schedules since it is harvest time at the wineries, to showcase their premium wines at the Pullman dinner.

While most wine lovers in Delhi are already familiar with established names like Sula, Grover Zampa and York, this was the first time that wines from Charosa (a winery located 55kms from Nashik in Maharashtra) were being presented in the capital. There has been a buzz around their Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Tempranillo (India’s first 100% Tempranillo), and guests at the “Taste of India” dinner got a chance to try out both, along with Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The presence of Ashok Patil, chief winemaker of Charosa, who spoke a little about his winery, made it special.

The four wines from Sula Vineyards, India’s biggest and most well known wine producer commanding the largest market share, were Brut Tropicale (my current favorite among Indian sparkling wines), Sula Riesling 2016, Rasa Shiraz 2014 and a lovely Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2016 which had a good balance between sweetness and acidity and a touch of Muscat. Ajoy Shaw, chief winemaker of Sula Vineyards revealed that Rasa got its name after the initials (Ra Sa) of the founder of Sula, Rajeev Samat. I was not aware of this and it is always good to learn something new.

Karishma Grover, chief winemaker at Grover Vineyards Ltd, presented Zampa Brut Soirée 2014 and Grover Zampa Chêne Grande Reserve 2010 along with two house labels that she has collaborated with Pullman. “Blanc by Pullman” is a Sauvignon Blanc while “Rouge by Pullman” is a blend of oak aged Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, both easy drinking styles.

Ravi Gurnani from York winery was the only person among the four, who is technically not a winemaker but takes care of sales & marketing. It is his brother Kailash, who is incharge of winemaking operations at York Winery, also situated in Nashik very close to Sula. The wines that he showcased at the dinner were York Sparkling Blanc de Blancs (100% Chenin), York Chenin Blanc 2016 and, York Arros, one of the best value for money premium Indian red wines in my opinion.

It goes to the credit of Tristan and his team of sommeliers and chefs, in particular Director Food & Beverage Vishrut Gupta and Assistant Director F&B Deepak Shettigar, that the event was a huge success.

The efforts of the sommelier of Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, Kriti Malhotra, were recognised and praised by everyone present. Kriti is certified sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers and it was she who had coordinated with the winemakers and persuaded them to participate. She is a passionate and dedicated sommelier who is making a mark on the wine scene and setting a great example which should encourage more and more Indian women to enter this field.

Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
Taste of India Winemakers Dinner at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

Taste of India wine dinner was also a fabulous opportunity for the chefs of Pullman to showcase “Farm-to-Table”, a concept that they so zealously advocate. In fact, quite a few ingredients used in the dishes were plucked from their in-house organic garden. No surprise that the Cafe is called “Pluck”. The miniature Chef’s Garden created for the dinner, complete with root vegetables which guests had to dig out from faux soil and the different types of fruit and vegetable caviar, came in for a lot of appreciation. There were some hits and misses in terms of wine and food pairing, but there is always an inherent risk while attempting something unconventional.

Tristan Beau de Lomenie and his team need to be applauded for promoting both the “Farm-to-Table” concept and Indian Wines at Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity.

The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef's Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert
The Wines from Sula, Grover Zampa, York and Charosa ; Chef’s Garden at Pluck; Caviar and Dessert

Tristan’s concluding words at the “Taste of India” wine dinner were that Indian wines are becoming a force to reckon with and can now complete with the best in the New World. Coming from a Frenchman whose wife Isabel, owns a vineyard in Barsac Bordauex, this is quite an endorsement.

By : Lavina Kharkwal



Globe in a Glass : Wine & Spirits Roadshow 2016 by Sula Selections

The festive season has well and truly kicked off with Sula’s “Globe in a Glass”. Trust them to pull off their first ever Wine & Spirits Roadshow with such aplomb.

Even the sultry Delhi weather could not put a dampener on the enjoyment and one could hear the guests rave about how well organised and how much fun the event was. I am talking about the Delhi leg of Sula’s day-long wine and spirits event which took place on 3rd October 2016 at Lodi, The Garden Restaurant.

From Delhi the three city roadshow travelled to Bangalore on October 5. It will conclude  today in Mumbai.

While Sula Vineyards is India’s largest wine producer with a projected sales figure of 12 million bottles in the year 2016 and commands a lion’s share of nearly 60% of the domestic market, it is also one of the leading importers of wine and spirits in the country, through its import arm Sula Selections.

It is the most visible wine brand in India and to gauge how well recognized it is let’s just say that Sula is to wine what Colgate is to toothpaste in terms of brand recall.

Team Sula at Globe in a Glass Roadshow 2016
Team Sula at Globe in a Glass Roadshow 2016

This event was a showcase of Sula’s domestic and international portfolio where the invitees got to taste 40 wines and 20 spirits from all across the globe. It was a great way to reach out to consumers and help them connect with the suppliers, brand managers and wine makers.

Prestigious international wine brands like Cono Sur from Chile, Trapiche from Argentina, Accolade Wine company’s popular brands Hardys of Australia, Mud House from New Zealand , Kumala from South Africa and Ruffino from Italy, Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Bouchard Aine & Fils, and Le Grand Noir from France were represented by their spokespersons. The event offered a splendid opportunity to engage with them and learn more about these products.

Wines from across the world. In the picture Emma Hammonds and Ann-Marie Battista Sharp from Accolade Wines.
Wines from across the world imported by Sula Selections. In the picture Emma Hammonds and Ann-Marie Battista Sharp from Accolade Wines.

There was an entire spectrum of spirits from rum, tequila, cognac, whiskey to liqueurs. Prominent brands represented were Remy Martin Cognac, Antica Sambuca, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum from Barbados, Don Alejandro Tequila, William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich, Grant’s, Hendrick’s Gin, Monkey Shoulder-only Mumbai). Janus and J Brandy were only for Bangalore.

An interesting addition to Sula Selection’s spirits portfolio is Brazil’s famous Cachaça brand Pitú represented by third generation family owner Maria das Vitórias Cavalcanti. Cachaça (kah-sha-sa) is a popular Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane juice which can be had on its own or used to make a variety of cocktails like Caipirinha (ky-per-een-yah).

Maria very sweetly took on the role of bartender and was seen making some refreshing Pitú based cocktails. In fact there were some interesting rum, vodka and tequila based cocktails on offer at the Sula Roadshow 2016.

Spirits portfolio of Sula Selections. In the picture Maria das Vitorias Cavalcanti from Pitu Brazil and Nick Rees Marketing Manager Remy Cointreau with Pankaj Tripathi of Sula Selections.
Spirits portfolio of Sula Selections. In the picture Maria das Vitorias Cavalcanti from Pitu Brazil and Nick Rees Marketing Manager Remy Cointreau with Pankaj Tripathi of Sula Selections.

Cecilia Oldne, Vice President Marketing & Global Brand Ambassador at Sula Vineyards called “Globe in a Glass” a “global experience put together by Sula for our valued customers”. She said that they plan to make the event into  an annual affair as it was “a fun way to bring together sommeliers, ambassadors, oenophiles and people who want to learn more about these products”.

Cecilia Oldane, VP Marketing & Brand Ambassador Sula with Ajoy Show, Chief winemaker Sula Vineyards. Representatives from Accolade Wines, Bouchard Aine & Fils, Le Grand Noir and Trapiche ; Team Sula Selection
Cecilia Oldne, VP Marketing & Brand Ambassador Sula with Ajoy Show, Chief winemaker Sula Vineyards. Representatives from Accolade Wines, Bouchard Aine & Fils, Le Grand Noir and Trapiche ; Team Sula Selection

And there is no denying that Sula does value its customers. What a great way to bring people together over wine.

I just hope that the next edition of the Wine & Spirits Roadshow is a ticketed event open to public where wine lovers get a chance to taste the different wines on offer. More and more events like this will go a long way towards developing a wine  culture in India.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Credit for some photos goes to Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury, Head of Marketing International Brands and Head of Trade Marketing Domestic Wines at Sula Vineyards

Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon launched in India by Sula Selections

What does a wine consumer want most? Doesn’t take much guessing. It’s the availability of quality wine at reasonable prices. Wine need not be expensive to be good value. In fact a vast majority of Indians prefer “new world” exporters like Chile to expensive French labels, as Chilean wines offer excellent value for price.

The most recent launch of Chilean red wine Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections will gladden the hearts of a lot of Indian wine lovers as it is exceptionally well-priced (Rs 1430). The wine is medium-bodied, fruity & supple with good length, depth, soft tannins and moderate acidity levels. A touch of toasted oak, vanilla, sweet spices and a hint of chocolate & coffee make it delicious and a good match for mildly spiced Indian food.

One good thing about Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is that it can be enjoyed even when it a year or two old unlike those from the Old World which tend to be more tannic and less approachable when young. Cabernet Sauvignon, or Cab Sav as it is popularly referred to, is the most famous red wine grape in the world. It was on this French grape varietal that the Chilean wine industry was built. In fact Chile produces more Cab Sav than the US and is second only to France in vineyard area dedicated to this varietal.

For the launch of this latest label, Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon, the Export Manager Asia of Vina Cono Sur SA, José Tomás Gillet, had flown in from Shanghai, where he is based. At an exclusive function held at the office of ProChile India, an institution in charge of promoting the export of Chilean products & services, select few wine professionals were treated to a range of Cono Sur wines available in India. These are imported by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards. The function was graced by Chilean ambassador to India H.E Andres Barbe and Director ProChile Carolina Vasquez.

Launch of Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections at Embassy of Chile New Delhi. With Carolina Vasquez Director ProChile India, H.E Andres Barbe Gonzalez Ambassador of Chile & Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur
Launch of Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon by Sula Selections at Embassy of Chile New Delhi. With Carolina Vasquez Director ProChile India, H.E Andres Barbe Gonzalez Ambassador of Chile & Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur

Burgundian style Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir has already been in the market and impressed people with its finesse and quality. Cono Sur is the biggest producer of Pinot Noir in the world with as many as 8 different labels. One of Chile’s top wine makers Adolfo Hurtado is their chief maker and also the General Manager of the company. The “Bicicleta” range honours the vineyard employees who come into work each day on their bicycles, from the neighbouring town of Chimbarongo, located 160 kms south of Santiago in the Colchagua province of Chile.

Cono Sur which means Southern Cone (a geographic region referring to the southern most areas of South America) was established in 1993 as a subsidiary of the South American wine giant Concha y Toro. Talking about the winery, José Tomás Gillet, or JT as he is called said that it was winning accolades and awards for its commitment to sustainability as organic & sustainable management of vineyards is fundamental to Cono Sur’s philosophy. Their innovative wines express the spirit and vision of New World wines. They have a project in place to reduce carbon footprint and were the first winery in South America to receive two ISO certifications, one for quality and the other for environmental policies.

Enjoying Cono Sur Wines at Embassy of Chile New Delhi with Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur
Enjoying Cono Sur Wines at Embassy of Chile New Delhi with Jose Tomas Gillet, Export Manager Asia Cono Sur

For all these efforts Cono Sur was chosen “Green Company of the Year 2011” by the prestigious British Drinks magazine who also included them in the list of World’s Most Admired Wine Brands for the year 2015.

Cono Sur knows that sustainability is the way forward. They also know that as long as they keep giving quality wine at affordable prices they will go from strength to strength winning both admirers and garnering big sales.

By : Lavina Kharkwal

Cono Sur Range of Wines available in India

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay : Rs 1210 in Delhi ; Rs 1500 in Gurgaon ; Rs 1490 in Mumbai & Rs 1260 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir : Rs 1300 in Delhi ; Rs 1500 in Gurgaon ; Rs 1600 in Mumbai & Rs 1290 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Bicicleta Cabernet Sauvignon : Rs 1430 in Delhi ; Rs 1490 in Mumbai & Rs 1200 in Bengaluru

Cono Sur Tocornal Merlot : Rs 1150 in Delhi & Rs 1500 in Gurgaon

You may also like the following articles on Chilean Wines in India





Trapiche Wines from Sula Selections : Malbecs and more

Argentina for me is the three M’s Maradona, Messi and Malbec. Of course there is much more to this beautiful country but then I am a wine lover and a football addict. So my interest stops right there.

While the birth place of both the legendary footballers is Argentina, not so of the grape varietal Malbec which comes from Bordeaux France. In fact, in the pre-phylloxera Bordeaux wines, Malbec was used more than Merlot, imparting spice and color to the blend. Now Malbec does not figure much in Red Bordeaux even though it is one of the six varietals legally permitted in the blend along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.

Malbec is now the superstar of the South American wine industry and the “national varietal” of Argentina. This is where the cépage has found glory and reached its full potential. And when you talk of Malbec and Argentina it is but natural that Trapiche comes to mind. Trapiche is Argentina’s leading wine brand and its oldest and biggest winery. They are also the largest Malbec producers in Argentina making “value wines” suited to every palate and every wallet.

Located in Mendoza at the foothills of Andes Mountains Trapiche Winery (pronounced with the “e” at the end) was established in 1883 and has been running continuously since then. It owns 1,000 ha of its own vineyards, exports 27 million cases to more than 80 countries around the world and has the largest varietal portfolio in South America. Their Single-Vineyard Malbec created by winemaker Daniel Pi is, according to Wine Spectator, “the best wines that Trapiche has ever produced” and the most awarded Malbec from Argentina.

Even though Single Vineyard Malbec is not yet available in India, what we have here are four wines from Trapiche imported by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards; Malbec, Oak Cask Malbec, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

Trapiche Malbec (Rs 1270) is a bright ruby color wine with violet hints.  A decent wine that you order on a casual night out with friends, it has crème de cassis, plum, pepper and mocha on the palate. It is a great introduction for those who are not familiar with Malbec, a rich fruity jammy style with soft tannins . Though this one is a little one dimensional in terms of structure, it goes well with medium spicy dishes and even pizzas and pastas.

Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec (Rs 1580) aged for 9 months in French & American oak barrels has that intense purple color which makes Malbec so easy to identify in blind tastings. I would call it a great value for money wine. Smooth with velvety tannins you get ripe juicy dark plum, black cherries, blackberry and some lovely vanilla. Oak is present but does not overpower the fruit. It has a spicy finish with a touch of nutmeg, chocolate, leather, mocha and smoke and pairs well with steaks, sizzlers and South Indian Curries especially Chettinad lamb.

It was the Trapiche Pinot Grigio (Rs 1080) which took me by surprise as this is not a varietal that you look for from a country like Argentina. A highly quaffable wine with refreshing acidity and crispness it made a great pairing with the brilliant faux Ferrero Rocher that the three J’s Chef Jatin Mallick, Chef Julia & Chef Jamsheed Bhote had created for the Trapiche wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market hosted by yours truly and Sula Selections.

Trapiche Wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market
Trapiche Wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market

The only slightly disappointing wine for me out of the four Trapiche wines available in India was the Trapiche Sauvignon Blanc (Rs 1270). It felt a little flat in terms of acidity and the nose seemed muted not really conveying what a Sauvignon Blanc stands for. I guess we have all been spoilt by the wonderful aromatic Sauvignon Blancs coming out of New Zealand and Chile if you talk of comparisons within the New World.

It’s good to see Sula Selections expanding its portfolio to include wines from Argentina (Trapiche), Chile (Cono Sur), Australia (Hardys), New Zealand (Mud House), Italy (Ruffino), France (Champagne Piper-Heidsieck) and South Africa (Kumala). It gives customers a great choice, a wine suited for every palate and budget. It doesn’t matter if you are a connoisseur or a novice. “Acche Din” for wine lovers I guess if not for others.

By: Lavina Kharkwal

Trapiche wines are easily available at most liquor and wine retail shops in Delhi in Connaught Place, Defence Colony, Vasant Vihar, Dwarka and in NCR.

Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections with team Tres at the Trapiche Wine Dinner
Prarrthona Pal Chowdhury of Sula Selections with team Tres at the Trapiche Wine Dinner

To read more about Sula Selections you may click on the following links