Situated 180 km northeast of Mumbai, Nashik is India’s largest grape-growing region, but had traditionally never been used to grow wine grapes. Wondering why, an enterprising, Stanford-trained engineer named Rajeev Samant quit his hi-tech Silicon Valley job in 1993 to do some investigating.
A little research quickly showed that the Nashik climate was not only perfect for wine grapes, but was also on par with winegrowing regions in Spain, California, and Australia. His determination doubled and Rajeev returned to California in search of a winemaker. In Sonoma County he found Kerry Damskey, an eminent Californian winemaker, who enthusiastically agreed to help start a winery on Rajeev’s 30 acre family estate.
In 1997, the duo took the revolutionary step of planting French Sauvignon Blanc and Californian Chenin Blanc, varieties that had never before been planted in India. The first Sula wines, released in 2000, were widely acclaimed as India’s best white wines.
Since its inception, Sula has rapidly established itself as India’s Leading Premium Wine Producer, helping spark a wine revolution that has seen consumption grow at 25% annually and several new wineries come up in the Nashik area. In November 2002, Wine Spectator - the world’s No.1 wine magazine - did a five-page feature on Sula, a proud first for an Indian winery.
A second winery with three times the capacity of the first was completed in late 2004 to keep up with demand, and a third million litre winery started operations in 2006. Sula has expanded from the original 30 acre family estate to about 1,800 acres (owned and contracted) under plantation, both in Nashik as well as in nearby Dindori, India’s upcoming wine region. Varietals planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel and Merlot along with Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Riesling. In addition to having a wide distribution network within India, Sula also exports its wines internationally, as well as importing and distributing wines from leading producers worldwide. In 2005, Sula proudly launched its first reserve wine, the Dindori Reserve Shiraz, as well as India’s first dessert wine, the Late Harvest Chenin Blanc.
The winery and vineyards are open to the public for educational tours, and the beautiful Tasting Room invites visitors to enjoy their favourite Sula wines amidst spectacular views of the vineyards and surrounding lakes and hills. The nearby Sula amphitheatre is an impressive location for events and social gatherings and is available for bookings. Visitors can now spend a few nights in paradise at BEYOND, Sula’s new exclusive accommodation on the vineyards with a beautiful lake view.
Firmly committed to remaining at the forefront of Indian wines, Sula continues to experiment with new varietals, engage in sustainable agriculture, support the local rural economy, and, of course, make wines of outstanding quality and superb value.