Caroline Eden –GQ India
, Aug 2010
He’s more or less put Nashik on the world wine map and changed the way we Indians drink wine. But now Sula Wines chief executive Rajeev Samant has turned his attention not to what we consume, but where we lay our heads after an evening of fine food and drink.
In the next two months Sula will open a 20 room hotel at the vineyards, and it’s also rumoured that a small spa will be added, including a menu of ‘wine treatments’.
Delivering many different ways for people to enjoy locally-produced wine – as well as international labels – Samant is quite the trailblazer. Young, charming and smart, he’s exactly the kind of bold entrepreneur that gives old school winemakers the heebie-jeebies.
His love affair with wine began quite by chance when he returned to India after studying at Stanford University in America.
“My father had 20 acres of land for sale. I asked him to let me try to work with it. I grew teakwood, roses and table grapes. When I exported these grapes for eating, it struck me that maybe they would be good enough for wine,” he says. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s not been a long journey though, according to Samant. “Earlier at parties, wine would be left on the table in the corner. These days – if it’s a good wine – everyone will want a glass.”
And not just in India, either. The Rasa Shiraz
2007 won the Silver Medal at Syrah Du Monde 2010 in France – proof enough to anyone that Indian wine is to be taken seriously and is no longer to be left on the shelf.