Recently Justnashik team interviewed Mr. Rajeev Samant, MD & CEO of Sula Vineyards. Sula Vineyards has emerged as one of the most prestigious wine producer of the country, producing nearly 7 million litters of wine and crushing 8700 Tonnes of grapes this year, Sula is constantly pushing their own benchmarks from its inception in late 90′s.Since then Sula has always been in the forefront of Indian wine revolution.Right now they have around 28 different wines in their portfolio and from last year Sula has also started producing India’s first Grape Seed oil.
Sula has their own estate in India’s wine capital Nashik ‘aka’ Nashik Valley where grapes are cultivated and crushed in their winery, Sula has also pioneered wine tourism in country, Right from wine tours, Wine Tasting and one of the biggest wine music festival in the country.
- What drew you to wine making?
It was pure serendipity, it so happened that I had been living in California where I had developed a taste for wine and I decided to return to India and we happened to be in Nashik for a family wedding which is where my father was born and we owned a small piece of land. Once thing led to another and I decided to start farming the land because I wanted to spend part of my life in the country not in the city. Couple of years later I realized that Nashik had a lot of grapes but no wine and that was my A-ha! moment and I felt that I was the right person at the right time and at the right place to do it
- Tell us something about Sula Vineyards, Specially this year vintages?
Today, Sula Vineyards’ award-winning wines are available nationwide at the finest hotels and restaurants, and also internationally. 2013 was the probably the best white wine vintage so far and the Sauvignon Blanc especially stands out.
- When not drinking Sula wines, what are some of your favorite wines?
I’m a lover of Pinot Noir, from Burgundy, Oregon and New Zealand. And also Albariño and Ribera del Duero from Spain, among many others.
- What is your favorite summertime food and wine pairing?
I have my own organic vegetable garden, so in the summer I’m generally vegetarian with a lot of cooling salads and cool soups and a chilled glass of our new Reserve Chenin Blanc is the perfect accompaniment.
- What is the most exciting thing happening with Indian wine today?
With every vintage, new varietals are being launched. Tempranillo is looking very exciting for the future, as is Riesling. On the consumer side, you have increasing awareness and excitement which can only be good for the future of Indian wine. Wine tourism is also becoming increasingly popular Sula Vineyards opened the country’s first Tasting Room at Sula in 2005 and India’s first vineyard resort in 2007.
- Future plan of Sula Wines.
The future is definitely bright. The wines are getting better every year and more and more Indians are drinking more and more wine every year. So this is going to be one of the world’s most exciting growth markets for wine and Sula is by far the # 1 consumer’s choice
- Tell us something about Nashik.
Nashik has such huge advantages like the climate, the beautiful surrounding landscape and proximity to Mumbai. I wish that awareness levels could be elevated in Nashik so that we could, one day, proclaim ourselves as the city with the cleanest air and water in India, that’s my dream for Nashik. A sustainable, super eco-friendly development led, perhaps, by the wine industry.