As India’s middle class has burgeoned, so have the country’s vineyards, even if punitive taxes, a complex distribution system and an extremely embryonic wine culture do little to help the Indian wine lover.
Many vines are harvested more than once a year according to the dictates of viticulture in the tropics. In any case, some altitude is needed to combat India’s low latitudes and the state of Maharashtra has been particularly encouraging to local wine producers. They most notably include Château Indage, which has been exporting its perfectly respectable Omar Khayyam fizz for many years, and Sula, founded in 1999 by an Indian returnee from Silicon Valley in California. They both sell a range of still wines while Grover in the state of Karnataka in the hills above Bangalore is best known for its pretty successful copy of red Bordeaux made with the help of wine consultant Michel Rolland of Pomerol. The heavy taxes levied on imported wines since 2005 have given a significant boost to the local industry.