A travel through time

Since the very inception Indians had the native familiarity with Wine. This becomes apparent with the artifacts found at the sites of Harappan Civilization. During ancient times wine was often referred to as Somarasa; soma is mentioned in Vedic scriptures as well. Also the reference of Drakshasava is found in ayurvedic texts which was basically a delicious digestive preparation made from ripened red grapes, cinnamon, cardamom, nagkesara, vidanga, tejpatra, pippali, and black pepper and contained natural alcohol.

Drinking has always remained a social taboo and therefore no culture of social drinking could ever develop in India- except for medicinal purposes. India has predominantly remained a non- drinking country. Now it is high time to revive the notion of social drinking and responsible drinking habit with proper regulatory affairs of the state.

Since almost a thousand years or so, wine is being made in India.
The European travellers brought wine to the courts of the Mughal emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan. Royal vineyards enabled the emperors to have a taste of red (Kandhari) and white wines (Bhokri, Fakdi, Sahebi etc.) that were produced for the royal fervor.
The next important contribution was made by the Portuguese settlers who not only improved the wine they found in the 16th century when they came to Goa but also introduced a new variety of wine for the Indian sub-continent: Vindaloo.

The reference of the famous Persians wine, Shiraz, which was often sent to the Moguls in India, and later to the British, is often made.

Since 1612, wine began becoming more and more familiar throughout India due to the British influence. As cost of shipping wine to India was very high, the British planted vineyards, in Surat, and also in Kashmir. The popularity was picking up; a phylloxera epidemic destroyed all the vines in India.

Under British influence vineyards were established and a number of Indian wines were exhibited and favourably received by visitors to the Great Calcutta Exhibition of 1884. Even though the Indian vineyards were totally destroyed due to unknown reasons.

And eventually after a long pause of several years it was revived yet again in 1982 by Shyamrao Showgule.

Today, in the 21st century, Wine is seen as a sophisticated drink and infact considered being healthier than liquor.

Wine has travelled a long way through time and the occasion is ripe for claiming the position it deserves.

Courtesy: Neeraj Dubey in