Caroline Eden
Founder, York Wines

The Newest New World Wines: India and Thailand

Staff Writer
Two unexpected regions with a burgeoning wine scene

What comes to mind when you think of Indian drinks? Masala chai? Kingfisher beer? How about wine? Unlikely perhaps, but in India — with the country’s middle class rising fast — the interest in wine and native viticulture is growing, and, crucially, curiosity about locally produced wine is beginning to cross continents.

The heartland of Indian wine production is Nashik, which lies about 110 miles outside of Mumbai. With a favorable climate, similar to the Napa Valley, this is where is the Sula Rasa Shiraz 2007 started life on the vine and ended up a silver medal winner at the prestigious Syrah Du Monde competition in France in 2010.

In Nashik, the two brands to watch out for are — Sula Vineyards who first corked their bottles in 2000, and York Winery who formed in 2004.

Both produce perfectly quaffable Cabernet Shiraz, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc varieties — many of which can be found in up-market Indian restaurants worldwide.

So, next time you order an Indian meal, see if there’s an accompanying local wine, after all Indian wines are modern, versatile and often pair perfectly with spicy dishes.

Sula is distributed in the US by Dreyfus, Ashby, & Co.

Flying across the Bay of Bengal to Thailand — Dr. Piya Bhirombhakdi, the former president of Singha Beer, and the county’s first ever winemaker Prayut Piengbunta, have been responsible for heading-up Thailand’s small wine industry since the 1990’s.

The PB Valley winery is located by Khao Yai national park, a mere three hours from Bangkok and is leading the way in Thai wine production.

In trials, the tropical climate weathered many grape varieties but in 1998 a Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, and Rose were all corked. Later the Pirom Khao Yai Reserve Tempranillo 2006 and the Shiraz Reserve 2003, both won gold and silver respectively, at the Austrian Wine Competition in 2006. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Steve, Tanja, Leon & Lukas)

If you’re a wine lover and you’d like to get off the beaten track in Asia, there’s nothing better than a tasting trip to the newest of the new world wines — both PB Valley and Sula have comfortable accommodation at the vineyards as well as good restaurants and staff who are eager to pass on their wine wisdom.

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