Good wine comes when you wait for that perfect moment. In technical terms, this is when grapes are at their peak phenolic ripeness, to maximise the quality of the wine, without compromising on the colour and taste. Sounds like a precise moment, right? Well, it is!
In India, the real journey of the wine grapes begin at this time of the year. If you drive by a vineyard, you can see lush canopies bearing down with rich clusters of juicy, plump grapes. They are just ripe and ready to be plucked. (Psst…this is also the perfect time to visit a vineyard.) Unlike Europe and the US, the harvest season in India starts in February and extends till April.
The vineyards we source our grapes from, in Nashik and Ramnagar, fall under the tropical climate band where temperature rises to 45 °C in summer and can fall to 8 °C in winter. Here, the vineyards are typically located at a higher altitude, along the picturesque slopes of the hills. This way, the grapes stay protected from winds, and it also allows them to breathe in the cooler air.
While we are on the topic of wine making and harvesting, there are a few more factors that make Indian wine so special.
One, is the terroir. As you know, the quality of wine is dependant on the terroir, a set of environmental factors that affect a crop’s character. The soil and climate in Nashik and Ramnagar are just ideal for grapes to thrive and reach their fullest goodness.
Two, wine is the labour of love in India. Literally. While globally, grapes are plucked by hand only in the finest vineyards (the mass-produced ones are highly mechanised), in India grapes are largely hand-picked.
Three, in India, vines grow throughout the year. Colder countries experience a naptime in winters. But we have to prune the grapes twice – after and before the harvest. Thus, more effort goes into making wines in India than in other countries.
Four – and this is the reason Big Banyan wines are different and extra special – they are prepared under the watchful eye of our Italian vintner, Lucio Matricardi. Now you know the secret behind the magical taste!
All this talk about harvesting is making us yearn for some wine. We’ll go unbottle our season’s best, and you do the same.