Grape cultivation is one of the most remunerative farming enterprises in India.Global farming means we can have grapes 12 months a year but in our hemisphere they’re in season in autumn.
Wild grapes were first gathered by some of the earliest civilizations during the Neolithic era from 6,000 to 6,500 BC. According to the book, “Grapes,” cultivation of the fruit likely began in Southern Caucasia, known today as northwest Turkey and northern Iraq.
Grapes first appeared in India in 1300 AD when Persian invaders brought them to Maharashtra. Though it’s likely that grapes reached the South before this time, Christian missionaries credit themselves with grape’s introduction to Madras circa 1800s.
Today, The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization lists the top grape producers as China, Italy, the US, France, and Spain. India ranks 15th, accounting for 1.8 percent of the global share with its production of 1.24 million metric tons.
AVAILABILITY OF GRAPES IN INDIA
India has several diverse grape growing regions. Maharashtra is India’s top producer, accounting for nearly 84 percent of the country’s grapes. Karnataka is a distant second, growing 11 percent. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, and Jammu & Kashmir account for the rest of India’s grape production.
India grows over 20 varieties of grapes, with the Thompson seedless being the most popular cultivar. The country also produces a few local strains, including the interestingly named “Bangalore Blue,” “Arka Krishna, and “Anab-e-Shahi.”
India’s grape season lasts from January through October, with different varieties rolling in and out of these months. Export season is from January to April.
Fabulous Destinations for Grape-Wine Connoisseurs
The Spanish colonization of South America about 500 years ago also resulted in the introduction and gradual spread of wine-making in Argentina. It’s only in the last twenty years or so that Argentine wine has gained an international reputation. The endless green terraces of Mendoza’s and fertile stretches of San Juan’s wine-making regions are known for their Malbec and Syrah wines respectively.
Commercial wine-making in Australia is about two hundred years old, thanks to nineteenth century new settlers establishing vineyards in parts of New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia. The amazing thing about Australia’s wine-making industry is that the land and soil, spread across different climate zones, enables the production of not only red and white wines, but also sweet, sparkling and fortified wines. The superior quality and sheer wine varieties have given this continent’s wine the international recognition it deserves.
Chile’s wine-making history has a similar story to that of Argentina’s in terms of the import of grape vines by colonial Spaniards. Although the wine industry grew over time in Chile, political instability and economic decline in the seventies and eighties led to a deterioration of the wine industry.
The early nineties saw a complete revival of the country’s industry with significant investments made in viticulture practices and modern wine-making technologies. This has put Chile firmly on the international map as a major exporter of quality, premium wines. The country now produces over twenty varieties, mostly mixtures of French and Spanish grape varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
dates as far back as 6th century BC. They’ve even written the definitive rule book of strict regulations that governs where, how and under what conditions grapes are grown. For something special, drive along the Alsace Wine Route, which is a 170km stretch of charming villages and picturesque wine-making towns between the cities of Strasbourg and Colmar.
The Mediterranean climate is perfect for wine-production, which explains why each of Italy’s twenty administrative regions produces world-renowned wines. This is the country that produces Barolo wine, which some consider to be Italy’s finest export. Tuscany and the Veneto region produce the best wines but are closely followed by Puglia, Sicily and Emilia Romagna. The best time to visit is harvest time during the Fall, when the country-side comes alive with singing, dancing and music and you can witness the wine-pressing process.