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ABOUT SULA

Situated 180 km northeast of Mumbai, Nasik is India’s largest grape-growing region, but had
traditionally never been used to grow wine grapes. Wondering why, an enterprising, Stanford-
trained engineer named Rajeev Samant quit his hi-tech Silicon Valley job in 1993 to do some
investigating.

A little research quickly showed that the Nasik climate was not only perfect for wine grapes,
but was also on par with winegrowing regions in Spain, California, and Australia. His
determination doubled, Rajeev returned to California in search of a winemaker. In Sonoma
County he found Kerry Damskey, an eminent Californian winemaker, who enthusiastically
agreed to help start a winery on Rajeev’s 30 acre family estate.

In 1997, the duo took the revolutionary step of planting French Sauvignon Blanc and Californian
Chenin Blanc, varieties that had never before been planted in India. The first Sula wines,
released in 2000, were widely acclaimed as India’s best white wines.

Since its inception, Sula has rapidly established itself as India’s leading premium wine brand,
helping spark a wine revolution that has seen consumption grow at 25% annually and several
new wineries come up in the Nasik area. In November 2002, Wine Spectator – the world's No.1
wine magazine – did a five-page feature on Sula, a proud first for an Indian winery.

A second winery with three times the capacity of the first was completed in late 2004 to keep
up with demand, and a third 1-million litre winery is set to be operational in 2006. Sula has
expanded from the original 30 acre family estate to having about 400 acres under plantation,
both in Nasik as well as in nearby Dindori, the latest up-and-coming wine region. Varietals
planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel and Merlot along with the original
Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to having a wide national distribution network
within India, Sula also exports its wines internationally, as well as importing and distributing
wines from leading producers worldwide.

In 2005, Sula proudly launched its first reserve wine, the Dindori Reserve Shiraz, as well as
India’s first dessert wine, the Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. The winery is open to the public for
educational tours, and the beautiful Tasting Room invites visitors to enjoy their favourite Sula
wines amidst spectacular views of the vineyards and surrounding lakes and hills.

Firmly committed to remaining at the forefront of Indian wines, Sula continues to experiment
with new varietals, engage in sustainable agriculture, support the local rural economy, and, of
course, make wines of outstanding quality and superb value.
FOUNDERS

Rajeev Samant
CEO, Sula Vineyards

Rajeev Samant is new India’s entrepreneurial shining star. Or sun, rather, given the widespread
international recognition the Sula Vineyards’ solar logo has gotten. At the peak of his career as
one of the youngest finance managers of software giant Oracle in San Francisco, this Stanford
graduate quit his job and returned home to India with the seemingly crazy idea of growing
grapes and making wine.

He turned his attentions to a family-owned plot of 30 acres in Nasik, India’s most important
table-grape growing region just 180 km from Mumbai. The terroir and climate there were, in
fact, ideally suited to growing wine grapes, but nobody had really considered the idea as a
viable business proposition. Rajeev teamed up with Kerry Damskey, a leading winemaker from
California’s Sonoma Valley, and planted the first vines in 1997.

Despite a great deal of initial resistance – the wine business in India was practically
nonexistent, and getting a winery license was difficult – Rajeev’s dream to start his own
venture and be his own boss has quickly become a reality. His distinctly Californian philosophy
of a winery open to the public has sparked a wine revolution, leading to an excellent
atmosphere of cooperation between the growing number of wineries in the area.

“The wine industry is growing at the rate of 25-30% per annum, and Sula has been growing even
faster than that. We’re making wines of international standards and are being welcomed as the
ambassadors of Indian wine across the globe, including in France, Italy, the US, UK, Canada, and
Ireland,” he says, beaming proudly from the balcony of the spectacular Tasting Room overlooking
the vineyards, where visitors can enjoy their favourite Sula wines after a tour of the facilities.

“Looking back, the journey here has been challenging as well as incredibly rewarding. It’s great
to be my own boss – I travel to exciting places at short notice without having to worry about my
vacation day balance, because ultimately, I’m accountable to myself. I can’t think of anyone
who is happier with their job. Hugh Hefner, maybe,” says the effervescent entrepreneur with a
twinkle in his eye.

Sula’s sun is showing no signs of setting anytime soon.

KERRY DAMSKEY
Master winemaker, Sula Vineyards

Kerry’s winemaking philosophy is simple and straightforward: it takes great grapes to make
great wine.

“It’s the winemaker’s job to articulate a definable style for a wine but you don’t create an
identity – that comes from the grapes, and the grapes’ identity is directly linked to where and
how they are grown,” he explains.

He likens his approach to that of a gem cutter. “You have to start with high quality raw
materials, and be able to identify them. Then it’s like cutting facets in a diamond or emerald
to show off what’s inside and highlight it.”

By the time he was in high school, Kerry knew that he wanted to spend his life as a winemaker.
Growing up in San Francisco, California, Kerry’s visits with his family to winegrowing regions
around the Bay Area whetted his thirst for the craft. His mother gifted him the classic
winemaking text Table Wines: The Technology of their Production in California when he was a
high school senior, and that was all it took. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in
the enology and viticulture program at the University of California at Davis.

Four years later, degree in hand, Kerry set off to test his recently acquired skills in the
winemaking world. He worked for wineries from Lodi to San Diego, honing his “nuts and bolts”
knowledge of the industry. In 1986, he achieved his long-time goal of making wine in Sonoma
County when he was appointed winemaker for the old Zellerbach Winery in Chalk Hill. Here, he
established himself as one of Sonoma County’s best winemakers, winning awards for several of
his wines.

A chance meeting with Rajeev Samant - a young, energetic Indian entrepreneur who had the
crazy idea of setting up a winery in India - piqued Kerry’s interest.

“I wanted to find vineyard locations that yielded distinctive fruit, because that creates
distinctive wines. And when you walk the Sula vineyards, you know that this is a singular
location.”

He has studied for the Master of Wine examination, a rigorous program. “I’m still a student,”
he says, “and I’m studying terroir, the ingredients that make a great wine. If you want to make
singular wines, you never lose the passion that keeps you looking and learning more.”

Kerry is currently the primary consultant for Sula Vineyards.

TERROIR

The Nasik Region


Nasik is situated 2,000 feet above sea level in the Western Ghats of India. Located in northern
Maharashtra - approximately 200 km from Mumbai and Pune - it is an important industrial and
agricultural area.

Globally, 95-97% of grape cultivation is devoted to wine grapes. Until recently, though, almost
99% of the grapes cultivated in India were table grapes, and most of them came from Nasik.
With the demonstrated success of wine grape cultivation in the region, however, more and
more producers are switching from table grapes to wine grapes.

Sula Vineyards owns over 300 acres of land in the Gangapur and Dindori districts of the Nasik
region, out of which 180 acres are currently under plantation. Another 200 acres are under
plantation by contract farmers.

Varietals planted include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and
Zinfandel. Experimental research is currently focussed on Muscat, Riesling, Roussanne,
Viognier, Grenache, and Merlot.

Soil
The Western Ghats have laterite soils which are rich in iron with good drainage. They vary from
sandy clay loam and red laterite to murrum soils, all well suited for wine grape cultivation.

Climate
The climate of the area is mild throughout the year, ranging from winter lows of 8-10°C to
summer highs of 32-35°C.
Grapes are usually harvested at the end of winter (January–March), which helps to expose the
crop to warm days and cool nights. This exposure aids in the slow maturation of the grapes,
enhancing their quality.

Water
The Nasik region consists of two rainfall zones. The first is the high rainfall (80-100 cm) hilly
Konkan area in the west, and the second is the low rainfall fertile plain to the east.

Being at an elevation, our vineyards in the Dindori district are assured of ample rainfall. In
addition, 7 of the 19 dams in the Nasik region are located in Dindori. The Kadva and Kolvan
rivers - tributaries of the Godavari - pass through this area as well, further augmenting the
availability of water throughout the year.

Dindori
Dindori is the future of Indian wine. This picturesque district of Nasik features gentle hills of
red laterite and basalt rock. Well-drained light soils on the slopes give way to heavier, clayey
soils on the valley floors. Clean air, plenty of monsoon rain and a cool climate all contribute to
Dindori’s suitability for quality vineyards.

Sula acquired 300 acres of land at Dindori in 2003 of which 150 acres are planted with Cabernet
Sauvignon, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. The remaining acreage is being planted in stages, and
will eventually create India’s largest wine grape vineyard. Dindori’s focus is on sustainable
agriculture, with minimum chemical inputs and reduced irrigation.

Viticultural operations in Dindori are carried out by hand. No heavy machinery enters the
vineyard once the land has been ploughed before planting. Fruiting branches are individually
tied to the trellis by string for optimum shoot positioning. When our Dindori farm reaches its
full potential, we will harvest 1,200 tonnes of handpicked, top class fruit.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

At Sula, we’re not just focused on making great wine: we’re focused on making great wine
well. And since great wine starts with the environment, it’s in our best interest to take good
care of it in the long run.

Our sustainable agricultural practices are environmentally friendly, economically sound,


socially responsible, and mindful of the earth’s limited resources.

Vermicomposting
Pomace – grape skins, seeds, and stems that remain after crush – can constitute up to 30-40% of
the original harvest yield. Instead of wasting it, we feed it (along with other waste packaging
material and organic scraps) to worms in a process known as ‘vermiculture’ or
‘vermicomposting’. Squeal if you must, but these workaholic wrigglers are an environmentally
conscious farmer’s best friends. They chew their way through the mix to produce a crumbly
black compost that is odourless and rich in organic matter, which we then use back on the
vines as fertilizer.

At present, our home-made organic compost meets 80% of our fertilization needs. Over time,
our aim is to replace ALL chemical fertilizer with a mix of vermicompost and farmyard manure.
Watershed Management
A 3-phase watershed management project that aims to harvest rainwater and excess irrigation
runoff is currently underway at our Dindori vineyards. The water is harvested using bore-wells
and collection ponds constructed at the lowest point of the vineyard slopes. We expect to
reduce our dependency on water from the Karanjivan dam while recycling water that would
otherwise go to waste.

Integrated Pest and Nutrition Management


The heavy application of chemical pesticides on vines can lead to problems of residue as well
as posing health hazards to farm workers. To counter these issues, we are in the process of
implementing integrated pest & nutrition management (IPM) systems in our vineyards. We do
not use banned chemicals, and have trained all farm workers applying pesticides in health and
safety measures. Supervisors are trained to implement these measures.

We are also experimenting with organic pesticides which, if successful, will be used on the
whole farm in phases.

WINES

SULA BRUT*
This celebratory sparkling wine, made in the true méthode champenoise style, is a creamy,
complex nectar that goes down like a dream. Perfect as an aperitif.
Pair with tandoori dishes, biryani, and lighter Asian dishes such as dim sum and steamed seafood
Serve ice-cold

SULA SAUVIGNON BLANC*


Herbaceous, crisp, and dry, with hints of green pepper and a touch of spice at the finish, this
wine is well balanced with good acidity.
Pair with spicy food, especially coastal dishes as well as lightly flavoured Asian cuisine
Serve chilled, 8-10°C

SULA CHENIN BLANC*


A semi-dry, refreshingly light wine bursting with pineapple and stone fruit. Makes for a
delightful aperitif.
Pair with food that has a hint of sugar and spice, such as Southeast Asian or Gujarati dishes
Serve well chilled, 6-8°C

SULA BLUSH ZINFANDEL


This popular favourite is fun and fruity, with abundant aromas of honeysuckle and fresh
strawberries. A versatile, “anytime” wine great for picnics, parties, and hot summer days.
Pair with poultry and spicy dishes
Serve well chilled, 6-8°C

SATORI MERLOT*
Soft tannins, a spicy nose and a balanced, rounded mouth feel make for a stunning wine that
can be enjoyed perfectly well on its own. “Satori” is a Zen term meaning “sudden
enlightenment”.
Pair with tomato-based pasta dishes, smoked salmon, and most red meat dishes
Serve slightly chilled, 12-15°C

SULA CABERNET SHIRAZ*


A smooth, medium-bodied red wine accentuated by ripe cherry and plum fruit, with attractive
aromas of black pepper. Uncork and allow to breathe before serving.
Pair with tandoori dishes and mildly spiced curries
Serve slightly chilled, 12-15°C
DINDORI RESERVE SHIRAZ
Grown on the hills of our Dindori estate and aged for a year in new oak, our Reserve Shiraz is
fragrant, elegant, and smooth, with lush berry flavours and silky tannins. Uncork and allow to
breathe before serving.
Pair with lamb dishes; superb on its own
Serve slightly chilled, 12-15°C

SULA RED ZINFANDEL


A luscious, jammy red Zinfandel redolent with blackberry aromas and cinnamon and plum
flavours. Balanced, spicy, supple, delightful!
Pair with pizza and hearty pasta dishes
Serve slightly chilled, 12-15°C

MADERA
Made from a blend of classic as well as indigenous Indian grape varieties, these young, easy-
drinking wines are available in White, Rosé, and Red. The beautiful bottle labels are inspired
by Warli, a local tribal art form depicting rural life.
Pair with simple, hearty Indian fare
Serve well chilled, 6-8°C (White & Rosé); slightly chilled, 12-15°C (Red)

LATE HARVEST CHENIN BLANC


Abounding with aromas of lemon, honey, and tropical fruit, our Late Harvest Chenin Blanc is
the perfect close to a delicious meal, but also an elegant aperitif. Pint bottles only.
Pair with fruit and nut platters, dessert cheeses, cakes, cookies, and pies
Serve chilled, 8-10°C

* available in pint (375ml) bottles as well

TASTING ROOM

We’re proud to present our new Tasting Room – India’s first – located right on our Nasik estate.
Designed by Californian architects Andy Hope (of the Stanford Design School) and Laurel Roth,
the 2,000-sq.ft. Tasting Room boasts a blue-mosaic balcony bar with a spectacular view of the
vineyards and the surrounding lakes and hills. The 34-ft. bar itself runs continuously from the
inner room to the open balcony, and is softly lit by wine bottle lamps hanging from the ceiling.
More wine bottles glow alluringly from embedded backlit cases in the wood-panelled wall,
while a large window in the back offers a view directly into the winery’s operational bottling
room. A large glass-sided display area showcasing Sula T-shirts, corkscrews, stemware and ice
buckets for sale completes the charm of the Tasting Room.

Our Tasting Room is a great place around which to build a 1- or 2-day getaway. Tour the winery
with our friendly, knowledgeable winemakers who are always on hand to answer questions
about viticulture and the winemaking process. Taste some of our wines, and then purchase
your favourite bottle (or three) to take home or enjoy right there – paired with a delicious
cheese platter – as you watch the sunset from the peaceful balcony.

CONTACT

Head Office
Samant Soma Wines Ltd.
1 Matulya Center C
S B Marg, Lower Parel
Mumbai 400 013
INDIA
Tel: +91 22 56606685 / 86
Fax: +91 22 24926064
info@sulawines.com
www.sulawines.com

Winery & Tasting Room


Gat no. 35/2, Govardhan
Gangapur-Savargaon Road
Nasik 422222
INDIA
Tel: +91253 223 1663 or +91253 223 1720
Fax: +91253 223 0151
visitsula@sulawines.com