Nagpur, known for its cultural diversity, is making strides in cultivating a sophisticated wine culture, defying expectations for a tier-II city. The Nagpur Wine Club, a driving force behind this transformation, celebrates its 10th edition of the Nagpur Wine Festival (NWF) this weekend. The festival serves as a convergence point for esteemed wineries, wine connoisseurs, and enthusiasts, fostering a unique culture in an unexpected locale.
Ulhas Mohile, a founding member of the Nagpur Wine Club, reflects on the club’s inception in 2007/08, emphasizing the significant shift in Nagpurians’ understanding of wine over the past decade. He draws parallels between wine and a classic ghazal, attributing a certain class and snobbish value to the beverage, complete with specific glasses tailored to different wine types.
Deepak Khanuja, founder-member of the Nagpur Agro Development Association, highlights the club’s status as the largest in India in terms of membership. He anticipates the opening of the first dedicated wine club building in India at Mihan, symbolizing the city’s commitment to its evolving wine culture.
Despite Nagpur’s non-metropolitan status and unsuitable climate for vineyards, the Nagpur Wine Festival has gained a reputation that attracts top wineries from across the country. Within an hour, all festival stalls are booked, showcasing the event’s financial viability for stakeholders.
Sula Wines’ regional manager, Ravi Waghmare, notes the perceptible growth in people’s appreciation and understanding of wine in Nagpur over the past decade. The festival has played a crucial role in creating awareness, contributing to a 20% year-on-year growth in the region for Sula Wines.
Nagpurians exhibit an openness to innovative flavors, with products like ‘jaamun’ wine gaining popularity. Reserva Winery’s sales executive, Abhilash Morghade, observes a shift towards experimentation, breaking away from the traditional notion that wine must solely originate from grapes. The ‘jaamun’ wine, featuring the Indian black plum, has found favor among Nagpur residents.
Fruzzante, a Maharashtra-based company specializing in wine with various fruit flavors, has also captured the attention of Nagpur’s wine enthusiasts. Additionally, the festival-goers, predominantly women, are developing a discerning palate for wine and dessert pairings, with over 50% appreciating quality desserts alongside their wine.
The 10th Nagpur Wine Festival concludes on Sunday night, culminating in a grape stomping event scheduled for 8 pm. This milestone event underscores Nagpur’s emergence as an unexpected hub for the flourishing wine culture.