Grapes are the essential elements for preparing any types of wine. India produces nearly 123 hectares of wine grapes every year and also exports a vast quantity of grapes. 90% of Indian Wine Grapes are exported to wine-producing areas of Europe, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. India also exports some vine grapes to Russia and Bangladesh. Still, India is not considered among the top grape-producing countries. It is said that the grapes that India exports are more table grapes than wine grapes.
This article will talk about top Indian wine grapes. Let’s get started:
Top Indian wine grapes
It is not easy to produce wine grapes, and the maximum of the grapes grown in India are table grapes. But there are some grapes with seeds and thick skins that are used to produce wines.
Indian Merlot or Bangalore Blue
Indian merlot is the most cultivated wine grape in India. This grape has thick skin and no seeds and is primarily cultivated in the southern parts of the country. Indian merlot’s pulp is white, and skin is black. Indian merlot pops up if soaked in water, and lovely white wines can be made with this wine.
Indian merlot is not a pure merlot wine grape. It is a hybrid and part of Vitis labrusca or foxy grapes. Wines can be made using these grapes, and they can be used for making raisins and also as table grapes.
The foxy grapes are skip-skin grapes means if you soak the grapes overnight, you can quickly move their skins. Therefore, this grape variety is perfect for white wine production; at the same time, red wines can also be produced by using the same harvested grapes. This can also be used for sparkling white winemaking.
This grape is a multi-purpose used grape. Bangalore blue is used to produce red wine, brandy, and port wine. Other than that, this grape variety is used for juice production or can be consumed as fruit.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir
Currently, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are the most produced wine grapes in India. They are robust wine grapes and cultivated chiefly in and around Nashik.
Like Indian Muscat, Indian Cabernet Sauvignon is also a hybrid variety. It is small-sized grapes with thick skin. Therefore, it can’t be consumed in the form of fruit. It has a 1:12 seed and pulp ratio, which is perfect for creating traditional dry and full-bodied wines. If Indian Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are fermented under Indian climatic conditions at 300 Celcius tenderizing, they release vast amounts of tannins and phenols. If the grapes are exposed to oak chips after fermentation for aging, it would add to the taste of the wine and taste exactly like the European dry red wine.
Gulabi (pink) Muscat: Red Globe Wine Grapes
The pink Muscat grapes are big round shaped, red-colored, and seeded. The pink Muscat grapes are ideal for making different soft wines and brandy.
The grapes are big, nearly 20-25mm in diameter, and are resilient in nature. They are one of the premium wine grape varieties grown in India.
Indian Chardonnay (Anab-e-Shahi or Dilkhush)
Anab-e-Shahi, or Indian Chardonnay, is a white wine grape cultivated in India. Indian farmers prefer to grow this grape over the black ones. The Indian white wine grapes don’t contain the tannins and phenols needed to make full-bodied wine. But Indian palates are sweeter. Therefore, the white grapes are very much in demand.
Winemakers use Indian Chardonnay to create Pinot Blanc and Ugni Blanc. These grapes are significant and have seeds. The Indian Chardonnay is famous as Dilkhush in Karnataka and Anab-e-Shahi in Maharashtra. These wine grapes can be used to make still, sparkling wines, and Indian champagne. Dilkhush grapes are also used to make munakka, the seeded raisins.
Some other top Indian wine grapes
Some red Indian wine grapes include
- Syrah or Shiraz
- Zinfandel, mainly found in Himachal Pradesh
- Pinot Noid, a tightly bundled black-colored wine grapes
- Cabernet Franc
- Pinotage, a grape variety for South African wines
Dessert white Indian Wine Grapes
- Chenin Blanc: It is a high acidic grape and hard in texture. It needs cold weather for maturity and is cultivated in Uttrakhand and the lower Himalayas.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Indian Sauvignon Blanc is used to create dry white wine. It can be used to make good quality raisins. This grape variety gives the wine pleasant, solid, and intense aromas. This wine grape contains high malic acid, but it is not so popular in the country.
- Clairette is a green grape, and its skin is thick, making it suitable for vermouth.
It is believed that the Portuguese first introduced port wine in India. After that, wine becomes widespread in India, and Indians have wine at office parties or to celebrate special occasions. Wine is also considered a good gift. But as far as wine grapes are concerned, India is developing, and many wineries in India cultivate wine grapes and produce fine wines from them.