India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Cecilia Oldne: India may become Leading Wine Producer

Posted: Thursday, 04 October 2012 13:21

Cecilia Oldne: India may become Leading Wine Producer

October 04: If a lot can happen over coffee, a lot more can happen over a chat as Swedish sommelier Cecilia Oldne discovered after striking up a conversation with the owner of one of India's largest vineyards eight years ago. Now the head of international business and the global brand ambassador of Sula Vineyards, Cecilia Oldne says consistency can make India a leading wine producer.

"If we can keep up the consistency, India can become one of the world's leading wine producers. China has been trying for years, but India has come much far ahead," said Oldne, who in her five years with the company has taken its products to 20 countries, 10 more than when she came on board.

Oldne first met Sula Vineyards owner Rajeev Samant at a wine event in South Africa in 2004. "He was carrying these little bottles of wine and he said: 'Try it'. I did and said to myself: 'Wow, India makes wine," Oldne, who was here for the 200th event of the Delhi Wine Club Friday night, told IANS in an interview.

"We kept meeting at various events over the next three years and he was always carrying his wine. I could see the improvements and that impressed me. I had always wanted to go to Asia, the Middle East or China but Rajeev consistently wanted me to join him," said Oldne, who has a British degree in international business studies, is a wine writer and wine judge and has previously undertaken assignments like being in charge of the wines served at Stockholm's annual Nobel Banquet.

Now based in Mumbai, Oldne took the plunge in 2007 and since then, there's been no looking back.

"I've become Sula. I've become Indianised and I've changed in many ways. I have no plans to leave," she said, adding: "It's an honour to be appointed the global brand ambassador of a company that is not only pioneering the growth of the Indian wine industry but is doing so in a way that combines sustainability and benefits to the local economy."

"We're aiming to become one of the most sustainable wineries in the world," Oldne said.

That's no idle boast because a series of environmental best practices adopted by Sula Vineyards has enabled it to do away with diesel gen-sets for generating power, meet 60-70 percent of its water requirements from water harvesting and 40 percent of its fertilizer needs through vermiculture.

The five years that she's been with Sula has seen the brand introduced to new markets like Canada, Belgium, the Middle East, Nepal and Bhutan, apart from consolidating in countries like Japan, Britain and the US. The last two are particularly important due to the large Indian Diaspora in cities like New York and San Francisco, which Oldne described as "trend setters".

"Our markets are growing by the day," Oldne told IANS.

That's quite an achievement in a space that is dominated by wines from France, Italy, the US, Australia, Spain, Argentina and Chile, among others.

That's just one aspect of her responsibilities. Over the years, she has brought prestigious international brands like Remy Martin, Cointreau, Balvenie Single Malt Whiskey, Hendrick's Gin, Sierra Tequila, Cono Sur and Trapiche to the company's portfolio and they are marketed in India in the Sula Selections' umbrella.

Over the years, Sula has pioneered many classic grape varietals in India like Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc in 2000, Zinfandel in 2001 and Riesling in 2008. In 2005, Sula launched its first reserve wine, the Dindori Reserve Shiraz, as well as India's first dessert wine, the Late Harvest Chenin Blanc.

The company produced 475,000 cases (12 bottles/9 liters) of wine last year and hopes to raise this to 650,000 cases in 2012.

Vishnu Makhijani

The article is being reproduced with permission from Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). Pictures were taken by the photographer for Delhi Wine Club on September 21 at the Hyatt Regency, our hospitality partner at the 200th Dinner that was also celebrating 10 years of the club. Ethos Summit and Rolex co-sponsored the event-editor


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet