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WOW: Top Ten Women of Wine in India 2013 –Violet d’Souza of Terroir India

Posted: Monday, 29 July 2013 11:05

WOW: Top Ten Women of Wine in India 2013 –Violet d’Souza of Terroir India

July 29: Indian wine industry is at a nascent stage but many women have taken the plunge in the field of winemaking, marketing, education and journalism, with varying degree of success. It may be too early but in an effort to be the first in many areas in wine, delWine brings you the first-ever list of Top Ten Women of Wine in India 2013: WOW with the objective of recognizing the persistent ones in the face of adversity and to encourage more to choose the healthy option. We have refrained from ranking them as that would require extensive polls and surveys and have chosen to keep it generally in alphabetical order. In this edition we focus on Violet d’Souza of Indus

The list has been made out of a short-circuited list of around 50 women living in India. One of the criteria has been that those selected should have been active in the wine trade for at least during the last five years. If their sphere of influence is not exclusive in wine, they should be according a special portion of it to wine activities.

An effort has been made to keep a balance (the same key ingredient as in wine quality) in the areas of wine production, sales including export and import and journalists, keeping in view the international exposure, educational background, corporate/business experience. The purpose of this Series of articles, the first ever of this kind in India, has been to highlight that the wine industry is not a male bastion. We need to encourage women to enter the industry and recognize them for their contribution in the increase of wine consumption. Wine may not still be a full time job for most women at this point of time. We have considered those with passion for wine and devoting a majority of their time to wine related activities. In most cases, the figures and facts have been taken to be the truth since they are given by the women-we assume that they are women of integrity.

Also, it being the maiden attempt, we have not kept the list in order of merit, but rather in alphabetic order. There is bound to be criticism but we have tried to be as objective as possible. The readers are welcome to send their suggestions and any glaring omissions – in fact we encourage and appreciate such inputs. 

In the second article of the Series we write Violet d’Souza.  We shall consolidate when all the ten have been listed, in one article.

Top Ten Women of Wine: Violet d’Souza

If you want to know someone struggling to make it in the wine industry and not giving up despite all odds, meet Violet d’Souza, partner of Terroir India, an Igatpuri-based  wine producer also known as Indus Winery. Spanning a career of 25 years as an HR consultant in Mumbai, Violet did a complete volte-face to jump on the winery wagon when the management of Terroir India wineries invited her to join as a part of their team, to dig her hands into the soil. Thus began her tryst with Vine and Wine in 2005, as she says.

The winery was commissioned in November 2007 and the company has managed to move ahead with the sales touching 12,000 cases in 2012-not the high number she had envisioned initially but ‘we are amongst the few fortunate ones who weathered the cruel blow to this industry perhaps because of our consistent quality and constant innovations to suit the changing conditions,’ even if it meant producing cheaper, faster selling wines to keep afloat. 

Her assignment was to coordinate to set up the first state-of-the-art Gravity Flow Winery in India along with getting the best expertise to spearhead operations. An extensive research resulted in the irrepressible Australian John Worontschak agreeing to develop an indigenous identity as Indus Vineyards. Dr.Richard Smart, the well-known Kiwi viticulturist, consented to work with them as he was keen to explore new frontiers in the relatively new viticulture region,  she boasts.

Although her role was to handle marketing and management, her growing interest in vine and wine pulled her towards other facets as she started visiting different viticulture zones in and around Maharashtra with Richard. Interacting with the farmers  was exciting as they were a power house of practical knowledge by which even Richard was amazed, she says adding, ‘The vineyard visits were really enlightening as I got the best out of a healthy exchange of theoretical expertise and ground realities which helped me better understand the language of vine in the Indian context. I have continued my visits to our contract farmers who treat me like family.’

‘After the harvest I stared coordinating with John, taking a keen interest in wine-making and although we had a junior English winemaker stationed during harvest, the onus of maintaining and improving the wines fell on me in the absence of qualified personnel. I may not be an expert but I can tell you the difference of the “V or W” by simply looking at the leaves or soil or whispering with the liquid in your glass.'

‘We launched our wines in November 2007 with a distinct Indian identity, to announce and invite the world to Indulge in India as aptly adopted by our brand slogan. We were well received by the consumers and critics alike, winning medals for our quality and words of appreciation from wine critics like Jamie Goode who mistook Indus Sauvignon Blanc as that from South Africa in a blind tasting.’

Violet is happy that women are steadily finding a better place in the Indian wine market and looks forward to the future ‘when our girls will grow into mature women bringing in the best our terroir has to offer by digging deep as also when more women take up wine making with their highly evolved olfactory skills honed and perfected by thousands of tastes and aromas of an Indian kitchen.’

DelWine is happy to include Violet d’Souza in WOW Top Ten as a wine producer and to tell her to hold that thought!

Subhash Arora

Tags: Violet d’Souza, Terroir India, Indus Winery, Gravity Flow Winery, John Worontschak, Dr. Richard Smart, Indulge in India

Comments:

 
 

Manoj Jagtap Says:

Congratulations Violet for your ever energetic work and Enthusiasm, It also gives pleasure for our Nashik Valley. Manoj Jagtap Co-ordinator, Nashik Valley Wine Producers Association, All India Wine Producers Association.

Posted @ August 14, 2013 12:22

 

Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks for the compliments, Benita. The recognition as the title suggests is for Women of Wine. One day, it will include only winemakers/producers but right now we have also included Soemmeliers, journalists, educationists, marketeers and restaurateurs. I am happy Violet could be a part of this first-ever list to recognise and motivate more women to join the industry. More women in the industry would also motivate more women to drink/switch to wine (within limits, of course), I hope. That's been my motivation. Subhash Arora

Posted @ August 09, 2013 12:33

 

benita d'silva Says:

I must commend Subash Arora for taking this amazing step in honouring India's top ten wine makers. I honestly believe violet D'souza deserves this recognition as I have never seen anyone work with such manic energy and uninhibited enthsiasm as she does. finally the right people are given true recognition, and Subash i need to congratulate you for entataining such an amazing thought . violet your consistency, dedication, persistence, innovativeness has finally been recognized. congratulations !!!!!!!

Posted @ August 09, 2013 12:13

 

Violet Dsouza Says:

Hey Remie, thank you for your warm wishes and kind comments on the article that Cav. Subhash put up. I hope to see you sooner than later at some global trade show. Through these articles I hope that more women in India will come forward to take up wine making. More power to women!!

Posted @ July 31, 2013 11:45

 

Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks for your compliments, Violet. We try to be as objective and unbiased as possible. We wish everyone in the wine trade to prosper so consumers drink more wine!! Good luck. Subhash

Posted @ July 30, 2013 12:41

 

Remie Law Says:

Please extend my warmest wishes & congratulations to Violet for her passion and persistence in wine production in India. We met rather briefly in Singapore, when she attended one of the trade shows, there.

Posted @ July 29, 2013 18:15

 

Violet Says:

Hi CAV. Subhash, It is an honour to know that you do remember me in your very busy schedule. It is only people like you (or should I say the only one) who are impartial and include the smaller wineries too with respect to our industry. Kind regards, Violet

Posted @ July 29, 2013 18:07

 
 
       

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