Have a drink on them

Saturday, 2 February 2013 - 3:56pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Kapil Sekhri, co-promoter and director of Fratelli Wines, talks about the magnificent journey of making wine grow on Indian soil.

The philosophy — In wine there is truth, let the wines speak for itself — brought three families separated by distance but united by a common dream for wine making together to form an Indo- Italian venture that gave birth to the Indian wine label, Fratelli Wines. Fratelli, which in Italian means ‘brother’, is formed by the Secci brothers from Italy, the Sekhri brothers from Delhi and the Mohite-Patils from Akluj. And together they gave shape to their dreams of wine making, rooted in Italian tradition and cultivated on Indian terrains. Kapil Sekhri, co- promoter and director of the brand, tells DNA about this journey he embarked on.

Do you believe Indians are drinking enough wine?
Well, compared to other countries, India’s consumption is quite low. However, between 1998 and 1999, we had noticed a steady growth and around 2002, the increase was about 20% to 25%. Globalisation in the past few years has exposed India to various foreign cultures, which has also led to the influx of different kinds of international wines in the country. That, paired with wine education and awareness efforts, has really assisted in the growth of wine consumption of India.

How was the experience of setting up a vineyard in India?

Since agriculture is a closed industry in India it has been kind of a hassle. The first step was getting permission from the Indian government to set up a vineyard, next was buying the land, after which came cleaning the land. And since optimum care has to be taken of the soil to make it suitable for grape cultivation, we had to ensure that the soil was tended to and watered as required. Also as grape is determined largely by terroir (French term for the combination of climate, soil type and typography), extensive tests had to be carried out to study the region’s climate and soil type to ensure that the land was suitable to grow the 13 varieties of grape samplings, all imported from France.

What kind of challenges did you face during the creation of the label?

As this was a completely new concept for the farmers, they had no prior knowledge, and therefore it was really hard for them to master the art of growing the grapes. It did take them awhile to grasp the technical concept behind growing the saplings. But master wine maker from Tuscany, Piero Masi, provided all the expertise and that really helped.

Do you think wine tourism in India is a possibility in the near future?
For sure. Wine tourism will catch on in India like every other kind of tourism. As more people try exploring Indian vineyards, the more it will gain popularity.

Your journey began 12 years ago, thanks to a holiday with your friends at Tuscany. What has been your best experience so far?
I would have to say that the best experience so far has been to see the first sapling grow into a plant. I remember that day so clearly; I was so excited that I took a photo of it on my phone and sent to my mother, my brother and the others immediately!

Tell us about your wines?

We have four types of white and eight kinds of red wines. Of these, I would have to say that the most popular wine is the Classic Chenin followed by the Chardonnay. Both of these are white and of the reds, the Sangiovese is a quick selling one too.

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