2018 India Wine Awards Ceremony & Gala

~The second edition of the India Wine Awards saw 184 medal winners being crowned from a total of 353 nominations in a glittering ceremony held at the Grand Ballroom, The Leela, Mumbai~

~The Sonal Holland Wine Academy in partnership with Wine Intelligence, a global consumer research leader, launched the second edition of the India Wine Insider, a report on the urban Indian wine drinker that tracks his attitude, behaviour and relationship with the beverage~

Saturday, September 29, 2018; Mumbai:

The winners of the 2018 India Wine Awards were revealed in a sparkling black-tie event attended by all the luminaries of the wine and hospitality world at The Leela, Mumbai.

The dazzling award ceremony, presented by whisky wizard and media personality Anish Trivedi, saw 184 medals in Silver, Gold and Diamond awarded to domestic and international wines, including 30 Best in Class Trophies for outstanding wines in the competition results. The popular Best Wine Pairings with Indian Cuisine category had 10 Trophy Winners emerge from 120 wines, paired with nine dishes such as chicken chettinad and mutton rahra.

Raising the bar as the country’s most authoritative wine awards, a special category of Excellence in Restaurant Wine Programs at Hotels and Premium Stand-Alone Restaurants located in the three major consumption centers of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bangalore recognised 20 restaurants for a World Class Wine List, 8 restaurants as World Class Wine Destinations and a further 6 restaurants for the best Wine-Trained Service staff.

The India Wine Awards, led by the most qualified and foremost wine professionals in India and abroad, is an initiative powered by Sonal Holland, India's first Master of Wine and Founder-Director of SoHo Wine Club. Wines entered in the competition were judged over two days (on September 18 and 19) by a panel chaired by Sonal Holland, comprising 18 distinguished wine and food experts.

To build a strong foundation for Excellence in Restaurant Wine Programs at Hotels and Premium Stand-Alone Restaurants, for the first time in any Indian wine competition an independent panel of five international Master of Wines, including Sonal Holland, was formed to bring their global experience and unmatched expertise to the judging process. The panelists included:

  • Richard Hemming MW (United Kingdom): London-based wine-writer, educator and consultant
  • Ying Hsien Tan MW (Singapore): Singapore’s first Master of Wine and owner of the Taberna Wine Academy
  • Andrea Pritzker MW (Australia): Sydney-based independent wine consultant, WSET educator, writer and a public speaker
  • Victoria Burt MW (United Kingdom): Research & Development Manager at the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

On that sparkling night, mingling over award-winning wines and a gastronomic dinner hosted by The Leela Mumbai, were Kapil Grover, Director Grover Zampa Vineyards; Dietmar Keilnhofer, general Manager of JW Marriott Sahar; lifestyle chef Rakhee Vasvani; gourmand Nikhil Merchant; eminent restauranteurs Gauri Devidayal and Rahul Akerkar, and celebrity columnist Nisha Jamvwal.

Some of the highlights from the 2018 India Wine Awards were:

  • 353 wine nominations. All wines were tasted blind by the panel of 19 judges, including Holland.
  • 184 Wine Tasting Award Medal Winners across Silver, Gold and Diamond category. Medals were awarded on the basis of a 100-point score in a process conducted as per global standards.
    • Winners of a Silver award are ranked with 85-89 points
    • Winners of a Gold award are ranked with 90-94 points
    • Winners of a Diamond award are ranked with 95 points and above
  • 30 Trophy Awards for the Best in Class Wines across style and price-points categories. There was a tie in Best Super-Premium Wine-International between Torres Mas La Plana 2012, Spain and Boscoselvo Brunello di Montalcino 2010, Italy.
  • 10 Trophy award winners for Best Wine Pairings with Indian Cuisine. The segment saw 120 wines paired with 9 delectable signature Indian dishes. Dominated by Indian wines, there was a tie between Casablanca Frizzano Semi Dry NV, India and Sula Zinfandel 2018, India for the Best Wine pairing with Daal Makhani.
  • Seventeen restaurants across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore won the coveted one-star for the Excellence in Restaurant Wine Lists at Hotels and Premium Stand-Alone restaurants; while three restaurants won the even higher two-star award.
  • Eight restaurants across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore won the Wine Destination Award, for creating superlative experiences for customers. There were Six winners for restaurants with the Best Wine Training Programs across three cities.

Setting the wheels in motion for the awards, Sonal Holland said, “Receiving a massive 353 nominations, the India Wine Awards has established itself as the country’s apex wine competition, built on the four pillars of integrity, authenticity, credibility and relevance. It is our commitment to develop India’s wine industry, rewarding excellence. The 2018 India Wine Awards showcases the depth and versatility of Indian wines to the globe, while offering a platform for international labels to reach out to the domestic market.

For the urban Indian, wine is a cultural disruptor. Wine has sparked more conversations beyond what we could have ever imagined. Serving as the ultimate consumer guide, the India Wine Awards helps wine consumers navigate a labyrinth of seemingly impossible choices, to select the perfect wine for the occasion.”

Explaining the rationale behind introducing the Excellence in Restaurant Wine Programs, Victoria Burt, who attended the awards ceremony, said, “The best wine programs combine well-considered, well-priced wine lists, initiatives to engage consumers, such as wine flights, and calendar of interesting wine-focused events. I was very pleased to note a number of restaurants and hotels in India are involved in both, certified education such as WSET, and more informal staff training. As ambassadors of the restaurant and its wine list, the power of well-trained sommeliers and waiting staff cannot be underestimated in driving success.”

Applauding the effort, Gauri Devidayal, Co-Founder The Table restaurant, Magazine Street Kitchen and Miss T, and one of the jury members, said, The India Wine Awards is a much-needed consumer initiative and a welcome recognition of the growing trend in production and consumption of wine in India. I hope that all wineries, importers and restaurants participate in this program in the coming years.”

On the 2018 India Wine Awards night, Sonal Holland MW, in collaboration with Wine Intelligence, the global consumer research leader for wine businesses, launched the second edition of the India Wine Insider, a report that has grown in scope. The paper focuses on insights from urban Indian wine drinkers, who are defined as drinking domestic or imported wine at least once every 6 months. The report measures their attitudes, behaviour and relationship with wine. Presenting market opportunities for growth, the 96-page report gives an in-depth insight into the psyche of India’s urban wine drinker. Highlighting key wine trends, it is available for purchase. A quick glimpse into some of the key findings:

  • The female wine drinker in India is on par with male drinkers, in terms of how frequently they consume wine, propensity to spend on a wine and attitudes towards wine drinking. Whilst a greater proportion of wine drinkers in India are men (57%), 43% of wine drinkers in India are women.
  • The beverage is most closely linked to intimate and relaxing occasions amongst wine drinkers in India, with the three most dominant perceptions of wine being:
  • Drinkers find wine ideal for romantic occasions
  • It helps them relax
  • It is perceived to be a ‘healthier’ choice as compared to other alcoholic beverages
  • With low awareness of varietals and regions / countries of origin, well known brands are seen as a reassuring signal of quality and strongly influence consumer behaviour.
  • The report turns the spotlight on to the Millennial wine drinkers in India, who are between 18 and 35 years of age
    • This population is keen to try new and different styles of wines on a regular basis as the beverage assumes a definitive place in their overall drinking repertoire
    • The image of class and sophistication, paired with the physical attributes of taste and its comparatively lesser intoxicating levels of alcohol, when compared with other beverages, motivates Indian Millennials to choose wine
  • Whilst a key barrier to drinking and purchasing wine is price, wine drinkers in India report that the difficulty in finding the wine of their choice at the local retailer, as well as the perceived lack of knowledge of the shop or restaurant staff acts as a deterrent

The sparkling 2018 India Wine Awards night ended on a high note, bringing to culmination a year-long process to recognise the best available wines in India.

For the 2018 India Wine Awards, the main presenting partners were WSET, the world's leading provider of wine & spirit education, and Lucaris, the modern Asian exclusive crystal stemware brand. The associate partners for the awards were Avendus Wealth Management, Eurocave, India Circus, TMJ fine jewels and Autohangar.

The Eminent Jury Members for the 2018 India Wine Awards

  • Subhash Arora, President Indian Wine Academy, wine writer, international judge and wine promoter
  • Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi, Special Invitee Judge, Food and Pairing Competition, and Celebrated Food Writer
  • Sourish Bhattacharyya, Co-Chair, Food and Pairing competition; India’s most eminent food expert; author at IndianRestaurantSpy.com and Co-founder of the Tasting India Symposium
  • Abhisek Basu, Executive Assistant Manager-Food and Beverage, The Leela Mumbai
  • Suneeta Kanga, Corporate Grooming, Fine Dining & Wine appreciation
  • Parveen Chander, Area Director–West India and General Manager–Taj Lands End, Mumbai
  • Dietmar Kielnhofer, General Manager JW Marriott Sahar Mumbai
  • Gauri Devidayal, Co-Founder, The Table, Magazine Street Kitchen and Miss T
  • Rahul Akerkar, Celebrity Chef, Chef-Restaurateur, Entrepreneur
  • Ruma Singh, Wine Writer
  • Alok Chandra, Wine Consultant, Gryphon Brands Inc.
  • Sameer Malkani, Co-Chair Food and Wine Pairing Competition India Wine Awards, Founder–President, Food Bloggers Association of India
  • Shahrom Oshtori, Vice President Operations–India, Gourmet Investments
  • Ajit Balgi, Bar Consultant, Wine & Spirit Educator, Corporate trainer & Columnist
  • Vaniitha Jaiin, Wine & Spirits Specialist at The Perfect Pour
  • Nikhil Merchant, Food blogger & Influencer
  • Aneesh Bhasin, Co-founder and CEO of Hipcask
  • Pratik Angre, Head Sommelier, Massive Restaurants

The List of Award Winners at the 2018 INDIA WINE AWARDS


Best in Class Wines Indian

  • Best Red Wine - Indian
  • Grover Zampa Chêne Grand Réserve 2015

  • Best White Wine - Indian
  • Sula Dindori Reserve Viognier 2018

  • Best Rosé Wine - Indian
  • Fratelli MS Rosé 2017

  • Best Sparkling Wine - Indian
  • Grover Zampa Soirée Brut Rosé 2015

Best in Class Wines International

  • Best Red Wine – Old World
  • Le Volte dell’ Ornellaia 2015, Italy

  • Best Red Wine – New World
  • Framingham Pinot Noir 2017, New Zealand

  • Best White Wine – Old World
  • Joseph Drouhin ‘Drouhin-Vaudon’ Chablis Reserve de Vaudon 2015, France

  • Best White Wine – New World
  • Susana Balbo CRIOS Torrontés 2017, Argentina

  • Best Rosé Wine – Old World
  • Chateau d’Esclans Côtes de Provence Whispering Angel Rosé 2017, France

  • Best Champagne
  • Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV, France

  • Best Sparkling Wine (excluding Champagne)
  • Ferrari Brut NV, Italy

Best in Class Wines Indian (based on pricing)

  • Best Budget Wine - Indian
  • York All Rounder White 2017

  • Best Mid-Range Wine - Indian
  • Reveilo Nero D’Avola 2017

  • Best Premium Wine - Indian
  • SDU RESERVA 2014

  • Best Super-Premium Wine - Indian
  • KRSMA Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Best in Class Wines International (based on pricing)

  • Best Budget Wine - International
  • Campo Viejo Tempranillo 2017, Spain

  • Best Mid-Range Wine - International
  • Zonin Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore DOC, Italy

  • Best Premium Wine - International
  • Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Pauillac, France

  • Best Super-Premium Wine - International
  • Torres Mas La Plana 2012, Spain

    Boscoselvo Brunello di Montalcino 2010, Italy

Best Wines Paired with Indian Cuisine

  • Best Wine pairing with Mutton Rahra
  • Sula Sparkling Shiraz 2018, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Chicken Chettinaad
  • Sula Brut Rosé 2018, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Goan Prawn Curry
  • Besserat de Bellefont Champagne NV, France

  • Best Wine pairing with Malvani Fish Fry
  • Grover Zampa Soirée Brut 2015, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Litti Chokha
  • The Source Grenache Rosé 2018, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Paneer Khurchan
  • Casablanca Rosé Spumante NV, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Dal Makhani (tie)
  • Casablanca Frizzano Semi Dry NV, India

    Sula Zinfandel 2018, India

  • Best Wine pairing with Aloo Poshto
  • Yellow Tail Pink Moscato NV, Australia

  • Best Wine pairing with Gulab Jamun
  • De Bortoli Noble One 2013, Australia




    1. Rivers to Oceans, Mumbai
    2. The Table, Mumbai
    3. The Wine Rack, Mumbai
    4. San:Qi, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
    5. Kebabs and Kurries, ITC Grand Central Mumbai
    6. Romano’s, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar
    7. Fratelli Fresh, Renaissance Mumbai
    8. Artisan – French Bistro, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
    9. Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Mumbai
    10. Luna, The St. Regis Mumbai
    11. Caprese, Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru
    12. Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Palace Bengaluru
    13. Le Jardin, The Oberoi Bengaluru
    14. The Wine Company, Gurugram
    15. The Hong Kong Club, Andaz Delhi
    16. Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya New Delhi
    17. Pluck, Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity


    1. The Chambers, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
    2. Wasabi by Morimoto, The Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi
    3. Le Cirque, The Leela Palace New Delhi


    1. The Wine Rack, Mumbai
    2. Romano’s, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar
    3. Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Mumbai
    4. Toscano, Bengaluru
    5. Caprese, Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru
    6. Le Jardin, The Oberoi Bengaluru
    7. Qla, New Delhi
    8. Le Cirque, The Leela Palace New Delhi


    1. The Table, Mumbai
    2. San:Qi, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
    3. Dum Pukht, ITC Maratha Mumbai
    4. Dublin, ITC Windsor Bengaluru
    5. The Wine Company, Gurugram
    6. Honk, Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

For More Information, please contact:

APURVA GAWANDE I  +91 9833802677 I  Email: apurva@sohowineclub.in