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  History of Indian Wines

It might seem like a new phenomenon but India has a very long relationship with wine, right from the ancient times. In the Vedic times approx 7000 years BC, it was called somrasa or nectar of the Gods. Even in ayurveda, the ancient Indian stream of medicine, we can find references to Drakshasava, which was nothing, but a delicious digestive preparation made from ripened red grapes and contained natural alcohol.

In later times, wine came to be associated with royalty and the emperors' courts. It was liberally served and relished in the royal court and during ceremonies and celebrations. The European travelers brought wine to the courts of the Mughal emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan. There is mention of wines in poetry or ancient Indian literature. In fact, there are so many ghazals that romanticise wine through the poems and music.

The invasion of wine continued with the Portuguese, who came to India and settled in Goa in the 16th century, and introduced a new variety of wine to the Indian sub- continent—something called Vindaloo.

There are records which show that since the cost of shipping wine to India was very high, the British planted vineyards in Surat and Kashmir. None of these exist today but in the past decade, the interest in wines has been revived in India.

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