Sparkling wine – nascent regions

In this post I will be looking at India and China.

India (Nashik Region – because LVMH is establishing there, and they know exactly where to plant)
At 20N, the climate is a bit on an issue.  Table grapes are an important long-established product, but winemaking has emerged only in the last decade. The first producer of Indian sparkling wine was in the 1980s from ugni blanc and thompson’s seedless by Chateau Indage, near Pune, some 100kms south of Nashik, a large operation producing 1 million c/s of all wines. There are already more than 50 producers in the Nashik region, growing chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc, and red varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and zinfandel.

In 2006 it was estimated that the potential (upwardly mobile) wine drinking population was 300m, with a wine consumption of about 20ml a head.  Given that imported sparkling wines have high import duty at Government and/or State levels, with for example NV Champagne at $US70 and Moet et Chandon at over $US100, then the best way to enter the market is to work around the barriers and produce locally.   Which is exactly what LVMH has done (as in Brazil, with a similar potential population), in starting up an operation in the Nashik Region of Maharashtra State, about 200kms NE of Mumbai.  So Champagne, which is so well marketed, will become much more affordable, in India. They are working with established producer York Winery, until their own is established. The Chandon operation has so far involved the planting, in 2011, of about 20ha of chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir.

The altitude is about 600m.  The climate is somewhat polarised, with winter lows of 1-10°C with a risk of frost in November and December, to summer highs of 32-35°C. Total rainfall is about 700mm, which falls mainly in the monsoon from May to September when it’s really humid, outside this period it is pretty dry.   Soils are free draining iron rich sandy clay loam  over basalt on the slopes, with more clay in the valleys.

October to March are the coolest months with cooler nights, with least rainfall, and so the growing and fruiting stages are manipulated for this period – vines are pruned in September and picked in January to March, which helps to expose the crop to warm days and cool nights.  Harvest is according to grape ripeness, and is carried out at night.

One would imagine that the charmat method is used, but I can find no confirmation of this.


There are 2 notable sparkling wine developments in China, both joint ventures with state-owned companies, the first with Remy-Martin inaugurated more than 3 decades ago, and very much in the news now, another with LVMH. Given the size and growth of the population, even a very small percentage of middle class up and coming sparkling wine consumers constitutes a huge potential market, so another smart move by LVMH.

In 1980, a joint venture was set up between the Chinese Government and Remy-Martin, as the Sino-French Joint-Venture Dynasty Winery Ltd, to produce brandy, still and sparkling wines. Dynasty Sparkling Wine is made from chardonnay and italian riesling grown in the Tianjin Province in the east of China, bordering the Bohai Sea.  It is produced by the traditional method, with 2nd fermentation in bottle, with lees ageing > 2 years.  The climate is hot and humid in the summer, when most rainfall occurs, and dry and cold in winter.

In 2011, Moet Hennessy planted a 60ha vineyard with the state-owned agricultural company Ningxia Nongken, which has almost 700ha of vineyards, in the Central Chinese Autonomous Region of Ningxia Hui. Moet Hennessy is building a dedicated winery now, with control of that and of 60% of the vineyard, with plantings of the 3 champagne varieties. Wines will be lees aged in bottle for > 18 months, and marketed under the Chandon brand from 2014.  The climate is continental with summer temperatures in the low 20s C, dropping to -10C or less in winter; the diurnal range can reach 17C  or more; rainfall varies from 200 to 700mm, with more falling in the south.


Updated: 27/10/17

About citbp

I am interested in everything about wine, from site selection to tasting.
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