DB Awards 2016: a report on the winners

Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism


Sula Vineyards CEO Rajeev Samant

Winner: Sula Vineyards

Apart from revolutionising the wine industry in India since its foundation in 1998, Sula has made a major contribution to India’s international tourism profile by establishing Nashik Valley as a major oenophile destination.

Boasting a 4,500sq ft Tasting Room with a 35ft bar and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding rolling hills, Sula Vineyards offers regular winery tours and limited edition wine tastings, while a short walk away stands Soleil by La Plage, a culinary fusion offering by India’s most iconic French restaurant based in Goa – La Plage.

With a 35-room luxury resort – Beyond by Sula – 10 minutes from its vineyards and credit for creating India’s premier wine and harvest festival, SulaFest, Sula has succeeded in attracting almost 230,000 unique visitors to its vineyards and winery in Nashik in 2015 – almost a 10% growth over the previous year. Revenue from all of Sula’s hospitality outlets stood at US$4.4 million in 2015 – up 20% on the previous year.

Judges deemed Sula’s contribution to this category particularly meritorious because it used tourism to promote wine in an area where wine is restricted.

Further, Sula had made a huge economic in a region that needs it. Sula’s pitch was thus deemed both “altruistic” and “benefiting the community at large”, and though it was self-promoting, it was not just about wine but about tourism.

Sula’s results-driven campaign had created visible growth which would continue over the long-term, the judges added.

Susana Balbo WinesRunner-up: Susana Balbo Wines

Already on a solid foundation having been recognised by The Drinks Business Awards as a finalist in the Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism in 2015, Susana Balbo Wines has continued to build on last year’s success with its energetic and innovative approach to wine tourism in Mendoza. Education, history, entertainment, quality and innovation are the watchwords by which Susana Balbo and her daughter Ana work. Now boasting two restaurants, Susana Balbo Wines aims to emphasise the gastronomic element of wine and “motivate the visitor to define their own palate, so they can understand how it evolves”.

Coming a “close second” to Sula this year, Susana Balbo was commended by judges for its “creative and unstuffy approach” which “ticked all the boxes”, adding that the winery looked like the sort of place they would really like to visit, a place that “made them hungry”.

The shortlist:

  • The Douro Boys
  • Sula Vineyards
  • Susana Balbo Wines
  • Tasting Table

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