York Winery, a family-owned Nashik-based business, will soon merge with Sula Vineyards and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sula.
Rajeev Samant, founder CEO of Sula Vineyards, said the merger is a triple win — for York, Sula and wine consumers. “Smaller wineries find it very difficult to get distribution, and the pandemic has been a big blow. Sula will help York get a wider distribution and continue the great winemaking tradition of the Gurnani family with Kapil Gurnani continuing as winemaker and brand ambassador,” he said.
The York Winery label rights have been sold to Sula.
“Sula will be able to expand our hospitality operations across the road to our neighbour York, thus boosting Nashik’s wine tourism offerings. And there are synergies to be had from combining some operations. Consumers benefit from seeing more York brands on more shelves across the country, expanding consumer choice. It’s a great fit overall,” Samant said.
Located barely a mile away from Sula Vineyards, York Winery — which made Chandon sparkling wines for Moet and Chandon for three years as a contract facility — was established in 2006. It occupies nine acres of vineyards overlooking the Gangapur Dam. The family-owned winery focuses on producing fruity and dry rather than sweet wines. Products of Turning Point, Good Earth, a couple of wineries from Karnataka, a few exclusive barrels from Connoisseurs of Mumbai, and some exported labels have been crafted at the winery.
Sula, the largest Indian winery, enjoys over a 65% market and has been the biggest in India in terms of wine tourism, attracting nearly four lakh wine tourists every year, including over 15,000 visitors to the two-day annual SulaFest. When the lockdown was eased earlier this year, Sula Vineyards had reported 95% occupancy at its 51-room resort.
Ravi Gurnani, director, York Winery, did not go into details of the merger, but said the York brand will continue to grow. “The merger will give our brand a wider distribution reach and expand our market,” he said.
The deal will also mean Sula can use York’s facility, which has a tasting room and restaurant, for wine tourism. York currently makes around 36,000 cases of red, white and sparkling wines annually. A classic selection of York wines ranging between Rs 1,200 and Rs 14,009 comprises Yaatra, York Arros, York Sparkling Rose, York Sparkling Cuvée Blanc de Blancs and York H Block Chardonnay. York’s mid-range of Rs 700-Rs 800 showcases Shiraz, Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz Viognier, Zinfandel Rose and Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. The winery has a production capacity of 400,000 litres.