The second most populous country in the world after China with around 1.4 billion inhabitants. In the second millennium BC, the Aryans immigrated to northwest India via the Hindu Kush. In the period up to 800 B.C., which is called the Veda culture after their language, the Vedas, the holy scriptures of Hinduism, were created. Two alcoholic beverages are mentioned in them. One of them was called "Soma", a milk-like drink made from toadstool, jimsonweed or rhubarb, which had a drug-like effect. The second was "sura", which was fermented from barley or rice. The highest Vedic god was the drinkable and warlike Indra. However, the fifth of the Ten Commandments of Buddhism prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Buddha (563-483 B.C.) himself, however, had a milder attitude towards alcohol and merely described it as "the consumer of wealth". The minister of the Maurja king Chandragupta (around 300 BC) named Kautilya wrote the famous "Arthasastra", similar to the writings of Machiavelli. In it he mentions a wine made from grapes called "Madhu".
However, for centuries wine was only drunk by privileged people like warriors and nobles. The common people brewed alcoholic beverages from barley, rice and millet. Due to the colonisation by the Portuguese in the 16th century and the English in the 19th century, there was regionally limited viticulture, but the entire vineyards fell victim to phylloxera around 1890. Afterwards French missionaries planted vineyards near Madras. From 1950 onwards, individual states imposed a temporary ban, and Haryana was the last state to do so, but it was not lifted until 1998. In the state of Karnataka, wine has no longer been considered an alcoholic beverage since 2008 and was no longer allowed to be sold only in licensed alcohol shops, but also in supermarkets and other shops. Thus, wine was put on an equal footing with non-alcoholic beverages. However, the rule did not apply to fortified wines.
The climate is characterized by hot summers with high humidity and the heavy Indian monsoon in summer and winter. The wine-growing areas are mostly located in the south of central India in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The rest is in the northwest in the state of Punjab. In 2012, the area under vines covered 120,000 hectares. This was three times the amount in 2000. However, only 146,000 hectolitres of wine are produced (see also under Wine Production Quantities). The most important Celtic varieties are the red Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Zinfandel, as well as the white Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Most of the land is used for the production of raisins, table grapes and grape juice. The most important varieties are Anab-e-Shahi, Bangalore Blue(Isabella), Bangalore Purple, Gulabi(Muscat d'Hamburg), Perlette, Thompson Seedless(Sultana) and some new Arka varieties. The Andhra Winery & Distillery, founded in 1966 in Malkajgiri in the state of Andhra Pradesh, was the first modern winery and is regarded as the beginning of modern viticulture. At the beginning of the 1980s, east of Bombay in Náráyangoan (Maharashtra), the Château Indage which produces about 70% of India's wine. Close to the city of Bangalore, in the Dodballapur mountains (Karnataka), the winery Grover Vineyards and in 1997 the winery Sula founded northeast of Bombay. Indian viticulture is developing rapidly with annual growth rates of up to 30%.