The move in which York becomes a subsidiary of Sula, is being seen as a mutually beneficial one that will allow York to gain greater distribution while Sula will be able to expand its wine tourism offerings in Nashik.
Sula Vineyards is one of the foremost entities in the domestic wine space with nearly 65 per cent market share. At its inception over two decades ago in 1999, Sula was the first winery in Nashik which has eventually emerged as India’s wine capital with nearly 80 per cent of the country’s wines produced here. The pioneer brand has been one among precious few homegrown ones to have opened up the world of wines to Indian audiences by making them accessible to a much wider range of consumers than ever before. Now, Sula Vineyards is acquiring the neighbouring York Winery.
The York Winery is about a couple of kilometres from Sula and was established in 2006. Spread across nine acres, its vineyards overlook the Gangapur Dam. While a relatively smaller wine maker, York is an accomplished brand in its own right, producing 36,000 cases of red, white and sparkling wines annually and with a production capacity of 400,000 litres. It also operated as a contract facility for three years, making sparkling wines for Moet and Chandon.
The merger will see York become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sula Vineyards, with Kailash Gurnani continuing as wine maker and brand ambassador; the Gurnani family founded York Winery and has been operating it since inception. It is being perceived as a mutually beneficial move, with York’s wines finding greater distribution and Sula being able to extend its wine tourism offerings to York’s facilities which include a tasting room and a restaurant.
Chaitanya Rathi, Chief Operating Officer, Sula Vineyards, said, “This merger is great news and comes as a triple win for York, Sula and wine lovers across the country! Sula has championed wine tourism in India, bringing people and wine closer with our beautiful resorts, wine tastings and vineyard tours, and this merger opens even bigger avenues.”
Sula Vineyards usually sees over 3 lakh wine tourists every year and even after the lockdown was lifted last year, Sula’s resort registered 95 per cent occupancy. With improved and expanded wine tourism facilities in the country’s wine capital, the biggest beneficiaries of this move are perhaps wine lovers.