Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Food and Drink

Waitrose becomes first UK supermarket to sell Indian wine

Upmarket British grocery chain Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to line their liquor shelves with wine from India.

In addition to French Bordeaux and German Rieslings, customers will also be able to find bottles of red Zampa Syrahs and crisp white Ritu Viogniers made from grapes grown in the Maharashtra region of western India, reported industry publication Decanter magazine this week.

The 2008 Zampa Syrah is described as a peppery dark red with rich blackberry and black cherry flavors and a white pepper, warm spicy finish.

The 2010 Ritu Viogniers has aromas of white flowers, ripe peach and fresh apricot. Both retail for about £8 (€9).

The wine is produced by a firm that belongs to the same India-based group that makes Kingfisher lager, United Breweries.

It's a big break for India's fledgling wine industry but one that makes sense given that the wines' spicy aromas make for the ideal accompaniment to curries - England's "unofficial" national dish.

Other Indian wineries that have gained international attention include Sula wines, helmed by a Stanford-educated engineer who quit his job to become a winemaker. The company's 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was awarded a silver medal in this year's Decanter World Wine Awards.

The UK is the largest importer of wines in the world and its consumers' thirst for wine has been blamed for the declining sales of beer.

Though all eyes are turned towards China as the next big wine market, India's burgeoning middle class and appetite for luxury goods could also prove to be an important player both as a producing nation and a consumptive one.