History of Wine from the land of KamaSutra

LXV Wine is inspired by the ancient philosophies of India, where in 2012 wine is an emergent industry.  Wine has a rich but chequered history in India, which is better known for the KamaSutra and its sensuality than for wine and its sensuality, but this could be about to change. Demand for wine in India is increasing at about 20-30 % per year, mostly due to the rise of increasingly prosperous and globalized middle and luxury classes.  India is also becoming an important economic center that attracts sophisticated travelers and professionals from every country, many of whom appreciate world-class wine. Perhaps more than any other country in the world, India has long been intimately linked to systematic approaches to altered states of consciousness: religion, yoga, meditation, and alcohol, among the most famous.

Unicorn intoxicated by a mesh and chalice
In India wine has been the drink of elites, which consisted primarily over the past few thousand years of the most powerful religious groups and the country’s rulers. Viticulture in India has a long history dating back to the time of the Indus Valley civilization when grapevines were believed to have been introduced from Persia.. During the 2nd and 1st millennia, known as the Vedic period, Aryan tribes in the area that is now known as India had a reputation for becoming intoxicated, most likely from wine made from grapes introduced thousands of years earlier by Persian traders. It was referred to as “Somarasa” (The juice extracted by squeezing plants).  

In the 4th century B.C. the writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, reflect the ambivalence about wine that has lasted up until now. The Kshatriya warriors, one of the four social orders in Hinduism held the unique privilege of drinking wine, while lower castes could drink beverages with alcohol that came from fermented wheat, barley and millet. Throughout the next two thousand years India’s wine history has been characterized by prohibitions and elite appreciative partaking. 

Mughal Lady holding wine cup c.1650-60
From 1526-1757, the period ruled by Muslim Mughals (direct descendants of Genghis Khan), alcohol was prohibited in accordance to Islamic dietary laws. For the most part, the masses obeyed. During this period the economy and the arts flowered spectacularly: India became known world-wide for brilliant architectural achievements such as the Taj Mahal and the Pearl mosque. Prohibition of alcohol use has never extinguished the desire for either altered states through alcohol or the deliciousness of grape alcohols, and the Mughal ruler Jahangir was known to enjoy his brandy.

During the Portuguese and British rule of this region viticulture again began to flourish throughout the region; both colonists appreciated wine and encouraged its local production. Beginning in 1863 in France, a phylloxera pest that originated in the Americas devasted vines in Europe and Central Asia. It was a long road for the Indian wine industry to recover from the devastation at the end of the 19th century. However, after Independence from British rule was declared in 1947, the new Indian government stated that one of its aims was again to prohibit alcohol. 

Because wine can be complex, delicious, social, state-altering, and even beautiful, enjoyment of wine will continue to persist despite transitory suppression.

About LXV : LXV is a wine inspired by the exotic arts of India. The style of the wine is at once classic and contemporary, showcasing the uniqueness of Paso Robles wines. Every release of LXV showcases a small-lot, hand crafted, luxury wine inspired by a particular art of Kama Sutra.  


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