Happy Wine Wednesday! This series highlights the best places to explore wine tourism. Today’s spotlight is on Goa, India. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, Goa lies in a low altitude area of southwest India. Goa wine has only recently arrived on the Indian wine scene. (Recently meaning as early as the 1980s.) This region of India is particularly famous for its Port wine. You may be wondering why that is, since Port wine originated in Portugal. As it turns out, the Portuguese colonized the area around Goa in the 17th century. Those settlers brought with them their culture, which included Port winemaking techniques. A few centuries later and the Goa wine scene was born!
Port Wine: The Best in Goa Wine
As we mentioned, Port was brought to Goa by the Portuguese. It’s become the specialty of the area. You may wonder: what is Port wine? Port wine (or Port for short, haha) is a fortified wine. So let’s break this down. Under normal circumstances, wine is made through the fermentation of sugars in the grapes. That’s why wine has a drier, more bitter taste than, say, lemonade. All the sugars have been turned to alcohol.
Port wine, however, still retains some of the sugar. This is accomplished by adding brandy to the wine before all the sugars ferment completely. The wine is fortified by the brandy, hence the term “fortified wine.” As a result, Port wine is much sweeter and contains significantly more alcohol than the average bottle of vino. If you’ve ever heard of dessert wine, Port is one of them. It’s so sweet that traditionally it was drunk in a very small glass as an after dinner treat.
Where can you find Indian Port wine? Check out these three wineries near Goa.
Elite Vintage Winery
At this winery, great care is taken to produce high quality wines. The four varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc, and of course Port. Be sure to try their carbonated red wine from the Elite Vega line. The winery especially recommends it for warm weather, which is good because the average low temperature in Goa is 77 degrees Fahrenheit! You’ll also want to ask for the Majic Port wine.
Tonia Liquor Industries
One of the first producers of Goa wine, Tonia creates a variety of still, sparkling, and fortified wines. You’ll find 8 varieties of still wines, 4 fortified wines, and a single variety of sparkling. The San Andre Club Port is crafted from a variety of Indian grapes and really captures the essence of the Goa region.
Ritza Estate Vineyards
Ritza has taken vines from all over the globe and given them a Goa flare all their own. You’ll find vines from Australia, France, South Africa, and California. Request a stay in the guesthouse and surround yourself with amazing wines and gorgeous landscapes.
Try the Regalia White, a gentle flavor with delightful honey aftertaste – goes well with seafood. Or sample the Reserve Leaf, a berry red that’s excellent for serving with moderately spicy Indian food.