Born in Nashik city, brought up at Lasalgaon (urban town known for Onions and Grapes, world’s largest onion market) Vikrant has been living with his family in a Farm which majorly grows grapes and onions. He has been involved in every farm activity with his grandfather Changdevrao Holkar who is a very well known personality in onion operations in India. Vikrant’s father Kishor Holkar holds a Bachelors degree in Agriculture. Farming is more like a passion than business for him. He is one of the 1st Indian farmers to grow wine variety grapes and is ambitious enough to experiment. He has been a part of India’s 1st raison production and tried his hand at growing different table and wine varieties in different growing styles. Holkar group of farmers has always been foremost in supplying high quality grapes to all the major wineries from the date of their establishment (Chandon, Sula, Pernod Ricard, Grower Zampa, York etc). As they say that 90% of wine is made in the field and the rest at a winery, growing grapes is the most significant part of wine-making.
K.C. Holkar and his farmer colleagues have established India’s 5th winery, Vinsura winery. After Indage and Sula winery, Vinsura is the 1st winery at Vinchur wine park with a boutique approach. Vinsura inflicts a clear vision of producing only quality wines. As Vikrant has been involved in all the operations with his father from a young age, he has always been inspired to take it up as a career. He completed his Graduation in Foreign Trade from Nashik. As there are no wine courses available in India, he decided to study in New Zealand. He chose NZ over Europe (old wine producing countries) as he noticed that NZ being one of the youngest in wine production is very popular all over the world, also considering that India is also taking its baby steps towards becoming a wine producing country. In 2009, he successfully completed his PG in Wine Marketing from Napier, New Zealand, during his stay in NZ he worked part time after school at a supermarket handling wine and beer department, coming from a middle-class family the work not only supported repay his course fee (bank loan) and living expenses, but also gave him the great opportunity to learn about the consumer behavior and liking.
To experience the process of production in New Zealand, Vikrant worked for two harvests (2010 and 2011) with Indevin winery based in the famous Marlborough region known for its Sauvignon Blanc variety and improved his cellar skills. Indevin is one of the largest contract wine producer of New Zealand with modern wine equipments and programmed software. Vikrant was very attracted by the wine tourism of NZ and made the most out of the stay in New Zealand by visiting and experiencing many wineries and wine regions. After returning to India, he was invited by Rahuri Agriculture University, which is the oldest agricultural university in Maharashtra, to hold a wine seminar for the people from various agricultural sectors of India and change their notion about wine being just an alcoholic drink. He was also awarded for his achievements in New Zealand. Vikrant decided to do his next harvest (2012) with a small boutique winery in a completely new region, and so he chose A. A. Badenhorst winery in Swartland region of South Africa. The winery produces a small amount of very high quality handcrafted wines, with old school wine making techniques. This was a great learning experiencefor him. Vikrant wishes to continue experiencing harvest in different countries, which will help learn about new wine regions and spread information about the upcoming wine industry in India. In 2012, he had applied for Erasmus Mundus (European Union) Scholarship for Masters in Int. Vintage. After going through lot of selection procedure, he was chosen for the scholarship and was the only Indian among the three students from Asia who were selected for this scholarship. He completed the B1.1 level from Alliance Franciase, Nashik. Vikrant’s dream finally grew into reality when he formed Red Grapes and decided to work full time for the promotion of Indian wine industry with help of his uncle, Mr. Jagdish HOLKAR ( Chairman IGPB - Indian Grape Processing Board and Chairman AIWA- All India Wine Association)
- Rashmin PATANI
(Editor - TOPPF)