Sonal Holland MW India’s first Master of Wine. (See Masters of Wine.) Her 10,000-word MW Research Paper: Awareness, attitude and usage of wine among Sec A urban Indian wine consumers. According to the WHO, per capita alcohol consumption in India has increased from 2.4 litres in 2005 to 5.7 litres in 2016 with 4.2 litres being consumed by men and 1.5 litres by women. “But compared to whisky consumption in India, wine has a long way to go,” Holland says.

SOHO wine club | Her SOHO Wine Club handles wine events held in India. Her eponymously named wine academy offers certified WSET wine courses and consultancy to the trade (Applicants must be above the legal drinking age in their city.) Her digital channel is ‘Sonal Holland Wine TV’. She has a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Institute of Hotel Management Dadar in Mumbai, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Mumbai University.

The Sonal Holland Wine Academy | This focuses on wine education and also offer a 360-degree suite of services to wine- and spirit-focused professionals, institutions and connoisseurs of wine. On the consumer side, the aim is to develop a culture of enjoying wine through the SoHo Wine Club, a subscription-based platform for oenophiles. The Sonal Holland Wine Academy’s insight of the Indian market enables it to plan, manage and optimise strategies to leverage and position the client brand in the country. Its marketing approach integrates communications, social media and outreach programs to build the brand’s reputation.

Beverage Consultation & Collaborations | The Sonal Holland Wine Academy’s combination of expertise, strong technical skills and market authority have established it as a sought after consultant and collaborator in the beverage space. Its bespoke innovative beverage strategies for the industry deliver impactful, profitable and award-winning results. From new product launches and product awareness strategies to retail solutions, business development and Indian market analysis, each solution is consumer-focused, original and effective, helping brands navigate the complexities of the Indian marketplace.

Wine programs for hospitality | The Sonal Holland Wine Academy creates wine programs for hotels, airlines and restaurants to increase sales and boost profitability. Using a focused and systemic approach to garner attention for wine in the F&B pie, it executes outcome-driven results. From selection of world class wines at competitive prices, with an eye on profitability, curating luxury bespoke wine events, tastings and masterclasses to monitoring inventory, systems and SOPs and training staff..

Market Research | In 2017, while working on the first edition of the “India Wine Insider”, the first comprehensive survey of the urban Indian wine consumer, Holland discovered that “the Indian drinker’s understanding of wine is limited. But, as awareness grows, so does consumption. Other than colour, there is very little awareness about other wine styles — names of regions and grape varieties remain under-developed cues.”

In 2018 Holland entered into a partnership with Wine Intelligence to launch Vinitrac India, a survey of Indian wine consumers that monitors and tracks the attitudes, behaviour and consumer relationships with wine in the country. ‘This will give stakeholders an in-depth insight into the psyche of the wine drinker, a first-of-its-kind effort for the Indian wine industry, Holland says, ‘Women represent an increasingly important market segment for the wine industry. As successful leaders breaking gender barriers, women are increasingly making wider lifestyle choices as do their global peers. They view wine as a classy, empowering, healthy beverage and are experiencing fewer cultural inhibitions when drinking wine in the presence of their family members or the society at large. The female wine drinkers in India are on par with male drinkers, on consumption frequency, propensity to spend on a bottle and attitudes towards wine drinking, drawing allegiance to the growing popularity of wine among female drinkers in India. Ladies are purchasing wine as often as men across all occasions with a propensity to spend marginally more than men on a bottle of wine.’


‘Thirteen New Masters of Wine’, World of Fine Wine 05 Sept 2016 (online).

‘Female wine drinkers in India are on par with male drinkers: India’s Master of Wine,’ (Last Updated at September 30, 2018).