Naturally Neat is What Nipha Is!

By Spiritz Desk
New Update
Naturally Neat is What Nipha Is!

It is often the vision that acts as the first step towards success, which is very true in the case of Ashok and Jyotsna Surwade, the owners of Nipha Winery in Nashik. Their vision is straightforward, enduring, and clear–to become India’s premier eco-friendly boutique winery. This is what propels them forward, guiding their commitment to sustainability and excellence as they continue to shape the narrative of the Nipha brand of wines.
At Nipha Winery, the couple ensures green practices and organic food science to make clean wines that are free of excess sulphite and other additives, preservatives or contaminants while being low in histamines.

Opposites attract. An Antarctic field microbiologist and a psychologist, both engaged in wildly different occupations, came together and decided to traverse their journey ahead as a couple. But that is not where the story ends. It has a further twist in the fact that while both shared their passion for nature and sustainability; the field they chose to further excel in these areas was winemaking.

Their inspiration to venture into wine production stemmed from their desire to connect with the land, promote eco-friendly practices, and craft products which would embody the serene beauty of their village, Niphad, located in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.


Another Road

Ashok Surwade, a native of Nashik, initially started his professional journey as an Antarctic researcher; specialising in the study of intestinal parasites in penguins and skuas (a group of predatory seabirds). However, taking a significant departure from the icy landscapes of Antarctica, Ashok, along with his wife Jyotsna, made a transformative decision to venture into the fascinating world of winemaking on their family land. As they entered the domain of viticulture, they converted their family homestead into a winery.

The tanks replaced the living room and the kitchen was repurposed into a laboratory. They have even crafted their own basket press, demonstrating a hands-on commitment to their craft, which comes across as a testament to their innovative resourcefulness. And what has led them to success is that they prioritise quality in their winemaking process. Ashok, who has been entirely self-taught in winemaking, views the winemaking process as a harmonious blend of art and science. The couple sought guidance from fellow winemakers in the region before embarking on their venture and now their excellence in the craft is palpable.

Vision for Sustainability

In the creation of their wines, the artisans behind ‘Nipha’ embrace a meticulous, small-batch approach; ensuring a hands-on involvement in every aspect of the winemaking process.

At their vineyards, it is not merely about producing wine but about shaping a passion that transforms each bottle into a masterful creation. The pursuit of quality stands as an unwavering pillar. “We leave no room for compromise when it comes to selecting the finest grapes. At our winery there is a continuous refinement of the selection process, ensuring the sourcing of the highest quality ingredients,” Ashok says.

Ethical Winemaking

The transition from established careers was challenging for the Surwades but the excitement of creating something unique aligned with their values is what fuelled their determination. Before venturing into something so new to them, both Ashok and Jyotsna conducted extensive research on wine regions globally with visits to Old World and New World areas.

They sought insights into the winemaking processes, vineyard management and international standards so as to then reflect these in their product and packaging.


Interestingly, their diverse backgrounds in microbiology and psychology equipped the couple with analytical and people skills, which are crucial for winemaking and hospitality. “Continuous learning, experimentation, and a ‘persist for 100 to 1,000 days’ policy built the confidence to enter the wine industry,” Jyotsna explains.

Nipha Winery, situated in Niphad, adheres to eco-friendly vineyard practices, emphasising ethical winemaking and sensible pricing. From grape procurement to winemaking, each step in their production process is guided by their commitment to international standards, sustainability, and a passion for perfection.

Marketing Mix

The Surwades have also invested a lot of effort into marketing that involves a focus on global presence, storytelling, and creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

All these had paid rich dividends with the response being very positive; attracting guests from metropolitan cities and international travellers. “Our wines cater to a diverse audience, from seasoned wine enthusiasts appreciating ultra-premium quality to those new to the world of wine,” Ashok elaborates. Anticipating further growth in the scale and scope of the wine business in Nashik with increased recognition globally, the couple sees the region becoming a prominent destination for wine tourism.


Challenges & Opportunities

Road to entrepreneurship is seldom smooth. That is what the Surwades have realised too. In their winemaking business they continue to face challenges concerning adherence to ethical practices, sustainability, and dealing with market dynamics.

Regulatory compliance and global competition are additional concerns for wine producers like them. And though having come far from the exciting landscape of the Antarctica and the mysterious inner workings of the mind, the Surwades are more than pleased with their winemaking venture.

Currently operating with a capacity of 10,000 litres per year, they are all set to expand their market reach, enhance global presence and explore opportunities to introduce new wine brands in the future.