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Vines are thought to have existed in India as far back as the Indus Civilisation around 4000 BC. However the first evidence of wine production is around 1500 BC during the Vedic Period. Since then wine production and consumption has fluctuated depending on the ruler. However, it seems the majority of rulers themselves are recorded as having consumed a grape fermented product.

Prohibition has been introduced and repealed many times over the last few thousand years: most recently, prohibition was introduced in 1950 in some states and only since 1998 have all states revoked the statutes outlawing alcohol.

Due to the size of the country there are many different topographies and climates - from the cooler mountainous parts in the north such as Punjab and Kashmir - to the hotter, flatter regions of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south. Thanks to the very hot summers and the devastating monsoons, vineyards are generally planted at height, ranging from 200 meters in Karnataka to 1000 meters in Kashmir.

Although there are many indigenous varieties of grapes, the grape Thompson Seedless, commonly found in the US, is the most widely planted. However, top producers, often with European or American consultants, have more recently planted varieties similar to France with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Shiraz.