Narmada Winery was established in Rappahannock County, VA in 2009. Owners Pandit and Sudha Patil had a long-standing dream to own a vineyard one day.
The couple arrived in the US from Mumbai, India, some 40 years ago to further their education. Pandit pursued studies in engineering at University of New Mexico and at Carnegie-Mellon in Pennsylvania.
At that time in India, marriages were still often arranged by the families. As a condition of the marriage, Sudha insisted that Pandit provide her with the education necessary to become a dentist.
Throughout their married life, Pandit and Sudha traveled the globe and their passion for fine wine was kindled. They eventually settled down in northern Virginia after Pandit had earned his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. It was then Sudha was able to pursue her dental studies, earning a BS in chemistry at George Mason, her DDS from Georgetown and a certificate in endodontics and Masters in oral biology from the University of Maryland.
Pandit’s career as an engineer and Sudha’s as endodontist were both very rewarding. The couple had two children, Susheel and Prema, now happily married and living in nearby Maryland.
As years passed, Pandit and Sudha started to plan for their eventual retirement. At this time, Virginia was just starting to be known as a quality wine-producing region. At the couple’s 29th anniversary dinner at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, the plan to plant a vineyard took shape. On this visit to Rappahannock, Pandit and Sudha discovered a gently rolling piece of land on which to build their dream.
The Patils brought in Pat Peacock from Virginian Tech and noted Virginia viticulturalist Lucie Morton, who performed climate and soil studies and advised the couple on which varietals would thrive in these circumstances. The first vineyard was planted in 2004. Several more acres were planted the following year and today has reached 20 acres.
Sudha and Pandit at first intended only to grow the fruit to provide to other Virginia vintners. But Sudha’s curiosity about the winemaking process grew, and she began reading everything she could on how to vinify wine. As her interest increased, she commenced studies with Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, one of Virginia’s premier winemakers. Today Sudha refers to Jim as “the guru of Virginia wine.”
Meticulous work in the vineyard including such labor-intensive techniques as cane pruning brought forth banner harvests in 2007 and 2008. Today, Sudha continues to closely monitor the vines throughout the growing season. She scouts the vineyards regularly to ensure that the fruit is healthy and sprays only as needed to prevent pests and other problems.
Minimal intervention is part of the sustainable farming philosophy that Pandit and Sudha hold dear.
The Patils began construction on their own winery facility in 2009. Consulting enologist Tom Payette was brought on board to guide Sudha through her first few crushes. Tom has remarked that because of her background in chemistry, she quickly became adept at the lab work necessary to create a flawless wine. Tom retains his position as consultant to the winery today, and assists Sudha with winemaking and blending trials regularly.
The combination of art and science is a given in making wine. Sudha Patil’s competence in both areas has made Narmada Winery something special right from the start. With attention to using the best quality grapes, diligent sorting of the berries, and maintaining proper chemistry of acidity and pH, Sudha’s medical background ensures clean processing of the fruit from harvest through the aging process.
Sudha’s knowledge of complex spices acquired during her childhood in India enable her to coax latent flavors from her grapes that perhaps would be overlooked by others. Her focus is to create graceful wines that are a true reflection of the fruit and to produce Virginia wines of the highest possible quality.
This goal has been evident even as Narmada Winery released its first wines to critical acclaim. Gold medals were awarded to Narmada Primita in 2009, and to Narmada Mom – the winery’s signature blend – as well as to Narmada Viognier in 2010. In the following years, Narmada wines have achieved more than 40 gold medals in national and international competitions.
Looking to the future, Pandit and Sudha Patil want to remain a small, boutique-sized winery, producing no more than 5,000 cases a year. It remains essential to Sudha to keep her hands-on approach to Narmada wines with fruit-forward flavors taking the lead and a commitment to the finest quality attainable in Virginia wine.
Narmada Time Line
A silver medal was awarded to Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011 at the East Meets West Wine Competition.
Silver medals were awarded at the Finger Lakes Intl Wine Competition to Narmada YASH-VIR 2011, DREAM RESERVE 2011, MALBEC 2010 and ALLURE 2009.
Sudha Patil is interviewed about her support of the Commonwealth Quality Alliance, a state-wide organization devoted to shining a spotlight on the highest quality wines of Virginia and talks about the challenges of the 2015 harvest.
At the Riverside International Wine Competition, Narmada YASH-VIR 2011 took silver.
A gold medal went to Narmada MALBEC 2010 at the Tasters Guild Wine Competition. Silvers were awarded to CABERNET FRANC 2011 and MERLOT 2011.
Narmada Winery received its first PLATINUM award at the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition for Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011.
The Virginia Wine Lovers Wine Classic awarded gold to Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011 and MERLOT 2011. Silver medals went to DREAM FESTIVAL 2011 and MOM 2011.
Narmada YASH-VIR 2011 took gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and PETIT VERDOT 2011 was awarded silver.
Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition awarded a gold medal to Narmada YASH-VIR 2011.
At the Sommellier Challenge International Wine Competition, Narmada YASH-VIR 2011 won gold.
Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2011 took Double Gold at the Indy International Wine Competition.
A gold medal was awarded to Narmada CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2011 at the Dixie Classic Wine Competition.
Our April Winemaker Dinner was such a lot of fun! Catered by Kumar Iyer, guests were treated to scrumptious, innovative Indian cuisine paired with all-time favorite Narmada wines!
Narmada REFLECTION 2013 won silver at the American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition.
At the Grand Harvest Awards, Narmada REFLECTION 2013 took a gold and BEST IN CLASS award.
The Indian Festival called HOLI is about all about welcoming spring. On March 21, we celebrated by throwing colored rose petals out on the lawn!
Narmada Winery is featured on Brightest Young Things DC.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe named Narmada Winery’s Yash-Vir 2010, a blended red table wine, to the Governor’s Case at the 2015 Governor’s Cup Wine Competition Gala on February 24, 2015. The Governor’s Case consists of the twelve highest-scoring wines in the competition. Narmada’s red blend Melange 2010 was awarded a gold medal as well. This brings Narmada’s total number of gold medals to more than 40 over the past five years.
Narmada Winery owners Pandit and Sudha Patil were surprised and ecstatic to receive this award. “Being recognized at the Governor’s Cup Competition is quite an honor. This is a giant step for us, and will hopefully get the word out that Narmada produces wines that can stand with the best in the Commonwealth,” says Sudha, who is also the winemaker at Narmada. “We love it when new guests discover our tasting room with its international flair and then are even more delighted by the quality and depth of the wines they find here.”
Narmada also earned silver medals for Petit Verdot, Tannat and Cabernet Franc Reserve.
Narmada Winery is featured in Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine January 2015 issue. See page 70!
A gold medal went to Narmada YASH-VIR 2011 at the San Diego Intl Wine Competition and silver was awarded to PETIT VERDOT 2011.
Narmada MOM 2011 took the gold at the Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition and DREAM RESERVE 2011 and TANNAT 2010 were awarded silvers.
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition awarded silver to Narmada YASH-VIR 2011.
From Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine’s Grand Harvest Awards, new Gold Medals for Narmada REFLECTION 2011, PETIT VERDOT 2011 and MERLOT 2011.
In December, Narmada wines were served at a US Department of State cultural exchange program featuring the film The Hundred Foot Journey, followed by a panel discussion on international relations.
Gold for our raspberry-infused Chambourcin wine, Narmada PRIMITA 2010, was awarded by the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition.
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association awarded Gold to Narmada MERLOT 2011, a wine club exclusive.
Narmada MIDNIGHT 2012 took Gold at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition. “An uncommonly artful chambourcin, dense with plummy fruit on a frame built to last.” Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 and Narmada YASH-VIR 2011 took Silvers.
Virginia Wine Lovers Magazine loves Narmada! We received Gold Medals for CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2011, DREAM FESTIVAL CUVEE 2011, MELANGE 2010, MOM 2010, and YASH-VIR 2010. Silvers went to Narmada ALLURE 2009, Narmada LOTUS 2010, Narmada MIDNIGHT 2011, and Narmada PRIMITA 2010.
Narmada wines are proudly poured at a US Department of State luncheon hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in honor of Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India on September 30th.
Narmada hosts the JW Marriott Downtown WDC staff for a wine immersion seminar on local wines. See the video! Narmada wines are part of the Wine Ambassador program for the month of July.
Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 achieved a Silver Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year.
A Gold Medal was garnered by Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2009 at the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition. Silvers went to Narmada CABERNET FRANC 2011, Narmada wine club exclusive MERLOT 2011, and Narmada YASH-VIR 2010.
Jordan Wright of Whisk and Quill visits Narmada Winery.
Tasters Guild International Wine Competition awarded Gold to Narmada’s wine club exclusive, PETIT VERDOT 2011. Silver medals were earned by Narmada ALLURE 2009, Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2009, Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010, Narmada DREAM FESTIVAL CUVEE, AND Narmada wine club exclusive MERLOT 2011,
In May, Narmada MOM and DREAM were the exclusive wines served at the 26th Annual Woodrow Wilson House Garden Party, a benefit for the only Presidential Museum in Washington, DC.
At the Riverside International Wine Competition, Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010 received the Chairman’s Award/Unanimous Gold: BEST IN CLASS and was written up by Judge David Stevens, Master Sommelier: “Ultra varietal, bright red fruit nose; vanilla/oak, slight green leaf mid-palate; long varietal finish; great balance and crisp. The poster child for cool climate Cabernet Franc.” Narmada ALLURE 2009 also received a Silver Medal.
Silver Medal winners at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition include Narmada MOM 2011, Narmada DREAM 2011, Narmada CABERNET FRANC 2011, and Narmada MIDNIGHT 2012.
Virginia Governor’s Cup Silver Medals went to Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010, Narmada MELANGE 2010, and Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011.
Silver Medals were awarded to Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010, Narmada MIDNIGHT 2012, and Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011 at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
At the Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition, Narmada took Silver Medals for Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010, Narmada MIDNIGHT 2012, and Narmada PETIT VERDOT 2011.
The Commonwealth Quality Alliance awards its seal of approval to Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2010, MELANGE 2010, PETIT VERDOT 2011, and YASH-VIR 2011.
Gold Medals are awarded to Narmada GULABI Rosé and Narmada MIDNIGHT at the Dixie Classic Wine Competition. Narmada DREAM receives a Silver Medal.
Narmada MIDNIGHT and GULABI attain Gold Medals at the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition. Narmada DREAM takes Silver.
At the Indy International Wine Competition, Narmada MERLOT, a Maharaja Club Exclusive, and YASH-VIR receive Gold Medals.
Gold Medals are awarded to Narmada VIOGNIER and Narmada REFLECTION at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Founder and wine critic Anthony Dias Blue declares “In the last year or two I have been extremely impressed with the huge advances in quality being made by Virginia wines. In my own tastings and at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, wines from Virginia have been consistently among the best. In blind tastings, as evidenced by the stellar showing of Narmada…the best wines compare favorably with the best of California and other western regions.”
Narmada YASH-VIR, a Merlot dominant Bordeaux-style blend, takes Gold at the Winemakers Challenge International Wine Competition. Narmada CABERNET FRANC RESERVE is named Best Cabernet Franc in Show.
Narmada Winery is featured in Asian Fortune Magazine, your source for all things Asian American: Indian Couple Mixes East with West in Vineyard.
Narmada is featured in Winery Weddings in Virginia. (Spring/Summer 2013)
Narmada VIOGNIER, CABERNET FRANC RESERVE, YASH-VIR, and TANNAT are certified by the Commonwealth Quality Alliance. Narmada is one of the first 14 wineries in the state to be certified.
Narmada CABERNET FRANC wins Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.
Narmada Winery is lauded in Northern Virginia Magazine. (Oct 2012)
Plots of Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Malbec are planted, bringing total vineyard size to just over 20 acres.
Indy International Wine Competition honors Narmada MELANGE with a Double Gold, and CABERNET FRANC achieves a Gold Medal.
Gold is awarded to Narmada TANNAT at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition.
Sudha Patil discusses Narmada ALLURE with Virginia Wine Lover Magazine.
Pandit Patil retires from a career in the US Department of Energy in order to manage the winery full-time.
Narmada VIOGNIER takes Gold at the Indy International Wine Competition and International Eastern Wine Competition.
Washingtonian publishes Great Day Trips to Virginia Wineries.
Narmada MOM, the winery’s signature white wine, is honored with a Concordance Gold, and Narmada GULABI Rosé and PRIMITA win Gold at Wines of the South Competition.
Hagarty on Wine features Narmada on his blog.
Wine About Virginia posts about Narmada.
Narmada REFLECTION, a dry Chambourcin, takes Gold at the Riverside International Wine Competition.
Narmada MIDNIGHT achieves a Gold Medal at the Finger Lakes Wine Competition.
Narmada Winery appears in the Northern Virginia Daily. (Aug 2010)
Narmada Winery MOM and VIOGNIER bring home the Gold at the Wines of the South Competition.
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visits the winery to award a development grant to the Patils.
Virginia Wine Time blogs about Narmada.
A Gold Medal is awarded to Narmada PRIMITA at the World Wine Championships (BTI).
The Grand Opening Celebration of Narmada Winery is held November 20th – 22nd, to coincide with the Indian festival Diwali.
French and American oak barrels are acquired from Demptos, Mercier and Nadalie, among others.
Four variable capacity and six fixed capacity stainless steel tanks are purchased.
A Scharfenberger Europress arrives and is set on the newly constructed crushpad.
A custom-designed winery and tasting room takes shape through the collaborative efforts of Sudha Patil, Tom Payette and architect Dick Manuel.
Despite a summer hail storm, Narmada vineyards produce an exciting 44 tons of fruit. Sudha and Pandit keep enough grapes to produce their first vintage (vinified at a neighboring facility) and sell the remainder to other local wineries.
Acclaimed winemaking consultant Tom Payette comes on board to assist Sudha Patil with her initial vintages.
Experimental plots of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted.
The Patils enjoy their first harvest: 14 tons of grapes are hand-picked from the vineyard.
Sudha Patil participates in winemaking classes taught by Virginia notable Jim Law, encompassing vineyard management, white winemaking, and red winemaking.
The Patil home is completed, allowing Sudha and Pandit to participate in and monitor the growth of their vineyard on a daily basis. The Pavilion facing the pond is also constructed at this time.
More grape varieties are cultivated and the vineyard grows to 3 acres of Chambourcin, 2.5 acres of Chardonel, and 1.5 acres of Traminette.
Noted viticulture consultant Lucie Morton works with the Patils on laying out the vineyard and selecting appropriate varietals.
The first vineyard is planted – two acres of Vidal Blanc grapes.
Narmada’s barn is constructed and a large pond is created in the landscape.
The 51-acre Amissville property is purchased by Sudha and Pandit Patil following their visit to Rappahannock County to dine at The Inn at Little Washington for their 30th wedding anniversary.