Sonal Holland MW

Sonal Holland MW

Date an MW: 2016
Based in: India

Member profile

Biography

Master of Wine Sonal Holland is India's most accomplished wine professional. The first Indian to be bestowed with the world's most prestigious wine title, she has won numerous awards on her incredible journey to become the only Master of Wine in a nation of 1.3 billion people. A domain expert on the business of wine & spirits in India, Sonal is passionate about drawing global attention to the country's young and exciting beverage industry. Her vast cultural knowledge has made her a sought-after strategic consultant for international brands seeking a foothold in India's complex marketplace. Her entrepreneurial ventures include the SoHo Wine Club, where her refreshing approach to demystify wines has endeared her to budding oenophiles in a land of whisky lovers. In a short span of two years, SoHo Wine Club, a subscription-based platform, has emerged as the country's most influential wine society that curates a fabulous collection of wines and experiences for the most discerning palates in the country. She has also founded the Sonal Holland Wine Academy, India’s foremost institution offering certified WSET wine and spirit courses, which has completed nearly a decade in the business of education. Sonal's professional achievements include her role as the former corporate head of wine and beverages at home-grown luxury hospitality conglomerate, ITC Hotels. Currently, she is the Wine Buyer and Consultant for luxury food retail chain Foodhall and is also the Director of the wine program for the rapidly expanding restaurant group, Gourmet Investments. An ardent supporter of the local wine industry, Sonal has spearheaded two groundbreaking initiatives. India Wine Insider is the country's most comprehensive survey on the urban Indian wine consumer. An initiative spearheaded by Sonal Holland MW in 2017, this research-backed knowledge paper gives an invaluable glimpse into the awareness, attitudes and usage of wine among domestic wine drinkers. The India Wine Insider report uncovers prevailing consumer realities and identifies future growth opportunities beneficial for the Indian, international wine trade and hoteliers to make informed decisions. India Wine Awards, powered by Sonal Holland MW, is the most authoritative wine competition in the nation, led by India's most qualified wine professionals. The inaugural edition of India Wine Awards in 2017, established itself as the ultimate consumer-guide to ranking the best wines, domestic and international, available in the country. An award-winning wine broadcaster, Sonal Holland's pioneering digital channel Sonal Holland Wine TV, dedicated to wine education and entertainment, has been awarded by the Digital Women Awards in 2015 for its innovative content. A prolific wine commentator, her columns have been published in distinguished publications. She is much in demand as a judge and has represented the country at prestigious global wine competitions such as the Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Concours Mondial du Bruxelles and the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition. Since the day she embarked on this incredible journey, Sonal has been a role model for women, shattering the glass ceiling in the AlcoBev industry in India. Her exceptional contribution to India's wine industry has been widely recognised. She has been featured among the Top Women in Wine by the Indian Wine Academy. Luxury business magazine Blackbook has named her as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Indian Luxury for three consecutive years—2015, 2016 and 2017. She has also been featured among BlackBook's Top 100 Most Influential People in Indian Luxury in 2016 and 2017. Sonal was recently conferred the ‘Wine Personality of the Year’ award by India's leading food writers' association, the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI). In addition to the Master of Wine title, Sonal holds the Level 4 Diploma in Wines from the London-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust, a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Institute of Hotel Management in Mumbai and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. More recently, Sonal has been conferred the Official Ambassador title by the German VDP wine association and the Bourgogne Wine Board with the charge of promoting their wines in India. Sonal shares her love of wine with her British husband Andrew, who is a high-profile Indian financial market expert. Their 9 year-old daughter, Rianna, is her greatest joy and pride.