Sonal Holland MW

Sonal Holland MW is a celebrated wine personality who has been quoted by
media house CNN as “the indomitable force that is determined to make India love wine.

Sonal’s journey to “one in a billion”

What does it take to earn the most respected title in the world of wine—the Master of Wine?



Let’s put this into perspective. Statistically speaking, there are less than 400 Master of Wine (MW) around the world since the institute was founded in 1955, with the objective of creating the highest echelon of wine professionals. Whereas, nearly 5,000 people have conquered Mount Everest, since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first scaled the treacherous peak in 1953.

The journey to becoming a MW is one of grit, passion, commitment, stupendous hard work, and of course, a lot of wine. The limited availability of wine and tasting opportunities in India posed a real challenge to Sonal, who was perceived to be at a disadvantage when compared to her global peers.

To immerse oneself into the world of wines requires significant capital outlay, dedication of time and a great deal of self-motivation. Sonal’s steely resolve and dedication to master the vinous world took her across the globe to meet viticulturists and winemakers, attend trade fairs and attend numerous tastings to develop an astute palate.

Travelling the globe on this arduous journey kept Sonal away from home for long stretches of time, but her family’s unwavering love and support kept her on the path. As a woman, a wife and a mother, this sacrifice weighed a lot on her mind, but it also strengthened her resolution to become a MW, so that her sacrifices wouldn’t go in vain.

The MW examination is no doddle either; it is mostly a self-study program where you must be deeply knowledgeable about viticulture, winemaking, packaging, distribution, regulation, marketing and the global business of wine, assessed through a theory examination.

The practical exams include, 36 wines tasted blind over 3 days, where you are required to identify the grape varieties, country and region of origin, winemaking, style, quality and commercial potential, a notoriously difficult exam to pass.

For the rare few that pass this rigorous examination in the controlled number of attempts, the next stage is an in-depth 10,000-word research paper which is ‘a rigorous interpretation’ of a specific wine subject. Sonal’s research paper was on a topic close to her heart; Understanding Awareness, Attitude and Usage of Wine among Urban Indian Wine Consumers.

“The journey will seriously try your patience, demanding commitment and sacrifice at every stage, but in turn, will reward you with a tremendous sense of gratification, pride, credibility and confidence,”


Invited to speak at global idea’s exchange platform -TEDx, hear Sonal articulate her fascinating journey to becoming one in over a billion people.

Invited to speak at global idea’s exchange platform, TEDx

hear Sonal articulate her fascinating journey to becoming one in over a billion people.


Garnering accolades over the years for her effervescent personality and encyclopedic knowledge, Sonal is an award-winning wine broadcaster. Follow her wine discoveries as she documents her journey on the pioneering YouTube Channel, ‘Sonal Holland Wine TV’ that’s dedicated to wine education and entertainment.

Awarded by the Digital Women Awards in 2015 for its innovative content and the Best Wine Vlog of 2016 by the Food Bloggers Association of India, the channel Sonal Holland Wine TV has grown exponentially since its launch in 2014. With its authoritative yet approachable voice featuring wine education programmes, wine reviews, wine stories and world-class wine experiences, our stories will enthuse you into the fascinating world of grapes and terroir.

Follow Sonal’s travel discoveries and wine explorations on social media

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