“Beer is made by men, wine by God.”
Experience the magic of winemaking and take off on a vineyard tour, neither in the Napa Valley nor in Bordeaux or Tuscany, but right here in India, for a taste of first-rate locally-produced wines. Indulge yourself in an immersive experience that takes you through grape harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification, aging, and finally bottling of your favourite wine labels. Get set to see, swirl, smell, sip, and swallow.
Nestled in the emerald green Western Ghats, the Sula Vineyards in Nashik are pioneers of winemaking in India. Say hi(c) to their hourly day tours across picturesque vineyards that end with a tasting of six stellar wines from the cellar. As you make your way out, make sure to pick a few bottles for friends, and then a couple more to enjoy at home. You may also want to come back for Sulafest – the music, wine, and food carnival held in February each year – is a place for wine lovers to mingle.
Not in a mood to get back to the grind yet? Uncork the option of staying at Beyond by Sula, a luxurious vineyard property, where vino-stocked rooms offer pristine lake views and serenity aplenty. Explore the vicinity on a bicycle, or a take a languorous stroll to get a glimpse of local life. A dip in the infinity pool, a glorious view of the sunset from open air decks, fresh meals tossed with farm-grown organic produce, and a glass of wine in hand – if this doesn’t entice you enough, little else can.
#DSSCTopTip: Don’t miss the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses by the approved programme provider, a great first step towards becoming a wine connoisseur.
Hourly tours & tastings are held from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm every day.
Pick up the phone: +91 253 302 7777
Lose Wallet Weight: INR 375 for vineyard tour and tasting of 6 wines
Fratelli offers end-to-end day tours of their vineyards, saving the trouble of making railway reservations or driving up to their property. Book with them and board an air-conditioned coach from Pune to begin the tour, but first, savour a specially packed sumptuous breakfast. Upon arrival in Akluj (Solapur), you’ll be taken to the vineyards at Motewadi and Garwar, and from there to the winery and the cellar. A hearty lunch follows a tasting of two of each of their white and red wines, and one rosé. While there, do get your hands on the just launched J’NOON range of wines, a collaboration between acclaimed French vintner Jean-Charles Boisset and Fratelli Wines. Unwind with tea and cookies, and a splendid view before departure.
Planning a longer wine-cation? The weekend getaway package offers a bottle of bubbly upon arrival and a stay at their idyllic vineyards. The mindfully curated experience brings along a tasting of popular Fratelli wines (made under the expertise of legendary winemaker Piero Masi) – Cabernet Franc Shiraz, Sparkling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Sangiovese – with accompaniments. A traditional Maharashtrian meal follows the tasting, with a promise of more wine on the morrow.
#DSSCTopTip: Explore the fabulous Rent-A-Vineyard option for a bigger celebration (ideal for a group of 12 adults).
Pick up the phone: +91 7798418593
Lose Wallet Weight: INR 2200 for adults and INR 1000 for children from 7 – 16 yrs.
A short drive from Bangalore, Nandi Hills is home to the picturesque Grover Vineyards. Lush green hills and dense forests abundant with wildlife add charm to a visit here. The day tour of the winery begins at the crushing unit and includes lunch and a tasting of five wine varietals. An exclusive grape stomping experience can be arranged for a group of ten or more visitors, at an additional cost of INR 500 per person. A decadent lunch buffet is laid out following the wine tasting. One can even visit their Nashik vineyards in Maharashtra.
#DSSCTopTip: Check for photography permissions as some parts of the tour prohibit it.
Tours and tastings start 10:30 am onwards.
Pick up the phone: +91 9901636346 (Bangalore), +91 9272232358 (Nashik)
Lose Wallet Weight: INR 850 per head from Tuesday to Friday. INR 1000 per head on Saturdays and Sundays.
York vineyards in Dindori region of Nashik are flanked by a hill on one side and a lake on another, providing breathtaking views of the Gangapur dam backwaters. York combines modern Australian & South African winemaking practices with a hint of French influence. The red soil facilitates the flourishing of grape varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. Oenophiles will be glad to note that the friendly team at York even offers a tasting of the entire range of wines besides the five and seven wine tasting options, complete with cheese and light nibbles. Sign up for a guided tour of the winery to see the winemaking process.
Tours and tastings start 12 pm onwards.
Pick up the phone: +91 9657728070
Lose Wallet Weight: INR 150 for a 5-wine tasting and tour, INR 250 for a 7-wine tasting and tour.
Featured Image Courtesy: hafermanntravel.com