Imagine gorgeous vistas, peace and quiet, a delicious glass of wine — and if you go in the right season — cool temperatures and skies canopied with dark monsoon clouds with the sun sometimes playing peek-a-boo. Did I paint an enticing enough picture? In the last few decades, Nashik, arguably the wine capital of India, has seen quality wineries up the ante in wine tourism experience. From wine tastings, vineyard and winery tours, to comfortable and luxurious stays, Nashik is a three-hour drive from Mumbai and can truly offer a great wine weekend getaway. Also, along with Nashik, we’ve thrown in vineyards in some other cities as well. So, pack a duffel and take off.
Sula Vineyards is the biggest winery in India and also the most hooked up in terms of a complete offering. The Source is a fabulous place to stay and the winery tasting room has just the right vibe to spend an evening and taste wines from India and around the world. The winery’s multiple restaurants offer everything from Italian to Indian and don’t disappoint. The Beyond Sky villas are absolutely the best places to stay if you are in the mood to splurge a little.
The Source Grenache Rosé
- Pale coral hue
- White peach with citrus notes
- Tropical fruits on the nose
- Dry on the palate with a luxuriant mouth feel
Sula Rasa Cabernet Sauvignon
- Aromas of dark berries, spices, blackcurrants, black olives, and tobacco
- Good structure and smooth tannins
York Winery is just a few minutes on foot from Sula. Winemaker Kailash Gurnani, who runs the winery, makes some of India’s best wines. The winery offers tastings and has a restaurant that offers local and Indian grub. It’s peaceful, with uninterrupted views of the lakes around, letting you soak in all that zen.
York Chenin Blanc
- Semi-dry with aromas of tropical fruits
- Good structure and complexity
- Balanced acidity and long finish
York Sauvignon Blanc
- Complex tropical flavours, herbaceous and grassy characters
- Medium-bodied on the palate
It’s a six hours’ drive from Mumbai to Akluj, where the winery is situated. But don’t let that deter you. Not only does the winery make fantastic wines, but the rooms, just four or five of them, offer an old-world charm. The food is excellent, and if you take all the rooms, the kitchen and its staff are all for you. The winery has an intimate tasting table in the barrel room, a great place to sip on wines and nibble on some cheese. Make sure you make it to the viewpoint on top of their vineyards which is ideal for, well, more wine drinking.
- Green apple, white pear and stone fruit flavours of Chardonnay
- Lime, lemongrass, white pepper, jasmine and herbaceous flavours of Sauvignon Blanc
Ò Fratelli Sette
- Fusion of the concentration of Cab Sauv with fine, elegant floral notes of Sangiovese
- Refined notes of wood add a vanilla flavour typical of French oak barrels
SOMA WINE VILLAGE
Soma Wine Village is an expansive property, housing lush rooms, suites and villas, conference rooms, event spaces, plush lawns for weddings and parties, two smashing restaurants and a hookah bar. The wine tours are detailed and the tasting room is classically done in mahogany, meant for long hours of mulling over notes and aromas. For those who want to do something fun, try grape stomping. Or walk over to Mrs Pai’s cheese farm close by for a variety of fresh cheese made with homegrown herbs (the mozzarella and feta are heavenly).
In the outskirts of Bangalore lies one of India’s oldest wineries — Grover Vineyards. They have just had a makeover and the tasting room is a great place to visit.
Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection White
- Quintessence of peach, honey, and dry apricot aromas
- Floral notes and hints of vanilla
Ó Chêne Grande Réserve
- Dark fruit aromas of blackberry, currant and ripe plums
- Dark fruit flavours with nuances of vanilla and cinnamon on the palate
- Great structure
- Well-balanced tannins
About 45 minutes before getting into Nashik off the highway is Vallonné Vineyards. This is a tiny boutique winery that is run by a very passionate family. They have a few rustic rooms here and an outpost of Pune’s famed Malaka Spice restaurant as well. The winery is eager to create a healthy break from the city, so expect no internet and sketchy phone connections. What you will definitely get are breathtaking landscapes, great food and, of course, good wine. Ö
- Enticing notes of red bell pepper, cherry, plum, melons, and berries
- Dry on the palate
- Crisp acidity
ÒVallonné Vin de Passerillage
- Produced from hand-picked, sun-dried grapes to ensure the highest concentration of sugars
- Flavours of honey, vanilla, melons, citrus, and apricot.