Last Updated: July 23, 2018 Sonam Dave
Never relate wine to drinking but relate it to experiencing…living a moment with panache. The moment that will linger in your mind and taste buds for a lifetime, if well spent around a proper company and setting. Each bottle of wine; whether red, white, rose or sparkling, inherits an artistically carved out code of conduct for itself, that has to be obeyed by every server as well as the relisher to achieve its perfect taste and feel. For a wine is a very sensitive art of work, for which everything matters; the right climate, the right place, the right time even the right glassware. To borrow a quote of the famous wine merchant; Allan Sichel – “Wine is a living thing. It is made, not only of grapes and yeasts, but of skill and patience. When drinking it remember that to the making of that wine has gone, not only the labor and care of years, but the experience of centuries.”
Wine drinking culture in India is still in its nonage. But looking at people’s advancing affection for adaptation and alteration there are many vineyards and wineries that have emerged in the market since last ten years. And that is how the wine tourism has gained popularity and extended its hand to the passionate wine lovers as well as to the newcomers by accompanying them in their tasteful journey of discovering their palate for this fermented grape juice. While the pretty views of the vineyards provide the perfect surroundings for the beginners to fall into the long lasting relationship with the wines.
As the relisher is to sip, swirl and swallow, similarly the server is to cut the foil, poke the cork and pour the wine. Learn everything about it, along with the processing while holidaying at the charming vineyards, tasting their finest of the wines with speared cheese and cherries by their side.
Tracking down the best of the best vineyards in India we have prepared a list of 10 places to visit if you have thirst for tasting a good wine:
1. Sula Vineyard- Nashik, Maharashtra
Established in the year 1999, Sula is fairly known to be the most popular brand of wine in India, who took pride in being an Indian. Stretched across 1800 acres of land on the hills of Gangapur in Nashik, the stimulating vine-gardens of Sula provide the perfect backdrop for your wine tour and tasting session at India’s first tasting room ‘The Tasting Room’. To gratify your growling stomach, they have two restaurants; one is Italian ‘Little Italy by Sula’ furnished with wood fired pizza oven supplying the authentic smoky flavored pizzas and the other is ‘Soma by Sula’ that serves luscious Indian delicacies paired with the famous wines of Sula. For a luxurious stay at Sula, there is a handsomely comfortable villa called ‘Beyond’ that overlooks the serene waters of Gangapur Lake. After being the introducer of the grape varietals such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel to India, this enchanting vineyard has also pioneered in introducing the first Heritage Winery Resort. Both, the Villa and the Resort, enjoys the attractive views of the wine estate along with the alluring Gangapur lake and hills. Since the past few years, people look forward to the Sulafest; a special wine tour that happens in the month of February, jazzed up with a number of fun-filled activities.
2. Chateau d’Ori- Dindori, Nashik
This Cupola shaped winery; an adaptation of the contemporary winery design in Bordeaux, France, is set at the bottom of Nheira-Ori twin hills, beautified by three artificial lakes near the arrays of fine grapes plantation, makes a charming setting for a nice little holiday. The intimidating French feel of the Chateau d’Ori Estate, enthralls the visitors on their wine tour, providing them the remembrance of a lifetime. The estate has India’s largest merlot plantation and has also won an award for the best Cabernet Merlot wine producer in India. It is also establishing a trend in making the ‘Estate Bottled’ wines; the most valued and internationally acclaimed wine product. While the eco-friendly ways in treating the 200-acre vineyard by avoiding the use of the fertilizers and pesticides, and natural power generating windmills adds to the quaintness of this beautiful place and makes it a must visit for the wine lovers. Other than these the place also offers with stunning wine tasting lounges and well-appointed farmhouses for a comfortable stay at the Chateau d’Ori vineyards.
3. Chateau Indage Estate Vineyards- Narayangaon, Maharashtra
The french like building of Chateau Indage Winery is situated amidst the lush green landscapes in the outskirts of Narayangaon near Sahyadri valley that adds to the quality of the grapes or wine as a whole. Chateau Indage is the largest wine producer in India, which was first established in the name of Champagne Vineyards in 1982, which was mainly an export unit of sparkling wines. In 1986, Chateau Indage produced its first wine ‘Omar Khayyam’ that earned positive reviews from critics and won many awards on an international platform. Later in the same year, the winery launched its flagship product ‘Marquise de Pompadour’. The estate has gained immense popularity for its range of premium Chantilly wines.
To have an inside look of the estate and also of the processing of the wine, Chateau Indage organizes wine tours during weekends that nearly takes about 2 hours, followed by the wine tasting session at the ‘Ivy Cafe and Bar’. The wine festival held at this place each year, is participated by the crowd of people relishing the well-liked wines of this brand. The cozy cottages built overlooking the vineyards perfects your stay on your vacation at this very famous destination that’s popularizing the wine tourism in India. Other than Narayangaon, Chateau Indage has two more facilities in Nashik and Himachal Pradesh.
4. Fratelli Wines- Solapur, Maharashtra
The wine capital of India bags another gem excelling in the production of wine- Fratelli Wines. Its vineyards are graciously draped around the pack of hills of Akluj town. The picturesque view of this charming estate makes it the hotspot of the wine tourism in India. Other than in Solapur, Fratelli also has two more vineyards in Motewadi and Garwar, that are equally blessed with scenic beauty, which often visited by people on their wine tours.
The Fratelli winery is quite close to that of its vineyards, and is equipped with 58 multi-capacity tanks especially imported from Velo, Italy. In 2009, Fratelli came up with its signature brand ‘SETTE’, a barrel-aged red wine matured in french oak for 14 months, that earned many admirers in and outside India. It is the fusion of top one percent of sauvignon and sangiovese grapes grown in the Fratelli’s vineyards. Later came another popular brand-‘Vitae’. The Fartelli wines provide with the overnight stay as well as the day visit packages, that has become quite popular among people as both weekday/weekend getaway destination. In addition to the regular wine tour, there is also an exceptional option of renting the vineyard which is a 3 days and 2 nights enticing package for a group, that comes with four Complimentary bottles of Wines which includes; the IWC 2011 International Wine Challenge 2011 Award Winning- Fratelli Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and any Fratelli Wine of your choice on arrival.
5. Grover Zampa Vineyards- Nandi Hills, Karnataka
To impart rich aromatic complexity of the grapes grown in the soil snuggled up at the foothills of Nandi hills and the crispy earthiness of the grapes grown near the sylvan valleys of Sanjegaon, the vineyards of Grover and Zampa have come together to produce the exceptional quality wines. Along with that, they have furnished their wineries with the wine processing equipments and tanks, that are mostly imported from Italy, and hence making it among the top list of the wine producers in India.
The splendid scenic views of Nandi hills in Grover and serenity of the valley bestowing charm to the vineyards of zampa makes both the places the most favourite touring destinations for the wine lovers. The wine tours in Grover, happens all days of the week in two slots including a buffet lunch in between, while in Zampa there are three slots for the guided wine tour along with the on request facility of grape stomping; which is quite a fascinating thing among the tourers. Though there are no accommodation available in the estates but the three to 3 to 31/2 hours tour here is enough to seep in the best they have to offer.
6. Four Seasons Vineyards- Baramati, Pune
A french chateau adorned with a majestic fountain in the front, is the palace like winery of four seasons that stands amidst the 50 acres of its vineyards, at the very outskirts of Pune near Baramati. Situated in the far land, this awe-inspiring winery overlooks the vineyards along with the pristine view of the Sahyadri valley that nourishes the grapes for the perfect yield to produce those flawless wines. So if you are in search of a sophisticated ambiance on your wine tour, Four Seasons winery is the place to be at. A stay in this palatial winery makes you feel like a king or a queen.
Four Seasons winery specializes in producing the best of red, white, and rosé wines, that are sold under two brand names; Zinzi and Four Seasons. And its Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Barrique Reserve Shiraz and Ritu are the few wines that won awards and positive critical acclaim in both Indian and international platforms. This ravishing winery providing the top-notch comfort for a night stay is the ideal destination for a perfect wine getaway. The wine tour is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm excluding the excise holidays and dry days. The educative visit to this vineyards ends with a satisfying and well-structured wine tasting session.
7. Vallonné Vineyards- Baramati, Pune
A boutique Winery perched on the gentle falls of the Sahyadri ranges, is nutrified by the serene waters of the Mukhne Lake. Established in the year 2009; Vallonné Vineyards produces premium French-style wines, experimenting with various winemaking techniques. Their Malbec, Rosé, Vin De Passerillage and Anokhee Cabernet Sauvignon are unique offerings to the Indian wine market. Vallonné Vineyard and Winery enjoys the scenic views of the Kavnai peak and the alpine forest, that contribute to the tranquility of the countryside environment and thus makes it an ideal place for the wine tour.
A special vine to wine tour conducted by them between Mon-Fri, that exquisitely gets wrapped up with a well-structured wine tasting session. Whereas the complete package includes breakfast, Buffet lunch on the Table format and table d’hôte menu for dinner (2 pax), along with the stay in the boutique wine resort; a very unique concept, providing a comfortable accommodation for the visitors. The winery also has a very alluring lake-facing Malaka Spice restaurant that serves the phenomenal South-East Asian cuisine paired with the delightful Vallonné wines.
8. York Winery- Gangapur, Nashik
Stretched across the six acres of land, the scenic location of the York winery savour the ever-present vista of hills and lake. The red soil of the naturally sloped terrain contributes to the quality of the grape varieties like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, and thus producing the best quality wines like Reserve Chiraz, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc that has won both domestic as well as international awards.
York Winery offers a wholesome wine experience to both- the uninitiated and the wine admirers. It offers different packages from Mon-Sun, but only under day touring, that ends up in the scenically blessed York Tasting Room. There they conduct the wine tasting session of the York wines with cheese and light snacks on the side. Adjacent to the York Tasting Room there is ‘Cellar Door Restaurant serving the delicious North Indian and Local Maharashtrian dishes paired with the delectable York wines.
With the increasing popularity of the York winery as one of the favorite destination for wine tourism in India, the owners have initiated in conducting ‘York Live’, a wine festival presenting the medley of award winning wines of Nashik and music from the famous bands. There happens a lot of other activities also grape stomping, carnival games, etc.
9. KRSMA Vineyards- Hampi, Karnataka
Not only because it is situated at the World’s Heritage Site, but also because it produces the best and unique quality wine each year, that KRSMA Vineyards is counted amongst the most popular destinations in wine tourism. Even though the vineyard is placed on the slopes of Hampi Hills at an altitude of around 590 m above sea level where there is plenty of breeze and iron-rich schist soil that receives very little rainfall, which is not considered favourable for growing grapes, produced a robust Cabernet Sauvignon: flagship wine of the brand that acclaimed positive critical responses, both nationally and internationally. As the owner’s idea is to concentrate on quality rather than on quantity, the best grapes of each harvest are selected for production, and that is the reason why only limited bottles come out every year, that are counted amongst the best.
The KRSMA vineyards use drip irrigation method to recover from the dryness of the soil. And it is the only vineyard in India that has no definite recipe or any wine, which is quite a unique style, of letting the grapes decide the destiny of the wine. A visit to KRSMA- ‘the vineyards in your backyard’; as quoted by one of the magazines, is a must, where the care is given to bring out the best from the grapes rather than to bring out the most from the grapes. Wine tours here, are arranged on request, and that too only for the day visit.
10. Charosa Vineyards- Dindori, Nashik
Scenically blessed estate of Charosa has an extensive vine trails spread out over an expanse of 230 acres of manicured land, that makes it a perfect destination for the wine lovers to spend a good time amidst the gentle lush green hills, surrounded by the calm waters of the valleys. Visit this Tuscan looking winery to witness the unique winemaking process by using the open tank fermenter, in their wine tours arranged especially on request. The Charosa Vineyards are the introducer of Tempranillo grapes in India that produces some premium quality and exceptionally flavourful wines. The natural setting and the climatic condition of this charming vineyards adds to the quality of the grapes that finally goes into the making of the well textured and perfect bodied wines.
I find it appropriate to end it with the quote of the famous writer- Paulo Coelho, but not in the philosophical sense as he meant, but pertaining to my blog. It goes like this; “Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” Check out all the places that I listed in India; a fresher among all the winemaking countries. You might find some, only good enough as per your palate, but some might turn out to be worth for bottoms up. You can learn more about the vineyard tours in India by contacting us at +91-9212553106/07 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We at Tour My India offer some incredible packages that are light on your pockets but heavy on services and satisfaction. So don’t wait, plan your holiday with us!
Published: 15 Jun, 2017
Sonam Dave is a hotelier-turned-travel writer from the city of lakes, Bhopal. She is a connoisseur of art who loves to ponder in the lap of nature, and always ready to take the inviting calls of the beautiful lakes and river for a rejuvenating plunge. When she is not travelling, she likes to play the rumbling chords and riffs on her guitar. She proudly proclaims herself as a theatre enthusiast, an avid reader and a movie buff. She likes to call herself a rootless wanderer who wishes to choose the roads less travelled.