Wine, dine and unwind at Indias Napa Valley

A couple of years ago, vineyards in India would only have been hosting connoisseurs; the general hoi polloi would have thought it ludicrous to spend their holiday touring a vineyard and tasting wines rather than driving up to a hill station or spending a weekend by the seaside.
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Oct 18, 2016, 04.58 PM | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Wine, dine and unwind at India's Napa Valley

A couple of years ago, vineyards in India would only have been hosting connoisseurs; the general hoi polloi would have thought it ludicrous to spend their holiday touring a vineyard and tasting wines rather than driving up to a hill station or spending a weekend by the seaside.

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Wine, dine and unwind at Indias Napa Valley

A couple of years ago, vineyards in India would only have been hosting connoisseurs; the general hoi polloi would have thought it ludicrous to spend their holiday touring a vineyard and tasting wines rather than driving up to a hill station or spending a weekend by the seaside.

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Every weekend, Nashik’s prized Sula Vineyards come alive with activity. The car park is overflowing with bikes, scooters, family and luxury cars while the vineyard premises are similarly diverse with teenagers huddled excitedly into groups and waiters dodging hyperactive children as they make their way to tables of discerning wine connoisseurs.

A couple of years ago, vineyards in India would only have been hosting connoisseurs; the general hoi polloi would have thought it ludicrous to spend their holiday touring a vineyard and tasting wines rather than driving up to a hill station or spending a weekend by the seaside.

Today, however, vineyards are playing host to a range of crowds from true blue wine connoisseurs to wine newbies to groups that don’t give two hoots about wine but just want to have a good time.

Indeed, vineyards across wine producing regions in India are going out of their way to ensure that visitors do have a brilliant time, to increase the appeal and reach of wine tourism. For one, most large-scale vineyards in the country offer wine tours.

Priced affordably at Rs 600 onwards, the guests are taken on a walk through the vineyards, are told about wine-making techniques and are given a variety of red, rose, white and dessert wines to try. As they sip on them, experienced wine sommeliers explain the steps to tasting wines – swirl, sniff, and sip – to enhance the experience.

While the experience at these vineyards is naturally centred around the wine experience, the vineyards offer a collection of different activities for guests. Some, like Sula Vineyards, have a grape stomping barrels where one can experience the strangely gratifying feeling of squashing plump grapes between their toes.

On a larger scale, Sula Vineyards also organises the Sula Fest each year which curates some of India’s leading musicians, labels and their best wines for an extended celebration. On a similarly large scale are the activities at Chateau D’Ori, 25 kilometres north of Nashik, which has three artificial lakes and allows guests to enjoy boating.

Chateau D’Ori as well as Sula Vineyards both offer visitors the opportunity to stay on the vineyards; while Sula is home to  Beyond Sula Sula Vineyards, which is at the edge of the Gangapur Lake, Chateau D'Ori has a luxury guesthouse in the midst of sprawling grape vines. Another vineyard which allows guests to stay is the Soma Vineyard Resort, also in Nashik with deluxe rooms, three and seven-bedroom villas.

After the luxurious experiences that the vineyards have to offer, guests and visitors are welcomed into the vineyard’s on ground stores which sell the vineyard’s range of wines at reduced prices; the perfect opportunity for people to pick up bottles to take home. Over a few glasses of wine back home, they can display their newfound knowledge of the world of wine, and generate interest amongst their dinner party guests or family members, and encourage them to pay a visit to a vineyard themselves.

It’s this word of mouth process, illuminated by the experiences that guests have had at the vineyards that more and more people learn about wine tourism. Thanks to this and the active efforts on the part of vineyards to educate Indian society about wine, wine tourism will only grow stronger in India.
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Wine, dine and unwind at Indias Napa Valley

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