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Wine N Dine

No whining, just Wine-ing post Lockdown

Although, we as Indians have the culture of partying with excessive alcohol and this ain’t new. Alcohol, or ‘Madira’ or the various names with which it was celebrated in the epochs of history, the love for alcohol is not recent. Likewise, India’s interest in wine production goes back to the days of Indus Valley civilization but it is only in recent times that both consumption and production of wines in the country are encountering a high rise. The smelling, swirling, tasting and quaffing of wine is pretty contemporary, so is holidaying at vineyards, in the scent of the grapes while guzzling wine. Well, it is not your fault, you gotta have a list of the fine vineyards in India, before you head out to endure this progressing culture in the country which otherwise largely has a cult for rums and whiskies. 

Although talking of wine and not mentioning Nashik- the Wine-ing Wizardry is not possible. Nasik has been called the “Wine Capital of India” and is situated in the Western Ghats, on the banks of the River Godavari. About a half of India’s wineries are located near Nashik, other regions with smaller wineries include Baramati and Sangli in Maharashtra. The city has been branded Nashik Valley Wine to give wine production a push. And as a budding wine enthusiast, you must know it!

Here’s a list of a few vineyards that are must-go-to places if you are a wine-ing person:

 Renaissance Wines

Renaissance Winery is located just 14 km away from the city of Nashik amidst the idyllic surroundings of Ozar in Nashik is the Renaissance Winery. From full to medium body notes, fruity, dry or floral notes, you won’t be able to go without taking a few wines with you. Not just in India but you can also find their wines in Canada, Germany and The USA.

You can make your choice from the Zinfandel Red, Shiraz-Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the reds and Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc from the white.

When Sociotab reached out to Renaissance founder Shivaji Aher on how his business is affected due to Covid and subsequent lockdowns and curfews, he says, the pandemic and the lockdown has hampered the sales to up to 60-70 per cent. The sales moving southward has been tough to manage, we are just delivering to the long term clients.”  

Deccan Plateau

Deccan Plateau Vineyards located on the fertile plains of River Bhima, with 17 acres of plush greens making it one of the most beautiful vineyards in the country. Deccan Plateau is a new age of winemakers in India known for conferring its rich flavour and exotic aroma. The Trivalli (Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot blend) is a unique tasting wine that is a delight in every sip.

Wild Berry

Are you a strawberry lover? If yes, then you can’t miss out on the Wild Berry. 

Wild Berry, started in 2011, is a Mahableshwar based winery that is selling 100% pure strawberry wine! Their speciality ‘Come On Charlie!’ is made from fresh and handpicked strawberries from the fields of Mahabi, and fermented at cold temperatures with special aroma enhancing yeasts and enzymes, using a special production technique designed to meet the discerning tastes. It has around 11% v/v so this can easily make you happy high! 

The pandemic has distressed businesses. It has led to a lot of disorder and slowed the pace of wine business as well. Wildberry founder Sagar Bharat Parkhe in a telephonic conversation with Sociotab says, “We usually crush strawberries for wine in the Month of March. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to do the crushing last year as well as this year which has hampered the business in many ways.”

Moksha Wines

The Moksha wines will give you the moksha you have been looking for. Spread over 100 acres in Nashik, Moksha Wines by Living Liquidz launched an array of boutique wines back in 2010. 

Wine lovers will have six varieties to choose from — Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Blush.

Sula Vineyards

Whether you are a Wine person or not, Sula is known to all. Sula is perhaps India’s most popular and most accessible winery. Sula organises combining wine with music at Sulafest, held there in February/March every year. Sula also offers a one-day wine appreciation course every Thursday.

Wines to choose from are: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Rose, Sparkling Brut, Viognier, Reisling, Shiraz, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon.

York Winery

York Winery has won a range of awards for its wine varieties, both red and white. Situated not far from Sula Vineyards, and with a view over Gangapur Dam and the hills, York Winery is a perfect place for divine eve tastings. The tasting room is open daily from noon to 10 p.m., and tours are offered until 6 p.m. The most impressive of the winery is said to be its Arros reserve blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, released in late 2014. York also released its own sparkling wine, York Sparkling Brut made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, towards the end of 2014. York is amongst a few Indian wineries that produce Chardonnay.

Grover Vineyards

Old is gold is the perfect saying in the case of this winery as well. One of India’s oldest winemakers near Bangalore in Karnataka, merged with Maharashtra-based Vallée de Vin (producer of premium wine brand Zampa) in 2012 to compete with Sula. 

In 2019, the company bought Four Seasons Wines and Charosa Vineyards.

Grover Zampa focuses on producing premium wines, with the standout being its award-winning La Reserve brand of oak matured Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz reds. It’s also possible to visit the winery’s barrel room. Tours start at 10.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. daily. 

Soma Vineyards

Soma Vineyards, founded in 2001 could possibly be India’s most scenic winery. The 100-acre vineyard is bordered by Makali Hill on one side and fronts Gundamagere Lake on the other. Apparently, it’s the only winery where grapes grow together with coconut palms and other fruit trees. The vineyard has become a spot for weddings and other events as well. 

Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz are the specialties there. Comprehensive four-hour tour and tasting experiences are conducted from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. daily. 

Fratelli

Cliche it may sound, it happens to be my personal favourite so far. Fratelli (meaning “brothers” in Italian) was started in 2007 by three pairs of brothers from Italy, Delhi, and Maharashtra. This remote vineyard is one of India’s biggest winemakers (along with Sula and Grover Zampa) and produces some outstanding reserve wines on its 240-acre estate. The Sette reserve red is rated among the best red wines in India.

So what you are waiting for, get a glass of your favourite wine, set up a Sanam Ali Indi-pop music and enjoy the solitude. 

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