Get a taste of Europe at Sula Vineyards

An elegant weekend getaway

Tourism

October 6, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Get a taste of Europe at Sula Vineyards

The vibrant green, perfectly manicured rows of grapevines at Sula. (Photo: sulavineyards.com)

Located in the rolling hills near Nashik in Maharashtra, with an invitation to join an all-immersive journey into the exciting world of wine, Sula Vineyards offers tourists a relaxing yet memorable learning experience. It takes visitors into a new realm of cuisine and culture that is reminiscent of an overseas trip right in the comfort of their own backyard.

Nestled in a beautiful setting in Nashik, away from the noisy hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Sula Vineyards is the perfect location for a activity-packed day outing or a short trip with one’s family and friends, couples and solo travelers.

Nashik’s popularity and reputation for housing leading players in the Indian wine industry has earned it the moniker of “India’s Napa Valley.” After Sula Vineyards was established in 1999, 35 other wineries followed suit in the region over the next decade.

Similar to the iconic, world-famous California wineries that attract thousands of tourists to their Michelin star gourmet restaurants and dreamlike vineyards, Sula also presents a beautiful view of sprawling, vibrant green fields, and its proximity to cool hills and river offers a pleasant climate for tourists to enjoy leisurely strolls through the fields.

The Indian alcohol market has always been largely dominated by whiskey, vodka and beer, with wine consumption remaining quite low, mainly due to relatively high cost and the perception that it would not pair with Indian cuisines. But over the past decade or so, wine consumption as well as wine tourism has experienced a boom in India, with specially curated tasting tours attracting not only wine connoisseurs, but also young tourists looking for an elegant weekend getaway in a picturesque setting with wide open spaces.

“We were planning my friend’s bachelorette party and finally decided to go to Sula as it was nearby and seemed like the perfect place for a short trip, one or two days. It was a lot of fun as we were 8-9 girls, and we just wanted to have a chill time without going to stuffy clubs or bars,” Mumbai-based Aditi Vaidya tells Media India Group.

Sula specialises in red wine variants (Photo: sulavineyards.com)

Sula is known to specialise in red wine, and Nashik’s cool nights are perfect for ensuring high levels of acidity in the red grapes and warm days for optimum ripeness, making it the best climate for growing premium wine grapes and producing favourites such as the Syrah (Shiraz), Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. As imported wines in India come with high price tags, Sula’s range offers an exquisite, European feel to Indian consumers, right in their own home.

“The wine tasting was amazing and the way they projected the experience was very good and unique, and I loved the vintage vibes of their wine cellars and tasting rooms. Wine has always been my favourite drink and I have always enjoyed having Merlot the most, but the tour really opened up my eyes to all the different varieties and subtleties of each flavour. We were able to taste and analyse around 7 or 8 different wines and my personal favourite on the entire trip was definitely rosé,” says Vaidya.

A typical package and all-access day tour starts from around INR 6,000 per person and involves a 2-hour guided tour around the vineyards, a visit through the wine factory to get an inside peek at the fascinating wine-making practice from vine to cask and the five steps of wine-tasting at a personalised session at The Tasting Cellar, and gaze out at perfectly manicured rows of grapevines from the tasting room. Visitors can then relax at the amphitheater and the gardens that can serve as an alternate picnic spot after wine, or pick their favourite wine of the day from the shop and pair it with the scrumptious cuisine options available at Rāsā, an Indian restaurant, or some Italian delicacies at Little Italy.

The winery has also been a forerunner in introducing completely new wines to India, such as Sula Zinfandel Rosé, which was India’s first ever Zinfandel, white wines like the fruity Sula Riesling and Sula Chenin Blanc, and Dia Wine Sparkler, India’s first wine in a can currently available in Goa and Maharashtra.

Sula’s tasting cellar (Photo: sulavineyards.com)

For those who want to spend more time than just a day, Sula’s offers various plush accommodation options. Taking advantage of the stunning views, visitors can choose either a lake view room, with its minimalistic, modern-chic glass walls, or splurge on a Sky Villa, a spacious 3-bedroom property which overlooks the sparkling Gangapur backwaters and comes with its own private swimming pool. Or, if tourists are in the mood for something slightly more rustic, the unique ‘Treehouse’ private cottages are perfect for lazing around by the wooden deck and looking out at the expanse of foliage.

“Since there was a large group of us, we chose to stay in a villa, which was absolutely wonderful. It was exactly what we wanted and the staff was amazingly courteous. After months of being cooped up in our rooms, I think being able to stay somewhere with such a vibrant atmosphere really cheers you up, and since we went during they pandemic, they were cautious about safety and the protocols all fairly practiced,” recalls Vaidya.

Sula also engages in eco-friendly business practices, with 49 pc of its energy needs met by solar panels, and 99 pc of the packaging used for Sula’s products made of recyclable material.

Vaidya explains the idea behind a trip to Sula Vineyards was inspired from her favourite online travel bloggers, indicating a growing sect of Indian millenials who are taking an active interest in wine, and want to learn about classic pairings with food and how exactly to serve and taste it. A weekend trip to the vineyards is also often incomplete without perfectly curated, aesthetic images of picnics with wine glasses and cheeseboards and photo shoots in floral dresses surrounded by the green splendour, and the growing trend attracts many wedding receptions and corporate outings who are searching for an unforgettable and truly artistic experience.

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