So you think that only French and Italians excel in the art of wine making? Well, if you are an Indian and love sipping some fine wine & cheese over a tête-à-tête, then a trip to Nashik is what you need! Sula is considered to be one of the best wine makers in the country as they produce French Sauvignon Blanc & Californian Chenin Blanc; which were planted and produced first by Sula in 1997.
Sula Vineyards founder Mr. Rajeev Samant took up the challenge of transforming barren lands of Nashik into wine farming stations. Sula Vineyards was officially established by Mr. Samant and Mr. Kerry Damskey, who happens to be an eminent Californian winemaker.
The 30 acre family estate has since then come a long way from being a barren property to a fully functional grapes farming and wine producing facility. Not only do they have a concrete wine production facility & wine cellars, but the property also offers a destination restaurant, wine tasting and wine production tour for its guests.
While December – Early February is considered as the grapes harvesting and wine producing time at Sula Vineyards, the month of July to early August is marked as the time of celebrating wine over picturesque view of Nashik’s mountain terrain and the monsoon season. Families and youngsters often travel down to Nashik during this period to celebrate the romantic rainy season with some wine and hors d’oeuvres!
Me, along with a couple of other influences of India were invited over by SULA team for a grand experiential of the SULA Vineyards. As we transitioned from the humid Mumbai monsoon weather to the cloudy atmosphere of Nashik, all that we could think of was the experience that awaited us.
If you google up www.sulawines.com, you will be redirected to the beautiful gallery of vineyards and the overlooking Tasting Room. Well, all that I can say is that the place looks much more mesmerising than one can anticipate in the photographs.
We reached the destination and a warm staff welcomed us to the property. I set my eyes on the vineyards, gazing at the lush green grape bushes, hoping to spot a bunch of grapes hanging fresh off the monsoon drizzle. But, I was informed that the grapes are on full bloom only towards the end of the year.
The first thing on our itinerary was to sit back at the artsy ‘Tasting Room’, grab a few bites and savour an array of Sula Wines that kept coming over as we ate. I won’t mind sitting with a glass of wine with some lounge music in the backdrop, simply getting enchanted by the beautiful views of the vineyard parallel to the hills of Nashik.
Post savouring lunch, we were taken on a tour of the property, with an introductory brief about how Sula Vineyards came into existence, how are the grapes produced, what kind of production takes place with the number of production units that the wine making goes through with the concluding stop at the wine cellar and another wine mixology room.
Did you know that a bush of flowers surrounds the entire vineyards so that if any pesticides attack the farming, it will first show on the blooms so as to prevent the grape bushes from getting affected by it? Another interesting fact is that the vineyards are stretched parallel to East to West, so that the vineyard receives balanced yet ample of sunlight the entire day and the moonlit coolness throughout the night. All such factors really reflect on the finesse of wine production.
After gaining much knowledge about grape harvesting and wine making, we were greeted by Mr. Ajoy Shaw who is the Chief Wine Maker at Sula Vineyards. He took us through yet another journey of the entire range of fine wines that Sula produces. The major difference in this wine tasting was that the session came with a detailed knowledge about each wine, the derivation of its taste, the production uniqueness of each wine and what kind of food can be well paired with a particular style of wine.
Overwhelmed by the wine tasting session with Mr Ajoy, we were taken for a stroll next to the beautiful Amphitheatre at Sula Vineyards where the grand ‘Sula Fest’ takes place. While their was no music being played at the Amphitheatre, we were still quite amused by the beauty of nature surrounding the premises and of course the colourful sunset that we got to witness!
Although Sula Vineyards is soon launching their resort, currently they have the ‘Sky Villa’ available for accomodation reservations along with their Italian restaurant Little Italy and the Indian restaurant called Soma; which are both operational 7 days a week.
We concluded our day by having some desi food which was served the traditional style, with of course wine in the house at all times. Soma happens to have a very beautiful decor, with retro vibes and a laid-back seating arrangement.
They offer North Indian food along with some curated international favourites on the menu as well. If you want to feel like an Italian, then they have great wine tasting sessions and a traditional Italian menu in service at Little Italy as well!
Next day, before heading back to Mumbai, we all took last stroll through the vineyards of SULA. Although it was drizzling throughout, it didn’t dampen my spirits as I risk-fully walked down the alleys of grape bushes (in heels). Luck be by my side as I ended up spotting some dark purple grapes drying up on the freshly ploughed vineyard land.
So do I recommend this place for a visit? YES!
What kind of people should be visiting this place?
Of course, the wine lovers; but this place is beautiful just to experience as well so drive over with family and friends. The more, the merrier.
What about accommodation facility?
For those who would like to have an extravaganza getaway experience, SULA offers SKY VILLA accommodation. I will recommend that you make reservations well in advance, as it remains mostly booked throughout the season. Nashik is also well-equipped with immense accommodation facilities and are flexible for each pocket.
Best time to visit?
July – August & December – February
Did I find my wine companion?
Yes! Late Harvest Chenin Blanc which also happens to have been awarded the ‘Indian Wine Challenge’ award for India’s best white wine in 2008 and award gold medal for Indian Consumer’s Choice Award 2013.
For more details visit http://sulawines.com/
Visit SULA VINEYARDS
Gat 36/2, Govardhan Village,
Off Gangapur-Savargaon Road,
Nashik 422 222, Maharashtra, India.
Tel: +91 78755 55725
Mobile: +91 78755 55735