I don’t think we realise how incredibly lucky we are to have a growing wine scene in our very own backyard. If you have not yet visited the wineries in Nasik and Akluj in Maharashtra, folks you are missing out on something really unique. Pull out your cars over the weekend and drive to one these beautiful locations to go winery hopping or sit back and relax on your weekend at any of them that has accommodation.
This is the only winery in Akluj and a good six hours away from Mumbai via the Mumbai – Pune Expressway. Set in the middle of pretty much nowhere, this modern looking winery not only makes fantastic wines but also has a few luxurious rooms to stay in. Fratelli has a gorgeous look-out point on top of a hill in their vineyards where you can taste some wine as the sun sets. At lunch or for dinner their in-house chefs will put together an authentic meal especially for you that can washed down with their delectable wines. They are also happy to do a tasting for you in their cellar room where they age their wines in barrels. Fratelli Vitae Tre, Sette and Sangiovese Bianco are my top favourites and from their new range, their Vitae Chardonnay is excellent.
This is a small boutique winery in Igatpuri on the way to Nasik about an hour before you get to Garware Circle in Nasik. They produce excellent quality wines, have four rustic rooms to spend your weekend and Pune’s Malaka Spice has set up a restaurant there. This is a winery that takes enjoying nature, food and wine seriously; therefore there are no TVs or WiFi available in the rooms. It allows you to disconnect properly.
With a view of the lake, curated activities for the outdoors and outstanding wine to sip on throughout your stay, your weekend will go by in a jiffy. They produce an outstanding Malbec and their dessert wine Vin de Passerillage is hands down best in India. Another fabulous blend is the Rose and Reserve Merlot.
A short distance of no more than five minutes from Vallonné is Grover Zampa. You cannot stay here as of now but I would highly recommend requesting them for a tasting in their cellar. Take a walk up the hill planted with their vines for stunning views of the region. Zampa Chene and their Grover’s La Reserve Blanc are two wines that you absolutely must get your hands on.
Leaving Igatpuri behind in Nasik, just ahead of Sula is York Winery. York has been consistent with their quality and is now considered at the forefront of quality wine in India. They have a tasting room with a view of Gangapur Lake and hills in the background. You could easily spend a nice cool December afternoon drinking their award winning wines looking over their vineyards and the scenery. The tasting room serves up some authentic local cuisine too. Wines to try would be their sparkling, their Chenin Blanc which has an oak influence and has revolutionised the way wines from this grape variety have been made in India. Also, try out their top end red called Arros; it is simply to die for.
Soma is half a kilometer ahead of York Winery and besides the winery they have taken over Sula’s Beyond Resort and renamed it to Soma Vineyard Resort. You could stay here for a couple of days as the resort has a pretty scenic view while one can also take a wine tour there. Their wines are not yet available freely in the market but they do produce some good wines. I would try their sparkling and for those of you who like it sweeter, try out their fruitier style wine like the Silver Label Chenin Blanc.
About an hour away in Dindori is the incredible Chandon Winery. They produce high quality sparkling wine and the winery itself is the perfect location to host a private dinner or an event because it’s just simply drop dead gorgeous. They do not have a restaurant or a place to eat but are happy to welcome visitors to taste their sparkling wines etc on appointment. Visitors can walk through their winery to describe how they make their delicious sparkling wine. To visit you need to email email@example.com or call +91 253 307 2613.
Featured photo source: Chandon Winery