When you think about wine, India is probably not the first place that springs to mind. Yet as it happens, wine production is starting to increase in India, with a number of the country’s vineyards based in Nashik located just four hours from Mumbai by train.
After sampling a few of India’s wines around the country, and surprised at the quality that I found, I decided to travel up to Nashik to visit a few wineries and see exactly what it was all about.
Firstly, Nashik isn’t a tourist town, and locals don’t seem to be aware of the potential they have in terms of tourism here. Most people are familiar with Sula Vineyards, being one of the most popular wineries in India, but few will be able to tell you where it is, let alone be able to tell you about the smaller vineyards. So come equipped with a list of vineyards that you want to visit, and their addresses!
As it’s the biggest of the bunch I decided to start with Sula Vineyards.
Sula originally used the lands to grow mangoes, and when that didn’t work they decided to branch into the wine industry. Importing their vines from France they first planted in 1997, and harvested in 1999. The Savignon Blanc was then the first to be bottled in 2000.
Now consisting of over 1500 acres, all organic, Sula wines harvest each year between January and March, with Californian Kerry Eemskey and Indian Ajoy Shaw overseeing the blending of a number of the varietals to ensure
A tour and tasting at Sula will set you back about INR 150 (about A$3) for 4 wines or INR 250 (about $5) for 6 wines. They also have grape stomping available if you are so inclined.
A little further down the road is York Winery, a family business. Located on about 70 acres of land, the York winery does not only get their grapes from their own crops but also has contracts with local farmers.
The view from the York winery is spectacular, and so quiet as well, that you forget you are in the hustle and bustle of India whiling away the hours with a bottle or two of wine and enjoying the serenity.
Of all the varietals I tried across different vineyards, I have to say that the Chenin Blanc was by far my favourite. All the wines were delicious though, especially considering that the wineries are still quite young and still developing new varietals.
There are many other wineries with cellar doors, not only in Nashik, but else where in the country, so if you happen to be in the region it is well worth a day or two to check out the local viniculture scene.
If India is a little too far to make a trip for a bottle of wine, a few Indian wines are now being exported internationally, and while the biggest markets are to be found in the U.S., even Australia is now finding a few of these wines trickle through. So go on a treasure hunt and try and procure yourself a bottle or two.
A Few Indian Wineries to Get You Started:
Champage Indage Limited (Headoffice)
Krishnamai, 33B, Sir Pochkhanwala Road,
Worli 400025 Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
+91 222 498 8168
63 Raghunathapura, Devanahalli Road,
Doddaballapur, Bangalore, 561203, Karnataka, India
+91 802 333 8690
Gat 36/2, Govardhan Village,
Off Gangapur-Savargaon Road,
Nashik 422 222, Maharashtra, India
+91 253 223 1720
248 St. Joaquim Road,
Borda, Margao, 403602, Goa, India
+91 832 271 5499
Gat 15/2, Gangavarche Village,
Nasik 422222, Maharashtra, India