A teetotaller enters a vineyard. Yep, that‘s me. I am a proud teetotaller yet I decided to visit a beautiful winery in India. Sula Vineyards is located in Nashik, which is around 180 kilometres north-east of Mumbai. This place has been on my bucket list for years even though I abstain from alcohol.
The founder of the vineyards is Rajeev Samant and the master winemaker is Kerry Damskey. Having a little family land and a few wine grapes grown around the region (Nashik has the perfect climate for the cultivation of wine grapes), Mr Samant had a passionate and crazy notion to open a wine business in India, all the way back in 1994. This led to the emergence of India‘s first official vineyard, which paved the way for many other brands to build their wine concepts in the country.
The name “Sula“ comes from Mr Samant‘s mother‘s name – Sulabha – and symbolises the rich Indian heritage of his wines. This is a winery that takes pride in being Indian, being the first company in the country to use an Indian logo. Today, Sula is India‘s foremost wine company and is leading the charge of Indian wines across the wine world. Mr Samant is also a top advocate for India‘s wine industry and is actively sought out to represent the interests of India‘s wine producers and farmers to national and state governments.
With their sprouting success, Sula has come up with some engaging events and festivals for the public, starting with the acclaimed Sula Fest – India‘s premier gourmet music festival in a vineyard – a tasting room winery and India‘s first-ever wine resort. With their thriving upward leap, awards and recognition have only cushioned them with more credibility.
My experience at Sula was nothing short of enchanting, picturesque and lip-smackingly delicious. Entering into the vineyards I felt a sense of serenity – the air was fresh, the weather cool (it‘s currently monsoon season), the greenery vast and almost blinding. The restaurant has the most magnificent view, not to mention that they serve a wide selection of delectable wines. Although the food could be improved in a few ways, my overall experience was absolutely fabulous.
Being a teetotaller and going to a vineyard is an irony, so I decided to do a wine tasting and hoped the mixture of wines in my tummy wouldn‘t get me tipsy. But first I had a short yet highly informative tour of the vineyards, gaining an understanding of how the grapes are cultivated and eventually bottled to be sold all over the world. The tour ended with a tasting of six different types of wine. Although my palate isn‘t accustomed to alcohol, I did have my favourites: Brut and Dindori Reserve Shiraz.
Over the past 16 years, Sula has established itself as a pioneer and leader in the Indian wine industry, with milestones across its winemaking, tourism and business ventures.
Gat 36/2, Govardhan Village, off Gangapur-Savargaon Road, Nashik, Maharashtra 422222, India, +91 253 302 7777