Ending a year that tested our patience and grit with a devastating second wave of COVID-19 isn't the easiest of things. Some of us aren't in the mood t0 travel even in December, with a new COVID strain threatening to ruin our plans, and yet, a true traveller continues to seek new places even amid such apocalyptic situations.
So, my first real day trip after I moved back to Bangalore in December this year was to the famed Big Banyan Tree, or Dodda Alada Mara, on the outskirts of Bangalore. Situated about 2 hours from Koramangala, this place houses a 400-year-old banyan tree that has spread its roots to create a forest of its own. A popular tourist spot, it's also a nice place to chill out on a wintry afternoon. A friend and I visited this serene place on a cloudy December Sunday, through an equally scenic Nice Road and the local nurseries.
After a soothing walk through the Dodda Alada Mara premises and some quick photos, we headed to the Big Banyan Wines vineyard, which has become an equally popular hang-out zone these days.
Apart from a sprawling garden area that's a treat to the eyes and a photographer's delight, the Big Banyan vineyard offers a tour around their vineyard and a wine-tasting session, for those who are interested. One has the option to choose either the vineyard tour or both the vineyard and the wine-tasting tour and pay for the same at the venue (the combo costs 1000 bucks per person). We had booked the 2pm slot and had opted for both.
Our tour began with a warm-up video that introduced us to the vineyard. We were then taken to the actual vineyard, while our guide explained the process of extracting wine from the vines. We were also told how each type of vine grape, such as Shiraz or Viognier, is distinct.
After a quick photo session, our group was escorted to their actual wine production area and shown how wine is actually processed and stored. Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed in this particular area.
The final session was what we were all waiting for: the wine-tasting session. We were asked to take our seats , with wine glasses and cheese waiting for us.
We were served 5 different types of wine, including Rosé, red, white, and Bellissima, or dessert wine. For each wine, we were told not just about the origin of the wine and its distinctive features but also asked to smell and taste it, observe its tinge, allow it to absorb air, and then differentiate between the tastes, before and after it had been exposed to air. It was a fun interactive session, which was also equally informative.
Thus ended our day at the Big Banyan Wines vineyard, and I would definitely recommend it to not just wine connoisseurs but also to laymen who wish to know about wine-making and wine-tasting in detail.
PS: They have a beautifully decorated restaurant, named Ranch, right next to their vineyard, though we didn't have enough time to check it out.