Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit

Photo of Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit 1/5 by Sarah
Grover Zampa, Nandi Hills
Photo of Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit 2/5 by Sarah
Sula Vineyard: Nashik
Photo of Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit 3/5 by Sarah
Alpine Wineries
Photo of Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit 4/5 by Sarah
York winery: Nashik
Photo of Tipple Along: Wine Trails in India Every Wine Connoisseur Should Visit 5/5 by Sarah
Grover Zampa, Nashik

Now don’t go turning your nose up at the idea of Indian wines. Despite the youth of the industry and the lack of aged wines, many Indian wines will surprise you, and quite a few of those surprises will be pleasant. At least, that’s what the experts say. I’ve been on a couple and a few more are on my wishlist, so if I can’t do a complete wine tour yet, I’d like to try this vicarious wish-fulfilment thing – you read this, check them out, and tell me if they’re all that.

Nashik is the first place you’d think of when you consider visiting a vineyard in India. That's where I started, too, and if my memory of how it ended is a bit hazy, you can understand why, right? Quite a few vineyards are in Nashik and a few of them open their doors to you so that you can take a walk along where the grapes are grown, and be guided through the process of making wine. They also have wine tasting sessions, and here’s the best part – you can buy the bottles at a lower cost than you would from most shops, and you can know for a fact that the wine has been treated well. Unfortunately, most of what we get from shops around us is cooked – transported and stored in far from the optimum temperatures and conditions, juggled from vertical to horizontal and many more such travesties that would make wine-lovers weep.

Picture Credits

Sula Vineyard, Nashik

Alpine Wineries

York winery, Nashik

Grover Zampa, Nashik

Grover Zampa, Nandi Hills

Sula Vineyard in Nashik is possibly the first thing to come to mind when you think of wine trail in India. With good reason, too – they have wine tasting sessions, regular vineyard and winery tours, wine and cheese platters at their tasting room, a Soleil by La Plage restaurant on the premises... It promises to be a pretty special day. If you want to extend it a bit, there’s a resort where you can stay overnight, too, close to the winery. It’s a quick romantic getaway from Pune or from Mumbai for those who like wine, but can’t really afford to indulge in the real Italian or French deal. I can recommend the wine tasting and the restaurant overlooking the vineyard, though the lack of creepy cellars with wooden casks was a real let-down.
Photo of Sula Vineyards, Nashik, Maharashtra, India by Sarah
We step away from Nashik for this one, to Holesalu, in Mysore district, so this is another convenient day trip for Bangaloreans. It’s not as fancy a set-up as you’d see in some of the Nashik wineries, so you do need to call ahead and tell them what you want. They will take you through the process of wine-making and arrange a wine-tasting session in the wine cellar. They have six wines – three red and three white. The entire schedule will take about four hours if you opt to have lunch there, as well. You also have the charming option of camping out on the lawn in front of the lake if you’d like to indulge in a couple of bottles. Can’t drive back after that!
Photo of Alpine Wineries (Guest House), Chamarajanagar, Karnataka, India by Sarah
Yet another one in Nashik. Well, if you’re taking the time to drive down, you might as well make it a few days off and hit all of them! But don’t do more than three in a day – it’ll just get too much and anyway, half the processes look the same to most folks (like me). York Winery’s vineyard is also on a hillside and along a lake. They have a tasting room with daily wine tasting sessions from noon till night, except on dry days. The setting is nice, as it is everywhere in Nashik – being able to design a tasting room so that it overlooks a lake does that. York has two whites, five reds, a rose and a really nice dessert wine for those who have a sweet tooth.
Photo of York Winery, Nashik, Maharashtra, India by Sarah
The Grover Zampa vineyard in Nashik is supposed to have excellent ambience. There are a few options to choose from – there’s the winery visit plus a tasting of still wines; the winery and vineyard visit plus a tasting of still and sparkling wines; and there are options without the wine tasting, though really, what’s the point of that? The setting is very pretty and you can usually count on having your questions answered as well. There’s also a 20% discount on wines to consider.
Photo of Grover Zampa Vineyards, Nashik, Maharashtra, India by Sarah
If you’re in Bangalore, Nandi Hills will also do. They do a complete lunch, wine-tasting and winery visit deal, though you might need to have your own vehicle to be a part of the vineyard tour. There’s a very nice and varied collection of wines to choose from, and even if you know nothing about wines other than basic pairings (don’t worry, that’s all I know and nobody’s refused to pour yet), it won’t really matter. There’ll be help at hand. The entire tour takes about three and a half hours.
Photo of Grover Vineyards Ltd, Jayamahal Extension, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sarah