Into the Wine: Best Wine Tours in India
Relaxing in an open meadow with a glass of your favourite wine sounds alluring. India has an age-old history with wines. Wine making in India started around 5,000 years ago. The tradition of making wine started during the Mughal rule. At present, India is home to some of the finest vineyards in the world.
Every year, thousands of wine lovers visit these vineyards to taste their favourite blend of wine and experience the art of wine manufacturing. These wine tours are gaining popularity with wine connoisseurs all over the world. We cannot talk about wine tours in India without mentioning some of our excellent home grown vineyards.
Here is the list of some of the best vineyards in the country:
1. Sula Vineyards, Nashik, Maharashtra
Among all the vineyards in Nashik, Sula Vineyards are the pioneers. Started in 1997, the name and fame of Sula Vineyards has become prominent among wine lovers in India as well as abroad.
Every year, Sula Vineyards offers wine connoisseurs an opportunity to cherish the taste of an eclectic variety of wines. Since the last few years, Sulafest has become one of the most popular wine tours in India and its admirers call it ‘The Mecca of Wines’.
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When wine is mixed with groovy music among a crowd of several thousand party-people, the fun and enjoyment will know no bounds! Sulafest is the perfect event that can and will surely fulfil this desire of wine lovers. In fact, Sulafest can be considered as the wine carnival of India.
This world-class winery is the perfect destination for wine tourism in India. Apart from exquisite parties and other varieties of wine, Sula Vineyards offer much more to visitors. A luxury three-bedroom bungalow, ‘Beyond’ and an Italian restaurant with some of the best chefs in the country make the Sula vineyards one of the best destinations for a luxury wine tour in India.
The event is organised in the early part of February and is visited by wine lovers from most of the corners of the world. Music plays an important role in this fest. DJs, musicians, rock bands, and music enthusiasts throng this place every year and create a history of wine touring in India. Apart from the Sulafests, wine tasting takes place all through the year in the Sula vineyards.
The vineyard has well experienced tour guides who give a detailed description of winemaking to visitors. However, the harvest and crushing sessions can be enjoyed only between January and March. The wine tasting session runs from 11.30 am to 5.30 pm. The session takes place every hour between the tour timings.
2. Chateau Indage Estate Vineyards, Narayangaon, Maharashtra
Photo credit: Ipshita Bhattacharya - flickr
Narayangaon, is synonymous to wine making in India. It has mastered the art of winemaking in India and is a perfect destination for wine tours. The Chateau Indage vineyards in Narayangaon are among the pioneers of the wine industry in India.
Located on the outskirts of Narayangaon; 85 km from Pune, Chateau Indage Vineyards is the perfect name for the lovers of red, white and sparkling wines. These vineyards produce the best variety of Chantilly wines in the world. On a whole, the Chateau Vineyards produces 32 different varieties of wines. Some of the varieties of wines that can be found in these vineyards are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Malbec, Viognier, Grenache, Akravati, Arkeshyam, Ugni Blanc, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Muscadet, Semillon and Chenin Blanc.
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On every weekend, the Chateau Indage vineyards organises a 30-minute tour of the vineyards. This tour includes tasting of some of the best varieties of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. These vineyards are also the first and only producers of the bottle-fermented wines in Asia; they are the ninth in the entire world.
The vineyard has a wine shop within the premises that offers the tasting of different wines at affordable prices. The presence of guesthouses with luxury living rooms, restaurants serving exotic and tropical menus and excellent bars and lounges makes Chateau Indage an ideal destination for wine touring in India.
3. Chateau d’Ori, Dindori, Madhya Pradesh
The other name in the list of luxury wine tours in India is the Chateau d’Ori. Embedded with some of the finest methods of winemaking in the world, this 200-acre vineyard has three artificial lakes for boating and watersports, luxury farmhouses with jacuzzi, swimming pools and excellent wine tasting lounges.
The Chateau d’Ori has the largest Merlot plantation in India. The other varieties that are produced in these vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. The ambience of wine touring in the vineyards of Chateau d’Ori is an experience of lifetime. Already a winner of several national and international awards, the Chateau d’Ori vineyards are becoming one of the popular names among the wine lovers.
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The use of fertilizers and pesticides are strictly prohibited in the vineyards of Chateau d’Ori. The environment inside the vineyard has been developed in an eco-friendly way. Windmills, generating power from the natural wind, cleanliness, and the picturesque beauty of the vineyards make them an ideal destination for wine tourism in India.
Chateau d’Ori vineyards are located in Nheira-Ori hills at Dindori and are around 22 km from the wine capital, Nashik.
4. Grover Vineyards, Nandi Hills, Karnataka
Photo credit: Sandip Bhattacharya - flickr
When it comes to wine tours in India, the Victorian Bangalore emerges as one of the best names for wine touring destinations. The pleasant weather and favourable conditions for grape cultivation allow Bangalore to produce some of the best quality grapes in the country. These vineyards are located at the foothills of Nandi Hills; around 40 km from the IT hub. The slanting lands in this region of Bangalore are perfect for cultivating fine quality grapes. The natural conditions prevailing in this region are ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. These vineyards are among the best producers of red, white, and rose wines in India.
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One of the most visited holiday destinations in Karnataka, Nandi Hills is fast becoming one of the top-notch avenues for the wine lovers. Filled with natural beauty and the reflections of history, this part of Bangalore has been a favourite wine touring destination for the last three decades.
The pleasant atmosphere and the highly rich natural beauty around the Grover vineyards are encouraging the luxury wine tours in India. Grover Vineyard also arranges personalised wine tours. These tours can be arranged by contacting the officials of the vineyards.
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Normally, the tours start at 10.30 am. Visitors are allowed to take their own vehicles into the winery. After a brief instruction on the manufacturing process of wines, the wine tour will start. Visitors are also allowed to spend some time by themselves and take photographs. Detailed knowledge about fermentation, crushing, filtering, bottling, and packaging are given to the visitors. The wine tasting session takes place for nearly 60-90 minutes.
5. Zampa Wines, Nashik, Maharashtra
The journey from Mumbai to the wine capital, Nashik, is extremely pleasant. For wine lovers, this journey will not be complete without visiting the Vallee de Vin vineyards. Located on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, between Igatpuri and Nasik, the Valle de Vin vineyards are one of the new names in the list of wine tours in India.
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The wineries of Valle de Vin vineyards started producing wines in 2006. The main attraction of these vineyards is the Zampa wine. The other varieties produced in these vineyards include chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and sparkling rose and brut. The atmospheric balance of the climate, the pleasant beauty of the vineyards, the never-ending rows of lush green plantations are encouraging wine touring in this vineyard and the number of visitors are increasing every year.
The guided tours to the vineyard start between 11 am-5 pm. The tour is available on both weekdays and weekends; the tour lasts for nearly 40-50 minutes. However, if not in the mood of tasting the wines, the visitors do not have pay for the tour.
6. Fratelli Wines, Akluj, Maharashtra
Located in Akluj; around 175 km away from Pune, Fratelli Wines is also one of the hotspots for wine admirers. The quality and blend of Fratelli Wines has successfully earned the title of being one of the best destinations for wine tourism.
The vineyards of Fratelli Wines thrive on their mystical location. The serene beauty of these vineyards is often compared with the European vineyards and is an ideal destination for wine tourism, making it one of the best locations amongst wine tours in India. These vineyards produce some of the finest quality red, white, rose, and port wines in the country. In the year 2009, Fratelli Wines came up with ‘SETTE’, a fusion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. This has become a signature brand of the Fratelli Wines and has earned plenty of admirers worldwide. At present, Fratelli Wines are producing 13 different varieties of wines: Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marsalan, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Muller Thurgau.