Move over Napa Valley! Welcome to Nashik, India's Wine Capital
Usually when we suggest an escape to the vineyards in India, people think we are joking and subsequently surprised that we really are enthusiastic about promoting the wine regions of the country, in particular, Nashik.
Nashik wines are really coming in to their own and well worth visiting, especially if you’re planning to be in Mumbai, the City of Dreams” as it’s an easy getaway.
The region currently have 29 wineries, many of them considered “world class” and Nashik is known as "The Wine Capital of India".
Located on the banks of the holy Godavari River, Nashik (or Nasik) gets its name from the episode in the Ramayana where Lakshmana, Rama’s brother, hacked off the nasika (nose) of Ravana’s sister. Today this large provincial city’s old quarter has some intriguing wooden architecture, interesting temples that reference the Hindu epic and some huge bathing ghats. The city is noticeably cleaner, better maintained and greener than many Indian cities of its size.
The best time to visit Nashik is from October to March. The weather is pleasant during this time which makes touring easy. It’s also the time for some cool festivals and events including Makar Sankranti, Diwali and Holi . From visiting the famous Sula Vineyards, discovering the Buddhist rock-caves to exploring the different forts, Nashik has got a plenty of things to do. Guests enjoy the location for scenic and picturesque beauty, peace and tranquillity.
According to the Nashik district Gazetteer grapes have existed as a horticultural crop in Nashik from 1950s. However, it was only in 1987 that Madhavrao More established a co-operative winery known as Pimpane Co-operative Ltd in collaboration with M/s Harbault & Fils Epernary in France to produce wine from table grade grapes. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted and the co-operative produced 500,000 bottles out of which 35,000 bottles were exported to France and to some other countries in Europe. But due to problems in harvesting this export was discontinued in 2003.
Sula Vineyards - A success story
Although Rajeev Samant's introduction to wines took place during his early years studying at Stanford University and working at Oracle in California, neither grapes nor wine were at the top of his mind when he returned to India in the early 90s. A chance visit to his family's land in Nashik in 1994 led to the seed of an idea, and before he knew it, he began pursuing the idea of growing wine grapes in Nashik. His curiosity piqued, and Rajeev spent three months at a small winery in California that belonged to his friend and mentor, Kerry Damskey, who is now Sula's Master Winemaker.
In 1999, Rajeev established Sula Vineyards, Nashik's first winery and paved the way for the emergence of India's Wine Capital. The name "Sula" came from his mother's name - "Sulabha" - and symbolized the rich, Indian heritage of his wines. This was a wine that took pride in being Indian, being the first company in the country to use an Indian logo.
Deeply influenced by his travels and his personal values, Rajeev firmly believes in being a steward of the land and in sustainable business practices. Under his guidance, Sula is one of the most eco-friendly companies in India, with a significant amount of its resources committed to sustainable winemaking practices and ensuring fair livelihoods for Sula's community of farmers across Maharashtra and Karnataka. A large number of Sula's workers come from disadvantaged communities and have seen a significant change in their standard of living through their employment with the company; this has been nothing short of a revolution in the surrounding villages
SulaFest is India’s biggest vineyard music festival, to be held on 1st & 2nd February, 2020 (clashing with Mumbai Pride). The weekend is to have new and interesting music from across the globe, delectable wines, gourmet food and merchandise from some of the great brands.
If all this sounds good already, wait until you hear where SulaFest takes place: it's set in Sula’s vineyards with the festival being propped against the backdrop of rolling hills and surrounded by the calm of the Gangapur lake.
Champagne Villa @ Soma Vine Village - an Out in India favourite
Wine-sampling, grape-stomping and an evening where you lower your feet in a pool and indulge in some good food! An exhilarating experience awaits you at Champagne Villa Nashik in Maharashtra, only 17 km from Nashik, and 173 km from Mumbai. Surrounded by the Sahyadris, the resort is a wine-lover’s delight offering a luxurious stay with abundant views of a lake, hills, and the surrounding vineyards.
The two pool villas are designed to help you unwind at the wine capital of India as you soak in the tranquillity spread around. Indulge yourself reading a book by the pool or lying in the water looking at the vast swathes of vineyards in front of you. And if you want to take it up a notch, order a glass of wine from our in-house bar serving the best of Soma's local produce, especially ideal for the Indian palette.
Out in India has a selection of villas & private homes to choose from and provide chauffeur guides to enable you to enjoy the vineyards to the max'.
Every 12 years Nashik plays host to the grand Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering on Earth (the last one was in 2015, the next one is in 2027).