The popularity of wine in India has started growing rapidly. Along with it, India is also experiencing a boom in wine tourism. Many vineyards now have tasting rooms, so wine enthusiasts can enjoy exploring the country's wine regions. It's often possible to complete the experience by staying at the vineyards.
India's main wine region is Nashik, about four hours northeast of Mumbai in Maharashtra. Karnataka state, in South India, is the second largest producer of wine. The Nandi Hills and Kavery Valley near Bangalore are the predominant wine regions there.
Visit these vineyards to enjoy some of the best wine in India. Bangalore Wine Trails conducts convenient guided tours.
Sula Vineyards is India's best known winery. From humble beginnings in 1999, Sula has admirably developed into a world-class winery with a market share of more than 65% in India. The company is a prolific producer of many different varieties of wine. Tours and tastings are frequently conducted every hour from 11.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily. Little Italy restaurant serves delicious Italian cuisine made with organic ingredients from Sula's garden to complement the wine. There's an Indian cuisine restaurant called Rasa as well. Both restaurants are open until 10.30 p.m. daily. In addition, the winery hosts the iconic SulaFest music festival in early February each year.
Sula Vineyards also established India's first vineyard resort, called Beyond. It has 32 rooms with private balconies situated a short distance from the winery. There's a restaurant, swimming pool, spa and gym, and games room too. A newer Tuscan-style property, called the Source at Sula, is another option for staying near the winery.
Location: On the outskirts of Nashik, off Gangapur-Savargaon Road, 20 minutes from town.
Situated not far from Sula Vineyards, and with a view over Gangapur Dam and the hills, York Winery is where you should head for sublime sunset tastings. The tasting room is open daily from noon to 10 p.m., and tours are offered until 6 p.m. Foodies will appreciate the Cellar Door restaurant, which serves Indian cuisine expertly paired with York wines.
York Winery has won a range of awards for its wine varieties, both red and white. However, most impressive is its Arros reserve blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, released in late 2014. York also released its own sparkling wine, York Sparkling Brut made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, towards the end of 2014. Notably, York is now one of only a few Indian wineries that produces Chardonnay. It's decent too, with just the right amount of oak.
Location: On the outskirts of Nashik, off Gangapur-Savargaon Road, 20 minutes from town. Utopia Farm Stay provides boutique accommodations nearby.
Grover Vineyards, one of India's oldest winemakers near Bangalore in Karnataka, merged with Maharashtra-based Vallée de Vin (producer of premium wine brand Zampa) in 2012 to better compete with Sula. In 2019, the company bought Four Seasons Wines and Charosa Vineyards.
Grover Zampa focuses on producing premium wines, with the standout being its award-winning La Reserve brand of oak matured Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz reds. There are extensive wine trails across the 410 acre Karnataka property. It's also possible to visit the winery's barrel room. Tours start at 10.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. daily. Shorter tours and tastings are also available at the atmospheric but much smaller Maharashtra vineyard, with its attractive courtyards.
Location: Devanahalli Road, Doddaballapura, in the Nandi Hills north of Bangalore in Karnataka. Sanjegaon, about halfway between Igatpuri and Nashik, just off the Mumbai-Nashik Highway in Maharashtra.
Soma Vineyards is possibly Karnataka's (and India's) most scenic winery. The 100 acre vineyard is bordered by Makali Hill on one side and fronts Gundamagere Lake on the other. Apparently, it's the only winery where grapes grow together with coconut palms and other fruit trees. Soma was founded in 2001 and has, not surprisingly, become a sought after spot for weddings and other events.
Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz are the specialties there. The winery supplies most of its grapes to Grover Zampa Vineyards but has recently started producing its own boutique wines. Comprehensive four-hour tour and tasting experiences are conducted from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. daily. The tours are excellent and you'll get to try some exclusive limited edition wines that are only available on the premises. Do book ahead.
Location: Sonnenahalli, close to Makalidurga fort in Karnataka's Nandi Hills. It's north of Grover Zampa Vineyards.
Nandi Valley Winery is situated closer to Bangalore than Grover Zampa and Soma. Although its wines aren't quite as good, the winery is really well set up for wine tourism. If you're looking to have some fun, it's a happening weekend hangout with grape stomping and DJ. Three-hour wine tours start at 11.30 a.m. and are ideal for beginners, as they cover everything from the history of wine to bottling. Lunch and tastings are also provided, and you can choose the wines you want to try.
The winery produces a diverse range of wines but is most well known for its flagship Kinvah brand, named after a wine of the Mauryan Era. Bookings need to be made a day in advance.
Location: About an hour north of Bangalore via National Highway 44.
Fratelli (meaning "brothers" in Italian) was stated in 2007 by three pairs of brothers from Italy, Delhi, and Maharashtra. This remote vineyard is one of India's biggest wine makers (along with Sula and Grover Zampa) and produces some outstanding reserve wines on its 240 acre estate. The Sette reserve red is rated among the best red wine in India.
A full day package includes a guided tour, lunch, and use of recreational . However, it's recommended that you stay at least one night in the winery's modern accommodations, as it's not easy to reach. The rate is fully inclusive of meals plus a welcome drink of sparkling wine, and it's cheaper during the week. It's also possible to rent the whole place for groups.
Location: Akluj, in the Solapur district of Maharashtra. It's approximately six hours from Mumbai.
If you're a fan of sparkling wine, you'll be pleased to know that globally-renowned Chandon made a much-anticipated entry into India in early 2016. The vineyard is located on 21 acres of land near Nashik. Its pristine facility (the sixth in the world) sparkles, just like its splendid Brut and Rose wines. Winery tours are possible. There's also a tasting space and patio overlooking the manicured grounds, for future wine tourism. Prior reservations are required to visit.
Location: At the base of the picturesque Nhera-Ori hills at Dindori, about 45 minutes north of Nashik on the Nashik-Dindori Road.