Wine tourism is the new buzzword in Nashik, about four hours from Mumbai. There are almost 30 functional wineries around the area and many now have tasting rooms, which is exciting for wine lovers. What's also appealing is that discounts of up to 20% on retail price are available on purchases.
The vineyards fan out in all directions from Nashik, so you'll need a car to reach them. They're situated in three different areas: Sanjegaon district (45 minutes before Nashik), Dindori district (a hour north of Nashik), and Gangapur Dam (20 minutes west of Nashik). Some of the region's best grapes are being grown around Dindori where Charosa, which is now controlled by Grover Zampa, and Chandon are located. However, these wineries are not very accessible. The three wineries (Sula, York and Soma) at Gangapur Dam are conveniently next to each other in a row, and are the most popular ones to visit. Utopia Farmstay provides boutique accommodations super close to these wineries.
There's also a Wine Information Center at Vinchur, about an hour east of Nashik. They offer tastings of various local wines, a large collection of wines at factory prices, accommodations, and a winery tour.
Wondering what else to do in Nashik? Your visit doesn't have to be limited to wine! Nashik is a diverse destination, with a number of other attractions.
Sula Vineyards is India's largest and most popular winery. From humble beginnings in 1999, Sula Vineyards has developed into a world-class winery that dominates the industry with a market share of 65% in India. Sula also exports to about 30 countries around the world. Wine is combined with music at the fashionable Sulafest, held at the winery in early February each year. Do note that that there's a cover charge of 100 rupees per person to visit the winery. It's fully redeemable against food and wine.
- Open: 11.00 a.m to 10.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11.00 a.m to 11.00 p.m Friday and Saturday.
- Cost: 400 rupees for a tour and tasting of six wines, held every hour from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Wines: A wide variety of reds, while, rose, and sparkling for all budgets. The Dindori Viognier, Rasa Cabernet, Brut Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc Late Harvest, Chenin Blanc Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel Rose, Rasa Shiraz, Dindori Reserve Shiraz, Cabernet Shiraz, Zinfandel, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Brut NV and Brut Rose are all outstanding and won prizes at the 2018 India Wine Awards.
York Winery was established in 2005 and has nine acres of vineyards overlooking Gangapur Dam. This friendly, family-run winery focuses on producing fruity and dry, rather than sweet, wines. Its wine-maker trained at the prestigious University of Adelaide Wine School in Australia. The sizable tasting room is attractively decorated in warm, earthy tones. Calmer and less commercialized than Sula, it's a great sunset destination.
- Open: Noon until 10.00 p.m., seven days a week.
- Cost: 150-250 rupees for a tour and wine tasting, held daily from noon to 6 p.m.
- Wines: The Arros reserve blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, released in late 2014, is impressive. The Cuvee is India's first sparkling wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. The All Rounder White and All Rounder Red (which pay homage to cricket), Shiraz Viognier, and Rose won prizes at the 2018 India Wine Awards.
Soma is a newer and lesser-known winery that has quickly embraced wine tourism. This boutique winery opened in 2014 complete with Culture Kitchen restaurant, amphitheater, conference and wedding facility, and Vine Village resort with seven rooms and a swimming pool. It's an attractive property and receives good reviews.
- Open: 11.30 a.m. until 6.30 p.m., seven days a week.
- Cost: 200-400 rupees for a tour and wine tasting.
- Wines: The Rose Gold, Zinfandel Red Reserve, Shiraz Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose Dessert, and Shiraz Cabernet are all award-winners.
Grover Zampa is another major wine producer in India, with vineyards in Nashik and the Nandi Hills near Bangalore in Karnataka. If you're traveling to Nashik by road from Mumbai via National Highway 160, don't miss stopping off there along the way. The vineyard, which used to be Vallee de Vin, is in the Sanjegaon district between Igatpuri and Nashik. Its atmospheric setting, with sunny courtyards and patios, is a relaxing place to break the journey. What's more, the winery's premium Zampa wine brand is becoming recognized as one of the best in India.
- Open: Daily from 10 a.m to 5.30 p.m. Call 9112202586 (cell) to make bookings.
- Cost: 400-650 rupees for a vineyard tour and tasting of five wines. Tours depart three times a day, at 10.30 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wines: Of particular note is the reliable flagship La Reserve Shiraz-Cabernet blend, which was India's first reserve wine. The popular sparkling wines are made in the traditional method used in the Champagne region of France. The Soiree Brut Rose is superb. The Art Collection wines are also widely acclaimed, particularly the Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz Rose, Chenin Blanc, and Cabernet Shiraz.
Vallonne Vineyards was set up in 2009 and is a boutique producer of India's first premium French-style wines, using state-of-the-art technology from France. Like Grover Zampa, it's also located in Maharashtra's Sanjegaon district on the way to Nashik from Mumbai. A tasting room, pan-Asian restaurant, and four guest rooms have been added. It's a hidden gem that's ideal if you want to avoid the crowds at other wineries!
- Open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9819129455 for information.
- Tours: Vineyard tours and tastings are conducted every hour and cost 400 rupees for five wines.
- Wines: The Malbec, Rose, Vin De Passerillage and Anokhee Cabernet Sauvignon are unique to the Indian market.