An evening in the Wine Capital of the Country, to SULA Vineyards, Nashik

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” ― Rumi

When you arrive at Sula Vineyards, it feels as if you have arrived at Cyber Hub in Gurgaon. You see the same glitz & glamour, people dressed up in fashionable clothes & a melange of smells wafting your way. Then, you look at the sprawling vineyards & think to yourself, “Certainly, not Cyberhub”. After all, which form of life can bloom so beautifully in the ‘Gas Chamber’ that Delhi NCR has become. Especially in November & December which is usually when you want to chill, relax & have a glass of wine.

If there’s anything that I will drink after Chai (Tea), it’s Coffee. And if there’s anything that I will drink after Coffee, it’s Wine.

If I have to pick a beverage that I can drink without any guilt, it’s wine. Partly because I love the sound of the names: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Rose, Chardonnay, Satori, Dindori & so on. But mostly because wine goes so well with pizza!

The Wine Tour:

When the three of us entered Sula Vineyards, the first thing we felt was a shock – the kind of shock you feel when somebody picks your pocket. Because this place has a mandatory entrance fee of 900 bucks (or maybe it was 700 bucks per person). The good thing was that we could redeem this entrance fee voucher against the services offered inside the premises. And this is how my brother, me & my teetotaler sister ended up with the wine & tasting tour at Sula.

The wine tour runs like any usual tour would. Some random person who seems the freest would be asked by the staff to give a wine tour. He will welcome you, talk a little about the place, its history & the founders which usually gets over in five minutes. This is also when people start losing interest and begin to wonder, “When is this guy getting to the real deal -which is tasting”. But he would bore you a bit more by telling you some random facts about winemaking like the differences between various types of wines, the notes in the wine and the kinds of barrels used to store the wine. And just when the wine tour is about to end & it’s time for the tasting, some pompous soul from the ‘Pretentious People’s Planet’ asks questions. Questions such as ‘how this Sula wine compares with French wine (like really, do you even have to ask this?)’ or ‘why is French wine better’ or ‘do we make bad quality wine barrels’.

And then the wine tasting begins with the customary talk on how to hold a wine glass. While my brother & I were trying to ape that pompous soul a bit, my teetotaler sister held the glass like she drinks wine every day. Oh, she is all for dining etiquette (the kind who knows how to eat with chopsticks). Me? I am still spilling food on my expensive clothes.

Did you know that the right way to hold a wine glass is to hold it by the stem so that your body heat does not warm the glass and increase the temperature of the wine? Seems awkward but which right thing didn’t feel awkward?!

My younger, smarter & funnier, brother!

The tasting had six rounds & each round tasted lovely to me. I prefer White wines on most days, but I loved the Red ones as much during the tasting. While I was trying to make the most of my rare non-caffeinated experience, my sister intervened, “Are you not going to spit it out?”

“No, why?”

“You are supposed to else you can’t taste all the rounds too well.”

After multiple eye-rolls, I answered: “I am supposed to get my money’s worth. I paid for this wine, and I am drinking it. 😀 After all, I am a Baniya first, a caffeine-addict second & a whole bunch of things after that.” Keeping up with the protocol of wine-tasting doesn’t even figure in on my top 10 priorities or 50.

Did you know that even though the wine-drinking population in India is quite low, our association with wine is quite old, dating back to Indus Valley Civilization?

Hours go by quickly inside Sula Vineyards

After the wine tasting was over, we spent time eating at the restaurant (Little Italy) checking out the premises, clicking pictures generally, clicking pictures against Sula Branding & checking out the vineyards from a distance. Even though we spent a few hours doing that, it felt less. But then, it can be an impact of all the wine that I had ingested.

Every time I go to Sula vineyards, I try and spend the maximum amount of time in their restaurant, grab a corner seat looking over their vineyards, enjoy my pizza, sip the wine & ruminate over what all is wrong with my life. The best kind of day, I tell you.

By the way, there’s a proper way to taste your wine. The first is, of course, how you hold the glass. Then you swirl the wine which helps in aerating it so that all the aromas are released. Then you look at the colour of the wine, smell it & then finally taste it. Some people also move the wine around in the mouth. Apparently, that allows your taste receptors to fire. Oh, this is just one of the things I learnt in the wine tasting tour.

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.”
John Keats

And if you can’t find the French wine, visit Sula Vineyards in Nashik where the weather is bearable on most days & pleasant on some, the music is decent & the wine is good. In fact, wine is quite good.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. arv! says:

    An interesting read, Yamini


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